We are Thriving Communities

An enthusiastic and dedicated team of health and wellbeing professionals who want to make a HUGE difference in communities and workplaces in South Wales

Thriving Communities was founded by Mel Jones in September 2021 with the support of Claire Bellavia. It was only in late 2022 that the business started to really take off when 2 new directors joined: Esther Apoussidis and Dr Manmeet Kaur. Claire stepped down in the summer of 2023 for personal reasons. And in November 2023 Sandra Brown joined the team after helping Dr Manmeet run the Mind & Body Wellness Programme.

Thriving Communities’ vision is to empower communities to thrive through love, connection and purpose. And its mission is to spread love, happiness and joy throughout the communities of South Wales by encouraging self-love, self-healing, self-empowerment and building life-enhancing connections.

Thriving Communities’ 5 core values are:

  • Wellbeing
  • Connection
  • Growth
  • Service
  • Empowerment

Part of the mission is to introduce the PERMAH model of Positive Psychology created by Martin Seligman throughout South Wales. PERMAH stands for Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Accomplishment and Health.

Thriving Communities are blessed to have the professional support of Miriam Akhtar – a master practitioner of Positive Psychology, a thought leader, keynote speaker, trainer and educator and one of 100 global experts in the science of wellbeing. Miriam was one of the first positive psychologists to qualify in Europe.

Melaney (Mel) Jones

Mel’s professional career has seen her engage with individuals experiencing disadvantage in many forms, including poverty, physical and mental ill health.

Driven to make a difference Mel started working in community development more than 30 years ago and following a brain tumour, which gave her the opportunity to reassess her life, retrained as a registered social care professional.  In that time Mel has amassed wide experience of using interventions and skills to empower and enable individuals to experience a better quality of life.

In 2019 Mel voluntarily set up the first Happiness & Wellbeing Group (Positive Psychology in Action) which has positively transformed countless lives and promoted community cohesion.  Mel is a passionate personality, delighted to be working with such skilled and like-minded directors of Thriving Communities CIC and is eager to introduce other communities to Positive Psychology in Action so that they too can experience more resilience, optimism and increased levels of health and happiness.  At present Mel’s role in Thriving Communities CIC is Chief Financial Officer and Positive Psychology Lead. 

Esther Apoussidis

Esther has nearly 30 years’ experience in sales and marketing roles across varied sectors of business and industry. After running her own award-winning coffee shop (2010-2015), she retrained as an holistic therapist. She currently runs her own therapy practice called MindBody Oasis at Whitchurch Chiropractic Clinic, specialising in reflexology for menopause and anti-ageing.

Esther is also an accredited Energy Alignment Method (EAM) Mentor – a form of applied kinesiology. She uses this powerful technique in her coaching practice (Energy Transformations) to help people overcome the limitations of their mind and expand their intuition through connecting to their heart centre.

Esther joined Thriving Communities in October 2022 because she is passionate about empowering others through positive mindset and energy work to live a more fulfilled, purpose-driven and happier life.

Her role at Thriving Communities includes project facilitation and delivery as well as some marketing responsibilities (including website and email marketing).

Dr Manmeet Kaur

Dr Manmeet Kaur is a GP at Pengam Health Centre, Caerphilly, Cardiff. She is also a Health & Wellbeing Co-ordinator with Thriving Communities CIC.

She is a Yoga Instructor with over 500 hours practice as well as a Breath & Meditation Trainer. She has also been trained in Acupuncture & Reflexology.

She offers educational and self-development programmes that eliminate stress and foster profound inner peace, happiness and wellbeing.

Dr Kaur is a Project manager for Mind & Body Wellness (MBW) Programme. She has been an excellent and enthusiastic driving force behind this project, following the huge success of her voluntary “Yoga & Mindfulness” service evaluation project with the NHS in 2022.

She has won the Ethnic Minority Welsh Women Achievers (EMWWA) Award in 2021 for her invaluable contribution to promote a stress-free society through her mindfulness sessions during the COVID pandemic.

Her vision is to support mental & physical wellbeing of NHS patients & staff through her Mind & Body Wellness sessions. 

Sandra Brown

Sandra has worked for over 23 years in Social Services in various financial departments, including as a Manager of the Client Finance team. In this capacity she worked alongside social workers, their clients and families and the Court of Protection. In some circumstances, such as protection of vulnerable adult issues, she also worked alongside the police.

Sandra is also a trained florist and has run her own business for over 7 years.

In addition, she has spent many years researching and training in the areas of empowerment, positive mindset, tarot reading, Feng Shui, NLP, breathwork, meditation and crystals. She became an accredited coach with the Sue Stone Foundation in 2018 and more recently she became a Certified Breathwork Coach.

Sandra joined the Thriving Communities team in November 2023 after volunteering in the Mind & Body Wellnessw Programme. She is excited to be part of the team and have the opportunity to put all her training and skills to good use: supporting others in being able to empower themselves and to derive the health benefits of simple breathwork techniques.

What People Say

I became a member of the group some time before taking “the leap of faith” and committing to attending an event. What a turning point that was for me. I even roped my sister in to joining too. I found that whatever event I attended, I was always met with a warm welcome, never feeling “on the outskirts of the group”. I love the variety of personalities within the group and have made some very special friends. Events are inclusive for all ages and abilities. There is always lots of laughter mixed with a very special element of empathy and support for those who choose to share their challenges in life. I will never regret taking that leap of faith. I even had to buy a larger calendar, which fills up very quickly. There is always something to look forward to and I am forever grateful to Hengoed Happiness and Well-being for giving me such opportunities xx

Happiness & Wellbeing Group


Thank you so much! It was an amazing afternoon and I’m absolutely thrilled to have spent time with you all! I cannot wait to see you again soon!



Envisioning Workshop


My experience of Dr Kaur’s sessions are absolutely excellent. She is a wonderful teacher: so calm, collected and reassuring. Her exercises to control the breathing and particularly for mobility and flexibility (having had both hips replaced) was really, really good. I thoroughly enjoyed it! I would recommend it to everyone. Please just go along and give it a try!

Yoga & Mindfulness


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