Over a million people in Wales help their communities and each other in all sorts of remarkable ways. And since 2004 the Wales Volunteer of the Year Awards has been shining the spotlight on these incredible people.

 A total of 17 winners in the six nomination categories of adults, young volunteers (under 25 years), international volunteers, groups, 'green' volunteers and trustees were presented with their awards by Welsh Government Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty Jeff Cuthbert AM.

'We are proud to have in Wales a wealth of dedicated volunteers who give selflessly of their spare time to making a huge difference in the communities in which they live,' said Phil Jarrold, Acting WCVA Chief Executive.

'The Wales Volunteer of the Year Awards is the opportunity for us to repay their efforts by saying thank you on a national stage.'

Minister Jeff Cuthbert said: 'I am delighted to help commemorate and thank the many individuals and groups who voluntarily do great work across Wales. WCVA tell me that there are one million volunteers in Wales, and in a country of three million people that says something very important to us.'

  

Wales Volunteer of the Year Awards 2014

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Young person category - Max Williams, Vale of Glamorgan

'Exceptional young man' Max Williams has helped shape a club for young people with disabilities by giving up all his spare time to organise activities for them.

The 16-year-old from Wick is one of the original members of Penarth Youth Project's United Youth Club for young people with high functioning Autism and Asperger's Syndrome, joining in 2010 because he lacked the confidence to socialise with his peers.

Currently a catering student at Cardiff and Vale College, Max has put his skills to good use at the club, making chilli hot dogs for members at special themed evenings.

As well as captaining the club's sports team and regularly leading them to victory, he organises fundraising activities for Comic Relief, Sports Relief and Children in Need, and has received his Millennium Volunteers Award Certificates for completing both his 100 hours and 200 hours of volunteering.

'Max is an exceptional young man,' said his nominator Tracey Downes, Manager with the Penarth Youth Project.  'He is a great role model for other young people, especially those who are on the autism spectrum, as he demonstrates how much a person can achieve when they are supported, just by being themselves. 

'Max is has no awareness of how inspirational others find him or of the fact that he is.  He has not set out to inspire other people, but to challenge himself and face his challenges head on.

'He has impeccable manners, is a perfect gentleman, hard working, always putting other people first, conscientious, committed and a true advocate for all young people.'

 

Young person category - Manon Haf Lewis,Carmarthen

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Manon Haf Lewis has grown from someone with very little confidence and low self esteem to become a voice for Welsh people with mental health problems.

The 23-year-old of Johnstown, Carmarthen, is a Champion and Educator with  Timeto Change Wales (TTCW), the first national campaign to end the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems.

Through mentoring and support from the TTCW team, Manon's confidence and involvement has gone from strength to strength.  From initially just pledging to talk more openly about her own experiences in her local community, Manon has gone on to undertake a range of roles within the campaign.

As a  TTCW Educator - volunteers with lived experience of mental health problems who tell their own stories and deliver anti-stigma sessions in workplaces - she has taken part in media work including newspaper and radio interviews and spoken at big events such as the National Eisteddfod.

'As a Champion, Manon is part of a social movement for change and is at the heart of the TTCW campaign,' said nominator Wendy Bell, Glangwili Hospital Clinical Lead, Eating Disorders.

'She has pledged to talk openly about mental health and to speak out against stigma and discrimination in her own community and beyond.  She is a voice for all people who have experienced mental health problems inWales.

'By talking openly about mental health, she is helping to tackle the taboos and make it easier for others to share and talk about their experiences.  Manon has made a massive contribution to the TTCW campaign and has been a leading light for other Champions.'

 

Young person category - Candy Srinivas, Cowbridge

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Not only has Candy Srinivas kept the name of her local youth club alive, but the Cowbridge student has also continued to volunteer with it even while away in university.

Candy, 20, has been volunteering for the past four years with Colwinston Youth Club, helping run activities, the canteen and stalls at the village fête - as well as writing the club's code of conduct. 

Vice Chair of the Vale Youth Forum for the past two years, she is also its representative on Funky Dragon, the young person's assembly forWales. 

Candy took part in a consultation event to ensure the views of young people were considered in the development of services in the village, which led to the installation of a multi-use games area.

She helped secure Gwirvol funding to promote the use of a community transport scheme to address the difficulties experienced by young people in accessing public transport in the isolated rural community

'Candy deserves special recognition for what she has done,' said nominator Conway Hawkins, Senior Youth Worker with Colwinston Youth Club.  'She has kept the name of the club alive and done a great deal to ensure that it prospers.

