A cancer charity, a group helping the elderly get more involved in the community and an organisation helping fathers improve their relationships with their children were among the winners at our prestigious awards ceremony.
Macmillan Cancer Research in Wales scooped the Most Admired
Organised by ourselves and supported by voluntary sector
services specialist Class Telecommunications, the Third Sector
Awards Cymru - hosted by BBC Wales presenter Jason Mohammad - took
place at the Radisson Blu hotel in Cardiff on 31 January.
The groups were shortlisted in the following six categories:
• Class Award for Best Communications - for effective or
innovative ways of communicating with members, service users or
• Green Award - for innovative policy on reducing carbon
footprint or raising awareness of climate change with service
• Health, Social Care and Wellbeing Award - for helping
people to be happier and healthier through
intervention/preventative work, maintaining independent living, or
• Award for Good Governance - to reward the exemplar work
of trustee boards
• Award for Innovative Fundraising - for exceptional and
• Most Admired Organisation - for organisations admired
most for the causes they represent and work they do
Jonathan Levy, Chief Operating Officer with Class
Telecommunications, said: 'Class is proud to support the Third
Sector Awards Cymru for the fifth consecutive year. Every
year the Welsh third sector continues to impress with its hard work
and determination to make a difference to lives across the
'These awards are a way to give something back to the groups
that make an often unheralded, but very real, positive impact on
WCVA Chief Executive Graham Benfield OBE said: 'While the
recession is hitting the third sector particularly hard, these
organisations have proved that they are not allowing financial
uncertainties to hinder their excellent work,' he added.
'The Third Sector Awards Cymru performs the important task of
highlighting the achievements of these outstanding groups.'
Third Sector Awards Cymru 2012
Class Award for Best Communications
Winner - Plant Dewi
Plant Dewi DadVenture in Pennar, Pembroke Dock runs dads' groups
which target hard to reach and vulnerable fathers with the aim of
improving their interpersonal skills and self-esteem, encouraging
them to spend more quality time with their children and
establishing support networks between fathers.
With 'many challenges' to engaging the men including frequent
changes of addresses and mobile phones and an innate wariness of
professionals, it was decided to set up a Facebook page to
This resulted in fathers engaging with the service on their own
terms, feeling part of a group and being happy to share information
about themselves that they usually would not.
'Facebook interaction is less challenging to participants who lack
confidence and have poor interpersonal skills and enables them to
articulate their views, thoughts and feelings without the
inhibitions that can often occur using conventional means of
contact,' said nominator Peter Arnold, Senior Project Manager with
Pennar Flying Start Centre.
Runners-up - Macmillan Cancer Support and Age Cymru
• A campaign launched last spring by Macmillan Cancer
Support has led to changes in Welsh Government policy that will
lead to major improvements for people affected by cancer in
The charity's Counting the Cost of Cancer campaign was the
result of the first comprehensive report into cancer poverty in
Wales, looking in detail at each local authority to produce a
document on the financial impact of a cancer diagnosis, focussing
on the increase in expenses incurred and the loss of income.
The initiative included the production of a film, press
releases, Facebook and Twitter, a touring 'advan' and a Cardiff
conference attended by the First Minister, the Minister for Health,
health professionals, AMs and people affected by cancer. The
campaign secured extensive media coverage and was debated by the
Welsh Government, which soon afterwards launched its Cancer
'The strategy accepted our calls that the clinical and
non-clinical needs of all cancer patients in Wales will be assessed
at point of diagnosis and formally recorded in a care plan,' said
Macmillan External Affairs Manager Gwenllian Griffiths.
'These assessments will routinely include signposting to
financial advice, information, support and welfare benefits advice.
The Counting the Cost report was mentioned in the Strategy and it
highlighted the work carried out by Macmillan in Wales.'
• Age Cymru's Communications and Marketing team communicates
with its audiences through many different platforms, including a
quarterly newsletter distributed to 5,000 contacts across Wales, a
website receiving 8,500 visitors a month, and an 'agony' column for
over-50s in the South Wales Echo which generates an average 100
calls a month to a free telephone advice line.
The charity has uploaded 17 films onto its YouTube channel with
content including advice on keeping warm, well and safe during the
winter; money guru Paul Lewis giving advice on making a will; and
support in dealing with debt.
