The work of Wales’s most admired and effective voluntary organisations will be recognised at a national awards ceremony.
The annual awards run by Wales Council for Voluntary Action
(WCVA) and supported by Class Networks will be given out at a
ceremony hosted by BBC news presenter Sian Lloyd at the St David's
Hotel in Cardiff on Thursday 16 February.
The shortlisted groups in each category are:
The Class award for best communications
People recovering from substance misuse have been able to
'redefine' themselves as the result of an imaginative campaign run
by NewLink Wales to challenge stigma and provoke discussion.
Heroine Day, the Cardiff-based charity's most ambitious
communications and fundraising project in its17-year history, was
devised to celebrate the heroic effort of recovery from drug and
alcohol use - rather than it being something most people avoided
University of South Wales Students' Union
The creation of a communications team resulted in the University
of South Wales seeing the biggest increase in engagement in the
students' union sector in the country.
Following a merger between the former Universities of
Glamorgan and Wales, Newport, the union had neither a
dedicated communications team nor effective, strategic way of
communicating with its members. Promotions of campaigns and
activities were sporadic, last minute and without clear messages or
Harnessing the power of Twitter has 'revolutionised' the way
YMCA Swansea interacts with and supplies business information to
both internal and external stakeholders.
Social media has become a critical business tool for the small
team of staff, allowing it to communicate with the outside
world. Members were 'early adopters' of Twitter, realising
they could be having direct conversations day and night with 'key
The environmental award
The Penllergare Trust
An environmental charity in a valley on the outskirts of Swansea
with more than 100 volunteers ranging from eight years old to 87,
the Penllergare Trust was one of only two sites in Wales last year
to be presented with the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.
The Trust was set up in 2000 to restore the landscape, which
contains lakes, a walled garden, waterfall and some nationally
important historical features - one of the first photographs taken
of the moon was from its observatory.
Canton & Riverside Grows Wild
The 'greyest areas of Cardiff' are being greened thanks to the
efforts of Canton & Riverside Grows Wild, a small group of
volunteers determined to make positive changes to their
Having adopted four neglected green spaces in the deprived areas
of Riverside and Canton and developed them into wildlife havens,
the group has delivered workshops to residents in growing and
harvesting fruit and vegetables from gardens.
NewLink Wales - Buzzin Project
People with substance misuse issues are being helped on the road
to recovery by learning how to become beekeepers. NewLink Wales is
addressing clients' problems through its innovative and exciting
Buzzin Project concept, which has seen the installation of beehives
in the organisation's car park.
Running since April 2016, volunteers learn practical and
organisational skills, teamwork and many other transferable skills.
The project has also developed qualifications for participants to
enhance their employability skills, with six of them having
qualified as beekeepers and about to train others.
The health, social care and wellbeing award
Cardiff People First
Cardiff People First is run for and by people with a learning
disability, with employees, trustees and volunteers all having
first hand experience of what it means.
The group manages projects with partners to campaign to change
attitudes, get better services and enjoy more opportunities.
Initiatives have included working with Screening for Life to create
a film about cervical smears so that women with a learning
disability know what to expect and why they should be
Young people across South East Wales are seeing their health and
wellbeing improved through an innovative approach to peer-led
sexual health education.
The Sex Matters Too project run by works in partnership with the
Aneurin Bevan Health Board's sexual health outreach team to train
young people aged 16-25 in areas of sexual health, sexual
exploitation and healthy relationships.
The Amber Project: Church Army
The Church Army's Amber Project supports young people aged 14-25
in Cardiff and the surrounding areas who self-harm by introducing
them to the theatre, cooking, arts and crafts, music workshops,
counselling and one-to-one support.
The support helps them works through issues, develop alternative
coping strategies, build self-confidence and esteem and develop
The award for good governance
The trustees of YMCA Swansea are a 'forward thinking visionary
board, who have led proactively and innovatively, and who have
committed thousands of hours of their time to support, nurture,
represent, challenge, take risks and be strong to grow, support and
improve our organisation'.
Led by a dynamic and inspirational Chair, the trustees have
spearheaded a campaign over the past 12 months to rebrand and focus
key work areas and provide support to local communities based on
The Fern Partnership
The Fern Partnership works alongside Ferndale Community School
in Maerdy, Rhondda, to raise funds for the school and assist in
developing the lives and wellbeing of the local and wider
communities by offering services and support to families and
generations under the remit of a 'Generations Together'
The trustees have 'a burning desire and determination' to
support, challenge and advise the management team ensuring high
quality service and excellent standards are delivered.
Eiriol Mental Health Advocacy
Eiriol Mental Health Advocacy trustees have embraced a model of
thinking allowing them to fulfil their roles more effectively - the
'3S' model - supporting management, administration and advocates in
excellent service delivery; supervision to ensure standards of
performance and targets from commissioners are maintained; and
regularly reviewing current and future strategy to ensure needs and
geographical coverage are met.