'She has not only acted as an advocate but she's a worker too.  Even now, while she is in university, she continues to support young people from her home community in the Rural Vale by remaining an active volunteer.

'Ours is one of the smallest clubs in the Vale of Glamorgan and we've recently had three of our members - including Candy - elected, by young people from across the Vale, to the newly formed Vale Youth Cabinet.  We're very proud that three of the seven youth cabinet members come from our small club and this would not have happened without Candy's example and encouragement.'

 

Adult category - John Hopkins, Bridgend  

The sudden death of John Hopkins's wife led to him spending most of the past 20 years giving up his time - and money - to a charity supporting other bereaved people.

The 60-year-old from Aberkenfig started volunteering with the Mid Glamorgan branch of Cruse Bereavement Care in 1996, five years later taking over as Chair of the newly formed Morgannwg area, comprising Swansea, Neath, Port Talbot and Bridgend. 

He also ran the office and worked five days a week, often six to seven hours a day, with meetings in the evenings and weekends.  He joined the Cruse Wales Advisory Group and sat on the UK National Cruse Council for three years. 

Becoming a volunteer trainer, 'he never even took a holiday - John ate and breathed Cruse Morgannwg', said nominator Sue Richards, Area Coordinator with Cruse Morgannwg.

As he could find no-one else to take on the role, John became treasurer.  He stepped down as Chair in 2006, but remained vice chair.  Most recently, he took on the role of client volunteer and visits bereaved people in their homes.

'Without John's input, Cruse Morgannwg would not be the organisation it is today,' Sue added.  'From 2003 to 2006, he mostly paid for all the stamps and stationery out of his own pocket, as the organisation needed to grow but just did not have the money behind it. 

'Through not only his time but financial input, Cruse Morgannwg grew and grew.  When John arrived, we were looking at around 250 referrals a week.  Now we are over 800.  And the number of volunteers has risen from the upper 20s to 53. 

'Many a time has the management committee discussed the closing of the branch.  In the past two years, it has been a new vibrant Cruse. We have John to thank for where we are today.

'Bereaved people in the towns of Bridgend, Neath,Port TalbotandSwanseawould not have the range or depth of support they have if it was not for John.  All this complete selfless generosity and need to help other bereaved people came from the sudden death of his wife.' 

 

Adult category - Adrian Bryan, Wrexham

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Adrian Bryan is responsible for making 'a massive difference' to the lives of children in Wrexham by transforming a struggling scout group into a charity with a 'vibe of excitement and of life'.

The professional accountant from Llay often spends more hours in a week at Bishop's Own Scout Group managing the group and its volunteers than most people do in a full time job.

When Adrian, 33, took over as Group Scout Leader at the end of 2012, Bishop's Own had a reputation in the local community of being disorganised and poorly managed.  There were no functioning executive committee, meetings, AGM or publishable accounts.

Since then he has trained three high calibre section leaders, recruited a team of professional calibre volunteers to form the executive committee, brought financial stability by introducing standing order payments for parents, won grants totalling over £11,000 and obtained corporate sponsorship.

'What makes Adrian's performance truly remarkable is that he didn't just spend his time completing the "highlight-able" tasks,' said nominator Luke Davies,Adrian's friend.

'He led from the front, supporting his section leaders by helping run the evening activities; talking to the parents - building relationships and trust; and week in week out helping with the reality of charity work, even down to mopping the floors, tidying, cleaning and making the brews.'

Adrian has managed to have an impact not only to the 80 children that now attend Bishop's Own, but also to the other teenagers from outside the group that he trained and mentored to complete their Duke of Edinburgh Award.

'The difference Adrian has made has been through massive effort and personal sacrifice,' Luke added.  'He found the strength to take a failing organisation with a frankly woeful reputation and - through literally thousands of hours of hard graft, through great leadership and inspiring others and through tremendous organisation and focus - created a new Bishop's Own, a charity with a vibe of excitement and of life.

'It's a story of inspirational transformation that is making a massive difference to kids' lives now, and will inevitably make a difference to hundreds of kids' lives over the years.'

 

Adult category - Jen Wilson, Swansea

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Pianist Jen Wilson has created a unique archive on the history of Welsh and British women in jazz, the value of which is recognised worldwide.

The 69-year-old retired Swansea auxiliary nurse and lecturer in higher education founded Jazz Heritage Wales - then known as The Women's Jazz Archive - nearly 30 years ago.  Its patrons today include Dame Cleo Laine.

