Dr Dafydd Alun Jones
Sadly, in recent days we have lost CAIS Chairman, Dr Dafydd Alun Jones. We have been inspired by Dr Jones over many years and hold him in great affection. It would have been impossible to miss this opportunity to talk about the huge impact Dr Jones had on CAIS, and the work that we deliver, and to show our gratitude to him in doing so.
This is an abridged version of an article, originally written by CAIS board member, Carys Roberts.
We all sometimes feel helpless when faced with the medical and social problems of our time. Some problems seem beyond our control. We need individuals with vision and courage to inspire others to act. One such individual is psychiatrist Dr Dafydd Alun Jones.
Dr Dafydd Alun Jones was a young doctor at Denbigh mental hospital when he noticed that alcoholism was becoming a more common problem and there was little support for these patients in our hospitals and outside. In 1968 Dr Jones set up a dedicated unit to treat alcoholism in one of the hospital's empty wards. But he realized that hospital treatment was not enough and that patients needed to be supported in their homes and communities after leaving hospital. He began a campaign to establish the North Wales Alcohol Council.
Rev Harri Owain Jones and Rev. E. R. Lloyd Jones and others from the Presbyterian Church were very supportive and were joined in their support by ministers, elders, teachers, doctors, nurses and social workers. The commitment to the work remains among friends such as the Rev Cledwyn Williams and Miss Lucille Hughes, who are committed CAIS board members today.
An old children's home in Llandudno was chosen as the headquarters for the Alcohol Council and the Rev Aneurin Owen became an effective chief executive of the work. Grants came from the Presbyterian Church centrally and from individual churches and health councils and authorities as well as individuals and families in memory of loved ones.
The service relied heavily on goodwill and volunteers, but despite the goodwill money was limited at first. It was a challenge to maintain buildings such as Ty’n Rodyn in Bangor as a refuge to help alcohol addicts.
It was decided in 1992 that the charity needed to be strengthened and a new name needed to replace the Alcohol Council. CAIS was selected an abbreviation of the Cyngor Alcohol Information Service.
An important step was to enter into an agreement with Cymdeithas Tai Eryri who were willing to offer two houses in Llanrwst so that people would have homes to move to after finishing their treatment.
CAIS realized that the way forward was to partner with other voluntary services, and to persuade councils and government to invest money in the work.
By 1993, we had grown from 6 to 122 staff, and patients were turning to the charity for help with a variety of conditions – now not only alcoholism but also the problem of drugs, depression and unemployment. The Falklands war had ruined the lives of many. Soldiers were coming out of the forces with various problems, and so CAIS was given a new challenge to address.
In the mid-1990s it became apparent that Denbigh Hospital would close. That, of course, would mean losing the units Dr Jones had set up to treat alcohol and drug problems. Many more patients would end up on the street without support.
Dr Jones led the campaign for the Home Office to provide funds for a purpose-built centre to help people with alcohol and drug addiction. Hafan Wen was subsequently built near the Maelor hospital, Wrexham. However, as we know, many of the patients who turned to CAIS for help faced a range of related problems. CAIS had to expand and offer services beyond the drug and alcohol service.
CAIS has now developed into a very influential charity, offering a huge range of services and working in partnership with many similar charities, and supporting thousands of individuals each year.
So, from a small seed a substantial charity has developed.
Individuals with vision can truly make a difference, and this is demonstrated in no better way than by our friend, Dr Dafydd Alun Jones.
Our work continues, redoubled in his memory.
If you would like to make a small donation in Dr Jones' memory, please visit www.justgiving.com/cais