Patients and staff at Pinewood House are being given Welsh lessons as part of a new project to develop their skills and confidence.
Classes are being delivered by the Connecting Learners Project based at University Of South Wales and Cwm Taf University Health Board at the mental health rehabilitation unit in Treorchy.
The lessons are a joint initiative between the two organisations and are supported by UNISON Cymru Wales through the Wales Union Learning Fund (WULF).
Judith Dacey, who teaches at the University of South Wales, kick-started the course by leading two Connecting Learners workshops while a further eight sessions will be delivered by Eleri Jenkins, Cwm Taf’s Welsh Language Officer. The initial workshops were funded through WULF.
The idea is to help staff and patients develop their skills and promote the use of the Welsh language across the Health Board.
Lessons will focus on simple phrases such as introducing yourself, greetings, how you’re feeling and what you like and dislike.
The classes will be delivered through informal teaching techniques – games, Welsh TV programmes and using apps are all part of the mix.
Eleri Jenkins said: “Going out to different sites and delivering Welsh classes is a really great way to engage both staff and patients in developing their skills and promoting Welsh across Cwm Taf.
“We want to make the classes fun so will be using games and apps that will help with key words and phrases that they can then use in everyday life.”
Caryl Jones, Occupational Therapist at Pinewood House, said: “The classes have been a success and it’s great to see both staff and patients coming together to learn new skills. The lessons really engage patients and you can see that their confidence is already improving which all contributes to their recovery. We will now be trying to introduce some of the words and phrases into our daily activities at Pinewood House.”
Kate Stephens, who manages the Connecting Learners Project, said: “We have been working with Cwm Taf Learning and Development team for a number of years to help upskill the workforce, but this is the first time we have been able to work with staff and patients together. Alongside the workshop we have produced a pocket book of Welsh vocabulary for Health and Social care practitioners and we plan to introduce this across the health services to encourage staff to use their Welsh in the workplace. It has been heartening to see both staff and patients grow in confidence and try out their new skills together. Da iawn bawb!”