From her experiences as a jazz pianist and work with Swansea Women's History Group, Jen knew that the history of women in jazz in Wales had not been documented.  It was predominantly a male story, with little published about women's contributions.

She started to collect records, books, journals and stage gowns, which formed the basis of the present archive.  Her research focused on the anti-slavery societies and their music, and she discovered that Swansea had the largest and most committed society in Wales, with its roots in the 1820s.

While still a nurse, Jen listened to the memories of patients in the geriatric ward at Mount Pleasant Hospital, adding their stories to a local history exhibition and Swansea County Archives.

The most recent project - in partnership with the Phoenix Centre in Townhill and Swansea Metropolitan University - culminated in the publication ofThose Saturday Nights, the Arts Council of Wales-funded story of Swansea's Tower cinema and ballroom, which Jen edited.

She has also devoted an enormous amount of time to the creation and development of the all-women Allstars Swing Band, which has given younger female musicians the opportunity to learn new skills and perform in front of audiences.

'The jazz archive is at the heart of Jen's huge contribution to the cultural history of Wales,' said nominator Gail Allen, Jazz Heritage Wales Treasurer.  'It's a unique collection in the UK, recognised as a valuable resource by researchers from universities across the world, and used by television and radio.'

 

Adult category - Jenni McCabe, Newport

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The voluntary work of Jenni McCabe has helped make life easier for Welsh people with Parkinson's Disease and their families.

Secretary of theNewportbranch of Parkinson'sUKfor the past eight years, she is also a volunteer educator for the charity, delivering training sessions on the condition to pharmacies and staff in residential care homes across the city. 

Her third volunteer role is as a Parkinson's UK Champion forNewport, which involves campaigning to local service providers and decision makers - such as the Local Health Board and politicians - to ensure they understand the challenges facing people with Parkinson's.

Jenni is involved in the recruitment of new members of staff, fundraising projects, and sourcing sponsors, prizes and other volunteers for large events - as well as being the face of numerous campaigns and publications.

Jenni was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson's Disease in 2001, and six years later was forced to retire from her career in finance and insurance.

'Parkinson's is a progressive, neurological condition for which there is no cure,' said nominator, Parkinson's UK Wales Director Barbara Locke.  'Jenni's condition means she has particular issues with balance and often falls over unexpectedly.  She is also affected by dyskinesia - uncontrollable movements caused by Parkinson's medication.'

But she goes swimming and ballroom dancing and attends keep fit classes to remain active and mobile.  Outside of Parkinson'sUK, Jenni is a volunteer wardrobe mistress with a local amateur theatre company.

'Jenni's work means services in South East Wales are continually improving to meet the needs,' Barbara added.  'She was instrumental in campaigning for a second Parkinson's Disease nurse specialist in the area, which means many more people now have access to regular health care and advice about their condition.  This in turn has reduced the burden on neurological consultants.'

 

Adult category - Lavon Smith, Swansea

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In her almost quarter of a century with St John Wales's Pontarddulais division, Lavon Smith has turned the unit into a centre of excellence.

During that time, the 60-year-old Regional Youth Officer has raised thousands of pounds for a new St John Ambulance Hall for the town, 'transformed the volunteering experience' for young members and inspired many of them to achieve skills and awards that will benefit them for years to come.

A laboratory technician at Pontarddulais Comprehensive, Lavon uses skills she has acquired from St John as the school's first aid officer and has had to deal with many accidents over the years, ranging from bruises to suspected spinal injuries and chest pains.  She has also administered first aid to members of the public when she has been on the scene.

Lavon devised a new programme for first aid competition training, helping Pontarddulais to take the Welsh Championship First Aid title for the first time in 1997, and winning it every year except three since.  She has become a leading authority in Wales for first aid competitions, stages county competitions and supports the Welsh finals as a planner, paper writer and judge.

When the division's meeting hall fell into disrepair, Lavon spearheaded a fundraising campaign to raise £26,000 to build a new one.  She juggles her commitment to the club with caring for her disabled brother, looking after her family and her full time job.

'With the support of the other St John youth leaders in Pontarddulais, Lavon has created fun, interactive and achievable programmes of study for young people and has turned the division into a centre of excellence in the village,' said Damian James, St John Wales' Director of Youth.

'There are more than 100 youth members at one time - 10 cadet divisions and nine badger setts across the counties of Swansea and Neath Port Talbot,' he added. 

'There is a waiting list of more young people keen to join, yet Lavon knows every young member by name.'

