‘Taking the Wheel’ reaches the Royal Welsh Show

“Taking the Wheel” reaches the Royal Welsh Show

“Taking the Wheel”, a service-user led campaign which aims to empower people with a serious mental illness in Wales to take control of their lives and the services they receive, has been attracting great interest from thousands of visitors at the Royal Welsh Show this week.

The campaign’s eye-catching camper – a 1964, 21-window VW Samba sourced from Colorado and fully reconditioned with authentic parts – has proved to be an extremely popular attraction. Visitors to the biggest agricultural show in Europe have also enjoyed being able to literally ‘take the wheel’ and race in a camper van rally simulator, another highlight particularly with young people.

The campaign, which began in May and runs to September, is engaging people receiving secondary mental health services or who have serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other diagnoses which typically require high levels of care. Service-user led organisations Hafal and MDF the Bipolar Organisation Cymru have joined forces with the Mental Health Foundation to support the campaign which empowers people with serious mental illness to:

• Take the driving seat in managing their own recovery from serious mental illness.

• Make use of their new rights under the Mental Health (Wales) Measure.

• Make choices about the care and treatment they receive – and who provides them.

• Develop and manage services themselves.

• Engage with the providers of mental health services so that they can get involved in planning and commissioning mental health services.

Bill Walden-Jones, Chief Executive of Hafal, said: “We have already had a fantastic turnout at our ‘Taking the Wheel’ stops in places such as Cardiff, Aberystwyth, Carmarthen and Caernarfon; the Royal Welsh has been no exception. The campaign has really captured the public’s imagination.”

Sue Wigmore, Manager, MDF The Bipolar Organisation Cymru said: “MDF Bipolar is very excited to join forces on this user-led campaign which brings together the two mass membership organisations for patients with a serious mental illness in Wales, Hafal and MDF The Bipolar Organisation Cymru, along with our friends in the Foundation.”

David Crepaz-Keay, Mental Health Foundation said: “We are very pleased to be involved because we recognise how important it is that people with a serious mental illness take action to help themselves. We are delighted to support their campaign along with Hafal and MDF The Bipolar Organisation Cymru.”