On March 23 Bronllys Well Being Park Community Land Trust held a Health and Wellbeing Forum at Talgarth Town Hall.

A crowd in excess of 80 residents from Hay-on-Wye, Bronllys, Talgarth and other south Powys communities came together to hear a distinguished panel answer questions concerning pressing issues around health and wellbeing in their area.

On the panel were Jane Dodds MS, Welsh Liberal Democrats; Councillor James Gibson-Watt, Cabinet Member for Open & Transparent Powys; Claire McNiffe, PAVO; Casey Edwards, Cwmpas; Sarah Leyland-Morgan, Powys CC – transport; Michael Eccles, HayPublicLibrary.org; Lydia Powell, President BWBP; and – via video link – Tom Chance, CEO National Community Land Trust Network.

Questions covered the limited health services in Powys – no A&E in the county, the difficulties of accessing those services that were available, the poor transport services in the area, the desperate need for affordable housing and jobs that would bring prosperity to the area. The point was made that without a vibrant local economy and supporting services, it becomes hard to deliver well being to our communities.

A number of audience members expressed the view that their communities should be more involved in decisions on health and wellbeing in the area.

It was felt by some that communities were not being listened to, despite the fact that they were the users of such services as there are. A number of people expressed surprise that, despite being invited onto the panel, Powys Teaching Health Board had declined to be represented.

After the formal business the lively debate continued over refreshments.

Lydia Powell, President of Bronllys Well Being Park, said afterwards that she was delighted with the large turnout but also concerned that many serious community concerns could not be put to the health board, or questions asked as to their plans for the area.

A further forum is planned, focusing on a major theme that emerged at Talgarth Town Hall: how best people can effectively engage with and contribute to decisions about the health and well being of their communities and work with the authorities to halt the apparent decline in services.

Powys Teaching Health Board has been approached for comment.