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For better mental health
O blaid gwell iechyd meddwl

Ystradgynlais Mind in the valleys

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Our History

'A place to be understood'

Ystradgynlais Mind has its beginnings firmly rooted in a service-user led service.  John is a founder member and is responsible for the formation of Ystradgynlais Mind.  In 1994 John and three other individuals with mental health issues got together to share their experiences with each other and to support one another.  The ‘Gang of Four’ would regularly meet in the local miners Welfare Hall and the local Youth Centre.

John celebrates his birthdayYstradgynlais is very much a face to face community, so the word spread and the group began to grow.  The members became more organized and found premises to accommodate the growing numbers of people who needed support.  The opening of a ‘Drop in’ within the community was met with opposition from some of the business owners. Members were not deterred and secured the old bank premises for the ‘Drop-in’.  They even decorated the old vault and used it as a ‘quiet room’.

Twelve years ago, it was decided to employ a Development Worker to write and implement policies and to become a registered charity.  The Ystradgynlais Community Contact Group was born.  Membership snowballed, we needed larger premises.

Ystradgynlais Community Contact Group then moved to its current address to accommodate our rapidly growing membership.  Service users became part of the management committee, a further member of staff was employed, opening hours increased - we just kept growing.

Despite all the good work, we came to a sticking point in our development - we needed help to continue to provide a quality service to the people of Ystradgynlais and the surrounding areas.   Following discussions with all the members, we felt that we needed the support of Mind Cymru.

Almost three years ago we officially became Ystradgynlais Mind.  All opposition to the existence of a Mental Health project has gone.  We are recognised as valuable contributors to community life and members are actively included in all community based projects.  The services we provide to the wider community have increased and we are proactive in promoting positive mental health to the whole community, not just to our membership.

John and the ‘Gang of Four’ are responsible for touching so many people’s lives.  They were pioneers in a small ex-mining town.  When John was asked what prompted him to start a support group he said, ‘I needed a place to be understood.’