History

History

4Winds was originally set up by a group of people using mental health services (known as the South Glamorgan User’s Alliance) who had been campaigning for an independent user-led resource in Cardiff throughout the late 1980’s and early to mid-1990’s. Community mental health services (within the voluntary and statutory sector) were poorly resourced at this time and the range and choice of services was limited. There were no open access mental health services operating at this time; nor were there any offering ‘out of hours’ provision. Through a collaboration with and support received from what was then known as the Cardiff and Vale Mental Health Development Project (now Cavamh; Cardiff and Vale Action for Mental Health), funding was secured in 1995 through the then South Glamorgan Health Authority (later to become Bro Taf Health Authority, Cardiff Local Health Group, Cardiff Local Health Board and the current Cardiff and Vale University Health Board).
A Project Manager was appointed in November 1995 to help set up and manage an independent, user-led mental health resource centre to provide a welcoming meeting place, services and information on mental health issues. The opening hours were to focus on those times not traditionally catered for by statutory services. The ethos of being recovery focussed, inclusive and accessible was fostered from the beginning and the plan was that the centre would be in a central location giving people a meeting point that could be reached from all directions. This gave way to discussions about a name for the organisation. The people involved did not want it to be anything with an obvious association with mental health, but rather an open, easily identifiable name that would give a unique identity. Initially, ideas like four corners was discussed, until the idea of 4Winds was born – mainly because one of the people had good memories of living in a house with that name. It was decided to try that name as a temporary option and here we are well over twenty years later with a well-established centre with the same original name!
When 4Winds was in its infancy, it shared premises with the Cardiff and Vale Mental Health Development Project (now Cavamh) and operated, through a management agreement, firstly as part of Intervol (now Cardiff Third Sector Council, C3SC) and then the Vale Council for Voluntary Services (now Glamorgan Voluntary Services, GVS). The Manager worked closely with the 4Winds steering group and interested service users across Cardiff and the Vale in developing the work of 4Winds. Suitable premises proved difficult to find and took several months of hard work. Establishing the work of the Association without a building meant that extensive networking and publicity was necessary in order to inform and encourage service users to get involved and to maintain the interest of service users and service providers. Prior to the centre opening the Manager facilitated twice weekly evening drop-in sessions at two Local Authority Mental Health Day Services (Ty Canna and Meteor Street). This was welcomed and well used by service users; it was the first ‘out of hours’ support of its kind in Cardiff and many discussions on how the resource centre service would be developed took place in these sessions. Suitable premises were identified in Clare Road, Grangetown, Cardiff; within walking distance of the central rail station, on-street parking availability and on the route of many buses. It also had the advantage of being based in a diverse community which has evidence of disadvantage and high needs relating to mental health and other health problems. It is a culturally diverse area with a long standing Black, Asisan and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Community and is in close proximity to a range of community and health services which we have now developed strong working relationships with. Following the ensuing planning applications for our centre to become a reality, a series of networking meetings, training for service users to encourage further involvement, recruitment of staff and development of operational procedures, the centre opened in March 1997 (full independence was achieved in September 1998 when we registered as a charitable company).
The response to the service was overwhelming. During the first three days of opening, 150 individuals accessed the centre. The centre continued to be a well used resource, with up to 30 people accessing the centre daily. The centre was originally open for four days a week and staffed by the Project Manager, two Project Workers and a part-time administrative worker. The opening hours of the centre were gradually increased to seven-day opening in response to and in consultation with service users and after securing extra funding for workers. The centre has continued to grow and develop over the years offering a range of services. For more information ……..
The response to the service was overwhelming. During the first three days of opening, 150 individuals accessed the centre. The centre continued to be a well used resource, with up to 30 people accessing the centre daily. The centre was originally open for four days a week and staffed by the Project Manager, two Project Workers and a part-time administrative worker. The opening hours of the centre were gradually increased to seven-day opening in response to and in consultation with service users and after securing extra funding for workers. The centre has continued to grow and develop over the years offering a range of services. For more information ……..
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