 

International category - Gill Griffiths, Pentyrch, Cardiff  

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The vision of Gill Griffiths has helped raise an 'incredible' amount of money to make a massive difference to the living standards of women in Ethiopia. 

On becoming President of Merched y Wawr in 2012, she chose Christian Aid as her charity.  She was then invited to vist Ethiopia, where she met women and children, taking part in their daily activities such as collecting and carrying water and planting crops, and spending time in their impoverished homes.

On her return to Wales, Merched y Wawr arranged a massive collection of bags from members and friends to be sold second hand to raise money for Christian Aid, with the specific aim of raising the living standards of the women in Ethiopia.

An auction was held including bags from Welsh celebrities, and a shop run for a week at the Eisteddfod and Royal Welsh Show, with a pop-up shop in Aberystwyth and a stand at a car boot sale.  Thousands of bags were collected and so far, more than £19,000 has been raised.

'A large number of women in Wales have helped with collecting, sorting and selling, and feel that they have learnt a lot about poverty,' said nominator Merched y Wawr National Director Tegwen Morris.

'The campaign has brought communities together and the amount raised so far is incredible and will make a massive difference to women in their communities in Ethiopia.  

The funding will enable investment in projects such as helping to provide closer access to water and to establish self-help groups which provide opportunities for women to buy animals such as goats and to set up small businesses.  The self-help groups also allow the women to discuss their problems and make important decisions to improve their daily lives.

'Gill has worked tirelessly over the past two years,' Tegwen added.  'She had a vision, and that vision was realised with the support of women right across Wales.

'Christian Aid is close to her heart and in a difficult economic climate, contributing a bag was better than asking people to donate money - but gave the same sense of contribution and pride of being able to help less fortunate women.'

 

Group category - New Pathways, South East Wales

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Rape support group New Pathways has 'literally saved the lives' of hundreds of vulnerable and at risk people across South, Mid and West Wales.

The 70-plus volunteers provide counselling to victims of rape and sexual abuse from offices in Aberystwyth, Carmarthen, Swansea, Bridgend, Newport, Risca and Merthyr Tydfil, as well as through outreach posts at Cardiff Links and Parc Prison, Bridgend.

All volunteers complete a ten-day accredited training programme spread across eight to10 weeks and are required to commit around four hours a week of their time to work with clients and support other volunteers in the offices.

They work with children as young as three and adults up to the age of 90-plus.  The clients have a range of issues alongside the sexual abuse/rape they have experienced, including substance misuse, learning disabilities and being involved in the criminal justice system.

'Due to an increase in public confidence to report crimes of this nature, there is an increased demand for this vital service and New Pathways receives referrals every day from GPs, drug and alcohol agencies, the probation and police services, youth workers, teachers, Barnado's and social services, to name but a few,' said nominator, Detective Superintendent Ian Roberts of Gwent Police. 

'Last year alone, we received more than 1,700 referrals throughout Wales.  We feel it is no exaggeration to say that New Pathways' interventions have literally saved the lives of many of the most vulnerable and at risk members of society, who without our intervention would have had no other specialist help available to them.'

 

Group category - Time to Change Wales, Cardiff

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Volunteers with the first national campaign to address the stigma and discrimination faced by people with a mental health problem are successfully breaking down barriers.

The purpose of Time to Change Wales (TTCW) is to educate people on 'the myths and the facts' about mental health problems and to try to change public attitudes. 

TTCW 'champions' are volunteers with lived experience of mental health problems.  They deliver formal presentations in the workplace and at conferences and other events with large audiences, as well as engaging with their local communities by taking part in bike rides, music shows and writing groups and being very active on social media.

'The campaign is vitally important, as in any one year, one in four of us will experience a mental health problem - and entrenched attitudes are still evident,' said nominator Julie Denley, Head of Psychological Services and Partnerships with Hywel Dda University Health Board.

Surveys, for example, demonstrate that 25% of the Welsh population does not think that someone with a mental health condition should hold public office, and almost 50% has the opinion that someone with a mental health problem should not look after their children.

'These individuals are an inspiration,' Julie added.  'They are at the heart of everything that the campaign achieves.  They are the voices, the stories, the campaigners and the activists.

'They are breaking down barriers surrounding mental health stigma and discrimination.  For many, this involvement has also been a personal journey, helped their own recovery, and even provided a route back into employment.'

 

Group category - Pembrokeshire Mencap  

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A Pembrokeshire tourist attraction that also offers employment to people with learning disabilities has seen a 45% increase in visitors since volunteers secured funding for impressive new facilities.

