I graduated as a state-registered health professional and began my career in the health services back in 1994. Prior to working for the council, I was a registered Health and Social Care manager for a housing association. I’ve previously worked within management of third sector services for marginalized and vulnerable people with complex needs. I began my current role as Porth y Gymuned Team Leader in May 2018.

Connecting people to the services they need

The Porth y Gymuned (Welsh for ‘The Community Portal’) service started in May 2018 and assists residents of all ages in Ceredigion, by helping them to make connections to access support opportunities in their area that could maintain and improve their wellbeing.

Our enquiries to Porth y Gymuned are very varied, and range from low level interventions to referring and supporting individuals who may need to access to intensive or statutory services so my previous skills and experience have been a valuable tool in making sure the right help is given at the right time.

Our Team

The Porth y Gymuned team consists of four Community Connectors, Carys, Sam, Enfys and Diane and they’re a bubbly, enthusiastic group who listen to residents with an eagerness to help find targeted solutions that meet the residents’ needs.

As the team leader, I receive all referrals into Porth y Gymuned and triage them appropriately to ensure that we can offer the right help at the right time. If I assess the person’s needs as being over and above of what we can offer I will do my very best to ensure that we support and direct them to the right service that may meet their needs and support them until they receive the right help.

I meet up regularly with the team as a group to share good practice and to help identify cross-county issues/needs that may need to be looked into further. For example, as a rural county transport has always been an issue and a barrier to getting out and about. We have recently begun to address this and hope to work together with third sector providers to improve transport services in the future.

We recently identified that people were finding it challenging to apply or reapply for a blue badge due to not being mobile enough to go out to a photo booth or their local Library (where you can have your photo taken for free). We are now able to visit someone at their own home to help take photos and fill in the forms. We look for ways to assist people to connect with whatever matters to them, this could be help to live independently, or help and support to address a worry or concern.

Information, advice and assistance

Part of my role is to manage Dewis Cymru and the Family Information Services along with Porth y Gymuned– ensuring that we can provide information advice and assistance to citizens of all ages living in Ceredigion.

A one-stop shop for wellbeing in Wales, Dewis Cymru provides a directory that allows users to access a range of services in areas such as health, money management and safety.

Organisations, communities and members of the public can use Dewis Cymru to let people know about what is available in their area.

For example; a friendship group may hold a regular coffee morning, a community group might organize hiking or rambling trips in their local area, or a pub may hold a weekly open mic night. Any kind of event or resource can be placed on Dewis Cymru, once approved by a Dewis Cymru Editor. The Council, voluntary and third sector groups can also place details of the resources and services they offer on Dewis Cymru.

A rewarding role

No two days are the same and it always feels good to know that the team and I may have helped someone improve their well-being or prevented someone from needless difficulties.

Good wellbeing is important to our overall health – mental and physical health. Of course, this doesn’t mean that we will never experience feelings or situations that we find difficult such as bereavement, illness, stresses of life. However, if we have good wellbeing, we are far more likely to be able to deal with these difficulties with resilience that helps us all manage and cope when times are tougher than usual.

Having someone to talk through what matters to you and someone who can offer time and support to navigate your way through tough times is so valuable to people especially those that are isolated or lonely – which can be anyone of any age.

Visit the Wellbeing and Care Pathway page on the council’s website for more information on how Porth y Gymuned and Porth Gofal work.

Use the council’s online contact form to contact Porth y Gymuned, or phone 01545 574200.