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It is hoped a recent collaboration will be the first of many between the charity and project

Daring to Dream, the charity that supports the emotional health and wellbeing of patients in Wales, has showcased the inspiring Hear Our Voices’ project run by Cwm Taf Morgannwg Regional Partnership Board in their highly successful wellbeing festival, Lleswyl 2023.

The Hear Our Voices band was part of the line-up of the charity’s Lleswyl online festival and performed just some of the co-created stories and experiences of more than 1,000 residents across Bridgend, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil. The aim of the Hear Our Voices project is to raise awareness of the many barriers and challenges that face those living with or alongside illness or disability on a daily basis and to ensure their voices influence positive changes in the region’s health and social care services.

Between June and November 2021, the Cwm Taf Morgannwg Regional Partnership Board gave people an opportunity to collaborate with song writers, artists, poets, and story tellers to bring their experiences, feelings, and ideas for the future to life. At least 1,183 residents across engaged with the scheme through a variety of ways, including engagement toolkits, group discussions, a roadshow, an online survey, and a series of hackathon events.

A number of songs and stories were written during the events and the ‘Hear Our Voices’ band, which features artists Maddie Jones, Cat Razzell and Tobias Robertson, performed in the Daring to Dream’s free, live-streamed wellbeing festival, Lleswyl 2023 , which was held on February 17th.

Daring to Dream established the wellbeing festival to raise awareness of the need to support the emotional health of those living with illness in Wales. Approximately 1.2 million adults in Wales live with at least one chronic illness, so this is a huge social inclusion. Lleswyl (meaning ‘wellbeing festival’ in Welsh) gives those who can’t attend festivals or events in person due to illness, disability or financial disadvantage the chance to enjoy a programme of performances from the comfort of their own home, hospital bed, supported living community or care home. Indeed as we move forward from the pandemic the need for accessible, fun and innovative online events remains for so many people, yet most organisations have simply stopped providing them.

Councillor Jane Gebbie, Chair of the Cwm Taf Morgannwg Regional Partnership Board said: “Regional Partnership Boards exist to improve health, social care and wellbeing services.
However, we can only make a difference to people’s lives if we involve them, listen to them, and take action together.

“These experiences and ideas for change have shaped our Regional Area Plan which will be published in April 2023. This plan will detail the actions that will be taken to improve services, and our communities will be central to supporting us in taking this forward.”

Cat Razzell, musician and creative practitioner, Hear Our Voices 2022 said she was delighted to work on the project.

“While we support the development of pieces, the end result, whether that is a song, a poem, or drama sketch, is very much derived from the voices of our communities. It is a privilege to hear experiences and perform these with people who are so passionate about improving the world around them.”

Barbara Chidgey, Chair and Trustee of Daring to Dream, said: “The Hear our Voices band epitomises our charity’s ethos of supporting the emotional health and wellbeing of the huge numbers of adults in Wales living with illness. In the case of Lleswyl we are focusing on music and the arts to bring joy and fun to those living with long term illness and disability and highlight the importance of emotional wellbeing.

“Music and stories are so powerful and connect us with our emotions and memories. It was so wonderful to see the band perform as part of our Lleswyl event. We hope this is just the start of a wonderful partnership between Daring to Dream and CTM RPB’s Hear Our Voices.”

Rebecca Goodhand, Communications and Engagement Manager, Cwm Taf Morgannwg Regional Partnership Board added: “The idea from Hear Our Voices came from community members who were involved in sharing their stories and creating pieces. The experiences are so powerful, and resonate with so many people, that we wanted to find a way to help people feel heard, valued but also that they could be agents for positive change. We will continue to work with our community members creatively to ensure their voices are at the heart of important decisions that impact their lives.”

Access all their tracks performed in Lleswyl here:

About Daring To Dream:
Nearly half of all adults (approximately 1.2 million people) in Wales are estimated to be living with a long-standing, physical illness. Of those, the lives of more than half (approximately 800,000) are somewhat or severely limited by their illness.
Daring to Dream’s mission is to extend support for patients’ emotional health and wellbeing, complementing clinical care so they can recover or live as well as possible with ongoing conditions.