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Future Generations Commissioner helps to spread Hapi-ness to the communities of the Cynon and Taf Ely valleys

Health and wellbeing project receives Big Lottery Fund money to make a positive difference

The HAPI (healthy, aspiring, prosperous and inclusive) project, welcomed the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, Sophie Howe to its hub to launch the next chapter for the project.

HAPI has received £769,000 from the Big Lottery Fund’s People and Places programme, which allows the project to make a positive difference to the health and well-being of the communities living in and around the Cynon and Taf Ely area. HAPI is delivered as part of Newydd Housing Association’s commitment to creating sustainable communities.

The funding was received following a successful pilot which ran between 2015 and 2017, where 86% of participants reported an improved level of physical activity, 67% reported an improvement in emotional wellbeing to include managing depression and anxieties. The pilot project supported more than 1,500 people and with the new round of funding, HAPI hopes to work with 5,500 people over the next five years.

Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales said, “A healthier Wales is not just about people being physically active and eating well it is also about what other opportunities such as learning new skills are available for people to feel connected within their communities.

“HAPI is a good example of how services have built a better understanding of people’s lives and created a programme that reflects the reality of what people and communities need to improve well-being.” 

HAPI’s aim over the next five years is supported by four key outcomes:

  1. To increase the skills of participants to progress into employment through gaining new skills, including qualifications
  2. Train volunteers with the knowledge and skills to support self-help intervention groups, to improve community well-being and sustain the project. This will be done through recruiting HAPI Champions, who will support project staff in the delivery of sessions, as well as become peer mentors
  3. Reduce health inequalities through targeted support to promote physical activity and healthy eating. Project staff are trained by Cwm Taf public health dieticians, allowing them to deliver sessions focusing on how to maintain a healthy weight, sustaining a healthy balanced diet, as well as how to cook healthily and on a budget
  4. To increase the understanding and coping mechanisms of participants to help lower stress levels and address low-level mental health needs. HAPI project staff will help participants work through the practical explanations of certain feelings and conditions, learning how to understand themselves and other individuals who suffer with mental ill health, as well as learn how to offer better support and guidance for those affected

Paul Roberts, Chief Executive for Newydd commented, “It was a delight to welcome the Commissioner to our HAPI project and to share with her our plans to support healthy communities, not just in Rhydyfelin, but across the Cynon and Taf Ely area.

“The funding that HAPI has received from the Big Lottery ensures that we can reach even more people so that they are able to become part of the HAPI community. For us, HAPI is about giving the local community the chance to access not only health and wellbeing workshops but also employability, digital inclusion and education opportunities.”

Rob Roffe, Senior Policy and Learning Manager for the Big Lottery Fund, added, “We’re delighted to be supporting Newydd Housing Association with National Lottery funding for this project.

“Our funding is all about putting people in the lead. That is, putting people and communities at the heart of our funding and recognising the strengths that they bring to make a real difference to the things that matter most to them."

HAPI staff will work in partnership with Communities for Work and the local Job Centre to deliver appropriate and accessible training within the community. The different workshops and activities are available to anyone who lives in the Cynon or Taf Ely valleys, with specialist sessions including:

  • Pre-and post-natal workshops
  • Older adults
  • Pre-and post-school clubs 
  • Youth sessions
  • Female and male only

For more information about HAPI and how to get involved with its sessions, visit www.newydd.co.uk/about-us/hapi-project