The “Taking the Wheel” campaign reached Bridgend today.

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

Service User Doreen Shields says that managing her own recovery by writing her care plan has been a very empowering experience.

“If you haven’t worked for a long time and you have a mental illness it’s hard to know what the first step to take is. It can seem like you’re written off. I was desperate to get back to work so I could get my life back into a routine.

“When it comes to writing a care plan it’s OK writing things down but in your mind you think: ‘I can’t possibly do that!’ But before you know it you have a review of your goals and you can see the progress you’ve made.

“My initial steps were: enroll in an IT course, do the IT course and pass it. I did that and now I’ve moved on to my second course in IT.

“The next step was to do volunteering work and since making that goal I’ve began doing some mentoring work at the local hospital.

“I’ve never felt judged during my training and now, six months since beginning the programme, I feel really motivated. My short-term goal is to do more courses to improve my CV, in the long-term I’d like to do some work in health and social care.

“When I came here I used to walk in with my head down, now my kids say to me: ‘What have you been doing?’ They notice the change. It sounds like a cliché but I feel like I’ve had a second chance at life.”

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