Stackpole Walled Garden, part of the National Trust's Stackpole Estate, is managed by the trustees of Pembrokeshire Mencap and all the gardening work carried out by adults with learning disabilities.

They produce a large range of plants, fresh fruit and vegetables - sold in the shop or used in the recently opened Cawdor Café and Visitor Centre - and crafts such as Christmas wreaths, bird boxes and vegetable trugs.

In 2010, Mencap Treasurer Mike Evans and Secretary Ian Wilshaw obtained funding of £350,000 to build the visitor centre and café, a car park and retail outlet.  The initiative has been principally funded by Communities and Nature Fund led and managed by Natural Resources Wales and part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government. 

They also received funding from the Welsh Government's Sustainable Development Fund, administered locally by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority. There have also been a number of foundations and groups who have made significant donations which gave the Society the confidence and security it needed to make a start. 

The new development is now providing new opportunities for people with special learning needs to learn cooking and catering skills, hospitality skills such as table waiting and taking orders, food hygiene and workplace cleanliness, and social skills through interaction with customers. 

Between March 2009 and March 2010, Stackpole Walled Garden received 7,000 visitors.  Between April 2013 and September 2013, it welcomed 12,568 visitors - a 45 % increase.

'The café has also provided new seasonal jobs, with six local people now working there between March and October - new posts created in a rural area,' said nominator Aled Davies, Communities and Caseload Officer with Natural Resources Wales.

'This project, from start to finish, has shown what can be achieved when an organisation has two well motivated and committed individuals involved. This project would not have seen the light of day without the input of Mike Evans and Ian Wilshaw.'

 

Green category - Gail Jones, Caerphilly

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A haven for wildlife on the edge of Newport is connecting thousands of children with nature - with Gail Jones playing a key role.

The 'energetic' retired teacher from Machen volunteers as a community and education assistant at the RSPB Visitor and Education Centre based at the Newport Wetlands National Nature Reserve 'with massive enthusiasm', employing teaching skills built over a long career.

Having started volunteering in July 2009, Gail has since donated more than 3,000 hours of her time to field teaching sessions and inspiring families about wildlife at the reserve.

Alongside staff and other volunteers she uncovers the magic of nature through a variety of hands-on activities, including sensory walks, mini-beast hunting and pond dipping, and is 'incredibly' supportive of her colleagues.

'Gail, on average, provides 15 to 20 hours per week,' said nominator, RSPB Cymru Volunteer Development Officer Emma Roberts. 'She is fully committed to the RSPB and its mission, demonstrating the benefits of the natural environment to local schools and local families.

'She thoroughly enjoys her time supporting the RSPB in this manner and her enthusiasm is both inspiring and infectious for other staff and volunteers who work alongside her,' Emma added.

'Gail uses her passion and enthusiasm to educate and inspire our next generation, and always goes above and beyond what is required of her.  She requires limited management and has an instinct for inspiring people, no matter what their age.'


Green category - Paul Parsons, Pontypridd

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Paul Parsons has overcome barriers to develop into an integral part of a team responsible for seeing more than 1,500 electrical items recycled to people in need in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

As a qualified Portable Appliance Tester with the highly successful charity toogoodtowaste, the 41-year-old from Glyncoch helps ensure that all small electrical goods are processed to a high standard, safe, fully-functional and fit for resale back to the community.

Toogoodtowaste reduces waste to landfill by offering a free collection service and redistributing, once quality controlled and cleaned, each item via two charity shops.  The income raised both supports low income households and provides training and volunteering opportunities.

Paul is one of the organisation's 'core' volunteers who support the electrical department team, and takes 'responsibility, pride and care to ensure only safe items are offered for resale', said nominator Jennifer Evans, Volunteer Co -ordinator with toogoodtowaste.

'Like many young people who have little family support, Paul's background involved a life of crime, drink and drugs, with an addedmental health condition,' she added.

'He has developed skills through volunteering that have had a positive effect on overcoming many of the barriers he faces on a daily basis, and now sees his role in life to give back something to the community and encourage others to see the benefits that volunteering can offer and change their lives for the better.

'Paul's confidence and self-esteem have grown significantly, and we feel he truly is an inspiration to others as he gladly shares his experiences for the benefit of other potential volunteers who - like him - are striving to overcomebarriers faced through a medical condition.'

 

Green category - Paul Roberts, Bangor

Despite having a full-time job, Paul Roberts still gives up two days a week to work on a communal allotment project helping people struggling to buy food and those in recovery.

