A young people’s counselling project, advice with benefits or debt problems, and support with bereavement are among a range of health and wellbeing services now available at the developing Dewi Sant Health Park in Pontypridd.

The Taff Vale GP practice has already moved into the former hospital as part of the project to transform the site in a similar way to the ground-breaking Keir Hardie Health Park in Merthyr Tydfil.

The health board’s @Home Service is also based there. Other services and a coffee bar will follow during the phased development of the building.

Now the new Primary and Community Resource Hub combines clinics such as wound care and physiotherapy services alongside community organisations offering support for local people, such as MIND, Cruse and Citizens Advice.

Elizabeth Owen, from the Eye to Eye Young People’s Counselling Service for 10-25 year olds, said: “The hub has enabled us to increase delivery of counselling hours to the young people of Rhondda Cynon Taf. It allows young people to access counselling from areas that generally struggle within the authority.”

Louise Gaw from the Changing People Changing Lives project aims to help people aged over 25 who may be long-term unemployed or have a work-limiting health condition.

“We can offer group and individual support to enable them to live their lives more effectively, access training, volunteering opportunities, further learning or work if required,” she said.

Advice service

Claire Ingrams, customer services manager for Citizens Advice Rhondda Cynon Taf, said: “We deliver services from primary healthcare venues enabling us to work more closely with health professionals to assist with issues that can affect a patient’s health, such as debts and benefit problems. Over the three months that we have been running, the session has become progressively busier demonstrating the need for the service.”

Karen Glover, pictured, was appointed as the Primary and Community Care Resources co-ordinator at the health park to work with the organisations on day to day issues. She works closely with the Cwm Taf community coordinator Deanne Rebane at the voluntary sector organisation Interlink.

Other services now available during the week also include Merthyr and the Valleys MIND, who offer one to one counselling and Recovery College group sessions; Autism Directory and Cruse Bereavement also hold group workshops on a weekly basis; and Drink Wise Age Well can be seen every Wednesday in the foyer with their promotional stand.

Alan Lawrie, Director of Primary, Community and Mental Health for Cwm Taf University Health Board, said: “It is great to see our voluntary sector organisations using the hub. This gives the opportunity for the population to access joined up services in a central location.

“This is key to the vision for Dewi Sant Health Park becoming a community facility. We looking forward to continuing our work with partners from primary and community care, voluntary sector and social care to ensure the site develops in a way that makes best use of the health park and delivers community based services.”