The website is promoted in a fortnightly email newsletter
received by hundreds of subscribers. Age Cymru also has a
successful social media presence - a Facebook page with 610 likes
and a Twitter account with 3,707 followers.
'Age Cymru's publication schedule this year has also included a
manifesto for candidates in the local government elections,
information packs on preventing falls for older people and a range
of materials to promote our Let's Talk Money campaign to encourage
older people to claim all the state benefits they are entitled to
receive,' said Communications Officer Iwan Rhys Roberts.
Winner - RSPCA Llys Nini
RSPCA Llys Nini in Penllergaer began recycling in 2001,
initially handling newspapers and textiles such as blankets for
animal bedding and developing into a commercial initiative selling
quality recycled goods through seven retail outlets.
Income has grown considerably, and Llys Nini now recycles
ceramic, electrical and metal goods and plastics, while old animal
bedding is reused as industrial rags.
'If Llys Nini had not started to trade in recyclables, it would
probably have closed due to lack of funds in 2002,' said Chair of
Trustees Sally Hyman. 'The profits are ploughed back into the
charity. In 2011, we rescued nearly 800 animals, helped over
500 other animals, handled nearly 1,000 wildlife injuries and
managed the 78-acre site for biodiversity.'
Runners-up - Cardiff YMCA Housing Association and Llangattock
• A recycling project run by Cardiff YMCA Housing
Association is not only responding to the link between man-made
fabrics that don't decompose and climate change, but also offering
training and work opportunities to the long-term unemployed.
The PreFab Clothing scheme has collected over nine tons of
reusable items that were destined for landfill, processing them at
its recycling unit and selling them on at low cost in the PreFab
'Unusable textiles are not sent to landfill sites, eliminating
the production of toxins,' said the Association's Finance and
Development Officer, Mandy Smithson. 'We know that some
fibres can produce methane gas as they decay, contributing to
global warming. That is why every kilogram of textiles that the
project recycles saves the equivalent of 3 kilograms of CO2.
'Materials and any proceeds from the collections are directly
reinvested into projects and services for homeless people at
Cardiff YMCA Housing Association. In addition to showcasing
partnership working, the PreFab Project clearly shows its
dedication to reducing our organisational carbon footprint.'
• Llangattock Green Valleys was set up in 2009 in a bid
to reduce carbon emissions and energy use. Winning around
£350,000 in two environmental competitions allowed the group to
invest in microhydro schemes, as well as helping householders with
the installation of more energy-efficient boilers, solar pvs and
other measures, with the aim of reducing energy consumption as a
Through Green Valleys' website, residents can record their
energy consumption each month and are advised how to reduce it - an
initiative the group hopes to take into other local
communities. The goal is for the village to become carbon
negative - something it is on target to achieve by 2015.
'We believe we have a simple tool that many communities would
like to access to help them reduce energy consumption for the
benefit of the planet, but also to benefit individuals personally,
financially and otherwise,' said Company Secretary Jackie
Health, social care and wellbeing award
Winner - Contact the Elderly
A charity supporting more than 450 of 'the oldest old' people
across Wales, the aim of Contact the Elderly is to reduce the acute
loneliness and isolation of those who live alone with little or no
contact with the outside world.
The organisation arranges volunteer hosts and drivers to collect
people and take them to monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties where
they are welcomed into 'a warm environment for tea, chat and
friendship', said Chairman Duncan John Lloyd Fitzwilliams.
'The majority of the people fall into the category of the oldest
old,' he added. 'Over half are aged 80, while a quarter are
in their nineties. Lives are transformed by bringing
friendship, laughter, a sense of wellbeing and involvement in the
local community back into their lives.'
Runners-up - Theatre versus Opporession, The Hoticulture
Learning Zone and Harlech & Ardudwy Leisure
• Theatre Versus Oppression - which runs projects to
address social issues - holds workshops in prisons, women's refuges
and youth detention centres with people directly and indirectly
affected by domestic abuse.
The workshops feature plays where the actors act out situations
relevant to the participants, allowing them to see their behaviour
as other people see it, and to identify the triggers.
Prisoners are reported to have become less aggressive and more
communicative, with several of the women having set up a self-help
'People leave the workshops having looked at themselves and the
triggers to their behaviour,' said nominator, volunteer Suzanne
Phillips. 'They also have a feeling of hope, which in turn
leads to a feeling of wellbeing and change of attitude with the
potential for moving on.'