The horticultural therapist with children with autism has volunteered with theAngleseyand Gwynedd Recovery Organisation (AGRO) since it was established in 2010, working on two allotment projects in Holyhead andBangor.

'He has transformed a bare piece of land that was donated to the organisation into an all year round flourishing communal allotment,' said nominator Aeronwy Williams AGRO Administrator.

'He did the designing of the project, helped coordinate the build and structuring and then - with AGRO members and volunteers - developed the land so that it produces an array of seasonal vegetables, fruit and herbs.'

The organic produce is used for 'cook and eat' activities in weekly AGRO support groups which teach members cooking skills, and to make pickles, chutneys, cakes and soups which are then sold at local fairs and events to raise more money for AGRO.

'The project also helps the recovery community to come together with a common goal and stops isolation,' Aeronwy added.  'It teaches members valuable skills in growing their own organic produce and has helped people who are struggling to buy food.  When there is produce left over, it has been donated to food banks.'

She said Paul deserved his award because even though he had a job, family and his own allotment, he still volunteered every week.

'He is a kind, friendly and caring person who is genuinely volunteering out of the goodness of his heart.  He treats all members in recovery non-judgmentally, with respect and encourages people on their journey.'

 

Trustee category - Kathy Talbot, Tenby

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Kathy Talbot has been credited with bringing one of Tenby's top tourist attractions into the 21st century.

Kathy, 61, recently stepped down as Honorary Curator of the town's Museum and Art Gallery, a role with responsibility for the effective management of the building.  But she remains as a Trustee and continues to be actively involved in finding sustainable funding to help ensure the museum's future.

One of only two wet weather attractions in the town with more than 16,000 visitors a year and open year-round, the museum is also a cultural and educational resource for local people and of economic benefit to the local business community.

'Kathy took over the role of Curator at a time of falling attendances and uncertainty concerning future funding from the local authority,' said her nominator, fellow trustee Neil Westerman.

'She quickly identified the urgent need to modernise the museum's displays and increase visitor numbers.  Working with paid staff and volunteers, Kathy brought the museum into the 21st century.'

As well as introducing new features including interactive displays, Kathy identified the need to make the museum more attractive to families by admitting children free, as well as improving the museum's educational services to the local authority.

A 'conservative' estimate is that Kathy has given more than 30 hours a week to the museum for no financial reward.  She is also more than willing to get her hands dirty with DIY work, and during the Christmas holidays last year could be found in the museum, painting the art gallery.

'Kathy Talbot is a committed, enthusiastic and dedicated team leader,' Neil Westerman added.  'Through her leadership skills, the museum and art gallery has been transformed.  By working to ensure the long-term sustainability of the museum, Kathy has also helped ensure it will survive and prosper for many years to come.'

 

Trustee category - Margaret Thomas, Betws y Coed

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The dramatic beauty of the Snowdonia National Park is being preserved and enhanced through the work of 'one in a million' volunteer Margaret Thomas.

Having spent much of her professional life working in and for national parks, Margaret has even devoted her retirement to the protection of Snowdonia by becoming a trustee of the Cymdeithas Eryri Snowdonia Society.

A long time champion of the Society's flagship property, the famous 'Ugly House' - Ty Hyll near Betws y Coed - Margaret has over many years been central to developments which followed the Society rescuing the property from near dereliction. 

She is a key supporter and participant of the society's Ecosystem Snowdonia Project whose volunteers go out in all weathers to clear litter from Snowdon, maintain footpaths and other high visitor-pressure sites, clear invasive species and carry out habitat management work to benefit wildlife. 

She was 'instrumental and tireless' during the complex refurbishment of the 'iconic' listed building, which included the opening of a tearoom and honeybee education facility, installation of eco-features such as compost toilets and green roofs, and the enhancement of the magnificent wildlife garden for pollinators.

'It is exhausting just to think of all the energy Margaret puts into organising and supporting the volunteers every single week,' said nominator, Snowdonia Society Director John Harold.

'She is utterly reliable, conscientious and dedicated to this role, attending every meeting and being an ambassador for the society at all kinds of events, from marshalling for the Snowdonia Marathon to judging the Snowdonia wildlife gardening competition, giving talks, and much more besides.

'Margaret is a one-in-a-million trustee who makes things happen, for whom nothing is ever too much trouble, and who gets things done in her own quiet and modest way.

'She is hard working, selfless, committed, and modest - a grafter who likes to get her hands dirty and for whom no task is too big or too small.'