The North Powys Wellbeing Project to transform health and social care in Mid Wales has cleared its latest hurdle.

At a board meeting on Tuesday, members of Powys Teaching Health Board approved the model of care which would allow staff working on the scheme to start looking at how much the project will cost and what services will be delivered.

This work would support a business case to submit grant funding applications to find the money needed to turn the vision into reality.

In May 2019, the Welsh Government announced that £2.5 million of funding has been made available to start the project, although it is expected that the scheme would cost over £20 million to deliver in full.

The Park area, in Newtown is earmarked for the building.

Seen by some as a “mini-hospital” in Newtown, the project is supposed to have a wider scope bringing health and social services and possibly even education, together under one roof.

It is a joint Powys Teaching Health Board (PTHB)  and Powys County Council (PCC) scheme.

At the board meeting PTHB director of planning and performance Hayley Thomas gave a report outlining feedback from a four month period of “engagement” with residents last summer.

She said: “The engagement activities focused on understanding what keeps people safe and well in their homes and communities.

“Experience of our residents using public services was also tested, and they were asked to provide insight into what they feel could be improved closer to home, within their communities, across north Powys and out of county.

“Despite the differences in needs, there were a number of common themes that emerged from all areas across north Powys."

She said these included transport, access to GP practices, services for children, strengthening of mental health services, the importance of libraries, green spaces and arts, and community hospitals.

Ms Thomas continued: “The feedback received from the engagement sessions supported and shaped the development of the model of care and case for change, ensuring and approach that places the voices of our staff and residents at it’s heart.”

Powys County Council’s cabinet were supposed to discuss and approve the model of care on Tuesday, March 24, but that meeting was cancelled.

At a previous meeting scrutinising the model of care, councillors feared that the wellbeing project was too “Newtown-centric” and should be for all of Powys not just the north.

Councillors also believed that the social care and wellbeing side of things needed to be better explained as people might perceive the future hub a wholly medical facility.