They use 'outside in' thinking when making decisions, 'stand in
the shoes' of the group to ensure the best possible outcomes, and
use three yardsticks of finance, mental health and operations,
reviewing finances quarterly, monitoring the rate of new referrals
and speed of response to them, and reviewing day-to-day
The award for innovative fundraising
Awel Aman Tawe
A wind farm built by Awel Aman Tawe has helped turn the social
enterprise into one of the largest in Wales, with more than £3m due
to go back into environmental projects over the 20 year lifetime of
The group used Twitter and Facebook to secure investment from
across the UK and abroad, organised 25 public visits to see the
wind farm in construction, and obtained support from celebrities
including actor Michael Sheen - who is from Port Talbot, ex-Wales
rugby captain Paul Thorburn and former national poet of Wales,
Tenovus Cancer Care
A bid to halt a decline in the number of gifts in wills left to
Tenovus Cancer Care has resulted in the charity seeing an estimated
£1m in future income - 10 times that achieved during previous
Wills are a vital source of income - funding a £1m a year
research programme - but legacy notifications were steadily
declining and the pattern looked likely to continue, jeopardising
the future work of the charity. The 2016 Cancer Free
Future legacy fundraising campaign was a multi-channel
marketing project that included offering the opportunity for people
aged 50 and over across Wales to make or update their will for free
Wales Millennium Centre
Wales Millennium Centre's Roald Dahl's City of the
Unexpected weekend in Cardiff last September was the biggest
free outdoor cultural event to ever take place in the capital
The celebration of Wales's most popular author's centenary saw
hundreds of thousands of people flooding the streets in a festival
which 'took art, culture and creativity to a new level'. Organised
in association with National Theatre Wales, the event raised the
profile of Cardiff, hitting headlines and creating a buzz on social
The award for digital inclusion supported by Digital
RNIB Cymru - Online Today/Arlein Heddiw
Welsh people with vision or hearing loss living in communities
most at risk of marginalisation from the digital world are being
supported to get online by an innovative RNIB project, run in
partnership with, Vision Support and North Wales Society for the
The Online Today project trains volunteers to support
people with sight loss to 'begin their digital journey'. An
'entry level' campaign, it assumes participants have no prior
knowledge of digital technology.
Aneurin Leisure Trust
Blaenau Gwent Libraries-Aneurin Leisure Trust are making a
difference to local people's lives by allowing them access to a
network of 64 public computers and also training volunteers and
staff to support and encourage them to get online.
The informal, non-threatening environment of the county
borough's six libraries puts learners at ease, with the service
developed around the libraries often being the first port of call
for digital help, including for complete beginners.
The Change Step peer mentoring and advice service led by CAIS,
and delivered throughout Wales by members of the DACW consortium,
supports military veterans who have difficulties with mental health
including PTSD, substance misuse, involvement with the criminal
justice system, homelessness, unemployment, debt and/or gambling
addiction, as well as offering assistance and information to their
families and friends.
Although offline engagement and interaction with veterans was
already working well, the charity wanted to reach more people by
enhancing the delivery of online services to veterans and families
Award for the most admired organisation - (shortlisted and
winner chosen by public vote)
The Fern Partnership
The members of Rhondda Cynon Taf's Fern Partnership are 'beacons
of positivity' who have turned around the lives of people in their
Running two successful Flying Start Childcare projects and
helping deliver Communities First, the team has improved the health
and wellbeing of local residents, as well as changing 'the
historical culture and attitudes'.
Headway Cardiff and South East Wales has improved the lives of
hundreds of people affected by acquired brain injury, providing
invaluable support to families and individuals.
Before the charity was set up by sufferers and their families -
supported by therapists in Rookwood Hospital - patients discharged
from hospital were left with little or no ongoing support to cope
with and adapt to the devastating consequences of brain injury.
Awel Aman Tawe
The volunteers of Awel Aman Tawe spent 18 years submitting
planning applications for a wind farm which is currently supplying
electricity to around 2,500 Swansea homes.
The community energy charity had three applications turned down,
was turned down twice for common land consent and lost an eight-day
public inquiry and a judicial review.
Fair Treatment for the Women of Wales
Fair Treatment for the Women of Wales (FTWW) is carrying out
'truly amazing work' supporting women and girls who are not
receiving help for their health problems.
The organisation was set up by Chief Executive Officer
Debbie Shaffer after she failed to get treatment and knew that
there were many other women in the same situation. Currently
focusing on endometriosis, FTWW members feel their inadequate
treatment is due to the lack of specialist provision in
Soroptimist International Wales South
Soroptimist International Wales South (SIWS), which has more
than 400 members in 16 clubs across the region, has led the way in
campaigning on anti-human trafficking.
The organisation is part of a global volunteer movement of women
inspiring action and transforming lives locally, nationally and
internationally. SIWS has developed the first anti-slavery stickers
for local taxis and partnered with the Welsh Government
Anti-Slavery Team on producing and distributing leaflets.