• The Horticulture Learning Zone at Fedw Hir Eco Centre,
Aberdare, has 17 volunteers, including teenagers on work
placements, adults with learning difficulties and one young man in
a wheelchair who cultivate vegetables, herbs and bedding plants,
which are sold at Merthyr's monthly farmers' market.
'Most of the volunteers are long-term unemployed,' said
Groundwork Trust Merthyr and RCT Horticulture Officer Lewis
Phillips. 'They have often slipped through the education
system and suffered the social and economic deprivations that that
The discipline and structure of the group had given them
confidence, self-esteem and qualifications and won them
awards. 'To witness fragile adults being transformed through
encouragement and respect is quite humbling and greatly rewarding,'
Lewis Phillips added.
• After Gwynedd Council decided the pool was uneconomic to
maintain, the residents campaigned to get it transferred to the
local community and formed Harlech & Ardudwy Leisure.
With grants from the National Lottery and Welsh Assembly
Government, the group also built a state-of-the-art climbing wall,
bouldering wall and cafeteria, as well as modernising the
facilities to provide disabled access and changing rooms.
The closure of the pool would have meant children having to
travel at least 20 miles for swimming lessons. The successful
campaign has also safeguarded the jobs of existing staff members
and allowed the employment of several new staff members, including
previously unemployed young people in the 18-24 age
'We have ensured the future of a much loved local facility in a
rural area which suffers from social deprivation,' said Director
Anwen Barry. 'The new cafeteria has become a community hub
and I think that providing maintaining and improving a range of
sporting and social facilities in such a rural area has indeed led
to an improvement in the quality of the lives of local people.'
Award for innovative fundraising
Winner - Ashfield Community Enterprise (ACE)
Ashfield Community Enterprise (ACE) was set up as a Community
Land Trust to save a 7.5 acre horticultural site in Howey,
Llandrindod Wells which was about to be sold on the open market. It
had previously provided employment and training for people with
disabilities but had fallen into disrepair and disuse.
The Trustees mounted a campaign to rescue the site to provide
activities where the local community could learn skills, start a
business, grow food, meet people and be equally valued regardless
of their ability or disability.
With the help of a £450,000 Big Lottery Fund grant, ACE
purchased the land and refurbished accompanying horticultural
buildings, an office, training buildings and a six-bedroom house
which it converted into two flats - making it the first community
land trust in Wales to deliver affordable housing.
The Trust has since raised over £30,000 from its share issue and
is now self-financing, using volunteer and paid labour, generating
a modest income through training, rental of growing and other
spaces at the site, sales of produce and rental income from the
Runners-up - DangerPoint and YogaMobility
• DangerPoint is an award-winning interactive centre
providing hands-on safety, health, well being and citizenship
education for children and young people in North Wales.
The initiative has educated more than 45,000 children and young
people at the centre, as well as over 15,000 young people through
outreach work such as a safe driving project.
A registered charity developed by a range of organisations
including North Wales Police, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service
and oil and gas company BHP Billiton, it is unique in Wales - there
are only 10 such centres in the UK wide - and is the first to also
open to the public to raise funds.
The Danger Detective Quest (DDQ) is a project offering visitors
the opportunity to explore the centre using a booklet to guide them
around lifelike scenarios, detecting dangers they could face every
day and learning how they can stay safe. This has resulted in
DangerPoint now having a turnover of £3,000 in its first
• Cardiff-based YogaMobility, which provides specialist yoga
classes to 75 disabled students, has led to the creation of an
unexpectedly successful band of musicians that now gives it a
When students, supporters and volunteers realised that many of
them had musical talents they set up a 12-piece band - now known as
the Funky Love Posse - which quickly developed a following and last
year supported Charlotte Church at the Paralympics Opening event in
As well as the benefits for the self-esteem of the disabled
musicians, the band donates its £500 gig fee to YogaMobility,
giving the charity an income in excess of £2,500 per year in vital
'At a time when public donations are drying up and grant funding
is harder to obtain, it is no exaggeration to say that the
contribution made by the Funky Love Posse has allowed us to
continue to develop the charity,' said Tim Watkins, Director of
health and wellbeing social enterprise Life Surfing CIC.
Award for good governance
Winner - First Choice Housing Association
First Choice Housing Association is the only one in Wales solely
providing homes for adults with a learning disability. Two
years ago, it undertook a comprehensive governance review to assess
performance and recommend improvements.
