The “Taking the Wheel” campaign reached Aberdare today.

Service users and carers from Hafal’s RCT project have discussed the campaign’s theme of empowerment during today’s event.

Speaking on empowerment Nigel, a service user from Rhondda Cynon Taf who has schizophrenia explained that despite being diagnosed in the mid 1980s, he has only been able to access empowering day and support services in the last six months.

He said: “I am 51 years old and have lived with a diagnosis of schizophrenia for the past 25 years. I have been attending Hafal’s local service for the past six months – my first experience of such services – and the biggest benefit to myself and family has been a real raised level of self-esteem. I was stuck in a rut, but now I feel well supported by the staff and other users within the project.

“I take part in all project activities and have recently completed a basic IT course. I really enjoy the woodworking course, too, as this has given me a great opportunity to relearn old skills.”

Hafal has been funded by the Big Lottery Mental Health Matters programme to help people with serious mental illness back to work through our Short Steps project. We do this by supporting them through training and education, empowering them to achieve the qualifications they need. Hafal also works with employers, helping them to understand their role in ensuring that the mental health of all staff is well-managed. We do this by:-

• Identifying training needs and providing mental health awareness training;
• Advising on best practice;
• Working with employees with a serious mental illness, helping them to manage their illness and do their job well.
For more information on Hafal’s Short Steps employment project please visit:

To see more pictures of today’s event please go to: