Hafal 180A new in-patient service for people with mental illness – which will be user-led, not-for-profit and with a strong recovery ethos – is to be officially launched later this month.

Gellinudd Recovery Centre will be officially launched by Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport, Vaughan Gething, on January 26. The new Centre has been developed by mental health charity Hafal. Gellinudd Recovery Centre has received funding from the Big Lottery and the Welsh Government, and fulfils a long-held ambition of Hafal members for a progressive in-patient service.

Alison Guyatt, director of the Centre, said: “Gellinudd Recovery Centre will be a world-class facility, and the only service of its kind in Wales and the UK, which we hope will set new standards of best practice.

“I have managed mental health hospitals and wards for many years. When I started my career I dreamed of working in a truly therapeutic environment where the patient received a holistic package of care and treatment - and where they were able to take control of their life. 

“Thanks to the vision and commitment of Hafal's members, and the support of the Big Lottery and the Welsh Government, guests at Gellinudd will now receive such a service.

“Gellinudd Recovery Centre is firmly focused on recovery: guests are supported to plan their steps towards a fulfilled life in the community. As a third sector, not-for-profit organisation led by our members, our interest is in supporting our guests to move on and flourish as soon as they are ready.”

The Welsh Government has awarded £500,000 in Invest to Save funding to the Centre – the first time such funding had been awarded to a third sector-led project. Jane Hutt AM said: “This is the first treatment centre of its kind in Wales and will not only be of benefit to patients but will generate estimated [year-on-year] savings of £300,000 for the NHS in Wales.” 

Hafal’s chief executive, Alun Thomas, said: “At Hafal we take a Prudent Healthcare approach to developing all our services, and we are delighted that this has been recognised by the Welsh Government and the Big Lottery.

“Our unique recovery-focused service at Gellinudd Recovery Centre will ensure that guests are provided with a therapeutic, progressive and inspirational environment which will empower them to take strides towards recovery from serious mental illness. Guests will be supported to progress and move on instead of being maintained in their current condition, and the ongoing cost of care – both in human and financial terms – will be greatly reduced.”

The service at Gellinudd Recovery Centre is based on Hafal's Recovery Programme, which promotes self-management and a holistic approach to recovery. Guests will identify their recovery goals in a comprehensive Care and Treatment Plan that covers all life areas.

Hafal trustee, Mair Elliot, who has personal experience of mental illness, said: “Time and time again we see people successfully recover from mental illness in Hafal. Our Recovery Programme plays a huge part in this, helping people get well again. It works because it is based on the experiences of hundreds of people who have been through mental illness and recovery. These people, our members, are the experts in what they need to thrive, and our Recovery Programme captures exactly that.” 

Gellinudd Recovery Centre is located on an ancient site at Alltwen, Pontardawe, which has a long history of healing. Surrounded by trees and fields and yet close to local amenities, and located near to the Brecon Beacons, Gower coast and Swansea, Gellinudd offers a therapeutic environment with a wealth of activities on its doorstep.

The Centre has been developed in liaison with the NHS in Wales to ensure it provides a service that fits with existing NHS services and meets the highest clinical governance standards. Its approach is in line with Welsh law and policy including the Mental Health (Wales) Measure and the ‘Together for Health’ and ‘Together for Mental Health’ Welsh Government strategies.