Môn CF: Local Conversation in Holyhead

04 November 2021

Having greater power over the decisions that impact us helps to improve our lives and health outcomes. When communities form connections and work together on a common issue they have greater power and can achieve more change.

Over the past seven years, residents leading the Local Conversation in Holyhead, Anglesey have been working with local organisations to tackle priorities identified by the community, with the support of Cymunedau’n Ymlaen Môn Communities Forward (Môn CF)

“We recognise the impact of inequalities on mental health and strive to support our communities to make a difference. Together with residents and the local council we are working to make a change.” Stephanie Pritchard, Local Conversation Project Manager

Their priorities for 2020 – 2021 were to: empower young people and strengthen youth leadership; bring the town together through community events and ensure Holyhead’s a happy place to live. Since the lockdown restrictions began last March, many residents have experienced increased social isolation and anxiety brought on by the pandemic, which in turn has impacted their health.

For some the anxiety, uncertainty and isolation brought on by COVID-19 has been their first real encounter with mental health problems. Others who lived with a mental health condition previously have found their symptoms exacerbated by the pandemic.

As an emergency response, and part of their ongoing priority to ensure Holyhead is a happy place to live, they launched a campaign to deliver mental health training to 100 residents. It aims to equip people with the skills to identify potential signs of mental ill health to support both themselves and others.

The campaign has reached beyond the local community. Virginia Crosbie, MP for Ynys Môn, supported the campaign and called for compulsory mental health training to be made available in workplaces nationally. Partnership work and empowering the local community to advocate for change has been fundamental in bringing about this campaign as part of their wellbeing priority.

Through partnerships, the project’s Community Plan has become more sustainable and effective. Local mental health charity Mind Cymru has offered a free confidential advice service and the local authority has provided space for them to set up a wellbeing allotment. As well as aiming to improve wellbeing into the future, the project has provided essential support to individuals during the pandemic.

Member, Ellen Higgins, was supported to access vital services and combat social isolation.

“During COVID-19 having the Local Conversation was a life saver for me. They put on Zoom sessions, so people weren’t isolated. When I couldn’t get my prescription delivered the project officers picked it up for me.”

This project supports people living in Holyhead, Anglesey. It is funded by People's Health Trust using money raised by Health Lottery Wales.

This case study was produced as part of People's Health Trust's 2021 Annual Review and demonstrates how community power is an important social determinant of health. To read it in full, click here.

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