The Board recognised the need to be more strategic in planning
and decision making and has introduced initiatives including a
board members' handbook, annual members' appraisals and training to
enhance and hone their skills.
Members attend tenant participation events to understand the
challenges in providing services to tenants and to strengthen
relationships with them, and the chair and vice chair hold a
quarterly open forum with all staff.
'The governance review has resulted in a committed, informed,
cohesive board with the appropriate skills and competencies to lead
First Choice with excellent relationships with the whole staff
team,' said Chief Executive Hilary Ryan.
Runners-up - South Wales Miners' Museum and The Hill Community
• South Wales Miners' Museum in Afan Forest Park, Port
Talbot was established in 1972 to educate visitors about the social
heritage of Wales's coalfields through the exhibition of machinery,
equipment, buildings, literature, photographs and inventions of
The trustees and committee have invested time and effort in making
it a forward looking organisation - planning strategic, short and
long-term goals, and training both employees and
The museum had previously relied on grants and fundraising, but has
changed its methods to increase income, embracing social media and
online sales as a means to reach a wider audience.
• Roy Phelps took over as Chair of Swansea's Hill Community
Development Trust - set up as part of a pilot European Structural
Programme to tackle socio-economic problems - in the Townhill ward,
ranked as the most deprived in Wales, following the sudden death of
his predecessor in 2001.
The facility, including business units, all-weather sports
pitch, library, conference rooms, children's nursery and playground
and café, was 'set free of local authority control without any
management and financial systems of its own in place' - which all
changed when Roy took up his role.
'As grants have become harder to come by, the levels of income
we generate ourselves have risen from around £70k a number of years
back to over £250k in the last few years,' said Chief Executive
'Roy and his board are the inspirational motivators of good
ensured we have survived and grown stronger. At a time of
such uncertainty they stand as an example of best practice.
Their voluntary commitment is truly outstanding.'
Most admired organisation
Winner - Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales
Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales was nominated by Graham Waring,
from Bridgend, who was 51 and working as a catering manager on an
off-shore oil installation when diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in
The diagnosis changed his family's finances overnight. Mr
Waring was laid off as soon as he told his employers and suddenly
had no income, but still had to pay bills and expenses such as
travel to hospital and new clothing due to weight loss.
'I felt that while the medical aspects of cancer were well
explained to me, there was very little advice and support available
about practical matters such as finances,' he said.
Through Macmillan, Mr Waring has attended courses helping him to
speak confidently to others about cancer story. 'Macmillan
has given me the confidence to get my life back on track, and
although I still struggle with finances due to travel and other
obstacles, the organisation has been a great help to me,' he
Runners-up - Ely Garden Villagers and Ieuan the Lion Memorial
• Cardiff's Ely Garden Villagers, run by local couple Lynda
and Peter Sullivan, has been credited with turning around 'a once
troubled community' which was seen by many as an impoverished part
of the city and often cited by the media 'for all the wrong
reasons', said nominator Sandi Morgan.
'From football teams to litter picking and not forgetting the
annual celebrations of the "Elylimpics" and bonfire night, the
forgotten heroes of our community work tirelessly without ever
asking or expecting thanks,' Sandi added.
Although having busy personal lives, Lynda and Peter strived to
help and assist others 'in any capacity they can, often fitting in
unexpected problems at the expense of their own and strive to
brighten the community in anyway possible'.
The couple's focus, dedication and determination had helped a
community that felt 'isolated, abandoned and categorised into
feeling unworthy and troublesome into truly believing in themselves
and to take pride and consideration of their surroundings and those
• The Ieuan the Lion Memorial Fund raised £45,000 towards a
fully disabled-adapted luxury holiday home in Kiln Park, Tenby, to
offer breaks from the stress of diagnosis, treatment and
Ieuan died in 2007 after being diagnosed with a rare immune
deficiency. His parents, Rose and Wayne Yendle, set up the
memorial fund to give children and their families 'a reason to
smile and a chance to create precious memories.
'The charity's beginnings illustrate what can be achieved by pure
determination to give others a supporting hand in such unbearable
circumstances,' said nominator Shirley Valentino.
For more information please contact Lynne Reynolds on 029 2043
1718, Dave Cook on 029 2043 1710 or Jackie Huybs on 07814
070239. WCVA website www.wcva.org.uk