A LOCAL MP has urged the Welsh Government to reconsider funding for a vital mental health support group in the Amman and Gwendraeth Valleys.

Jonathan Edwards, MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, has written to Welsh Government health minister Eluned Morgan, asking her and the Welsh Government to reconsider the withdrawal of funding which will lead to the closure of Shadows depression support group.

The Garnant-based group has spent the last six years supporting people across the Amman and Gwendraeth valleys, providing quick and meaningful support for those suffering from mental health crises, including looking to address the root cause of the problem.

They work in partnership with the local officers in Dyfed-Powys Police, local community mental health organisations, housing associations, drug and alcohol organisations and the job centre among many more, and offer a range of services including one-to-one support, alternative therapies, wellbeing courses and signposting.

For the last three years, the group has been funded by the Amman and Gwendraeth GP cluster and will be removed on September 6, 2023, which would lead to Shadows needing to find £96,000 to be able to keep their services running.

Mr Edwards said in his letter to Ms Morgan: “As an elected member, I have received representations from many members of the community that are reliant on the services provided by Shadows Depression Support Group, Garnant.

“The group has been running for six years and has made a significant contribution to the community.”

He continued: “Shadows is unique in the kind of service it offers in the community, with walk in support without any long referral waiting times. I am very concerned to hear that the group is under threat from closure due to lack of funding. This is an essential service in the Amman, Gwendraeth Valley and must be protected at all costs.”

Mr Edwards said he had made representations to the Hywel Dda University Health Board and was told that Shadows’ funding came from the Welsh Government through the cluster project. He continued: “I am advised that this funding was always intended to be ‘time-limited, innovative and agile, and to create ‘proof of concept’ in new ways of supporting our Welsh patient population.’

“I fail to understand when Shadows Group have been successful in developing a model that works for patients in the area that funding should be taken away from them. It seems short-sighted to fund a project then take funding away when the project is delivering results and not put anything in place to support those reliant on the services provided.

“I write to ask you to reconsider the decision to withdraw funding to enable Shadows group to carry on the exceptional work they have been undertaking in the Amman and Gwendraeth valleys to support the most vulnerable individuals in our society.”

There is a community action group which is fighting the closure of the service and funding withdrawal, which will be holding a demonstration outside the S4C building in Carmarthen on September 14, when the Hywel Dda University Health Board is holding a meeting there to discuss the planned location for a new hospital.