The work of Wales’s most admired and effective charities, voluntary and community organisations voluntary organisations has been recognised at the annual awards run by WCVA.
WCVA Chief Executive Ruth Marks said: 'I am very pleased to be
part of a community of people and organisations that show such
excellence and committment to working for others and improving the
life of the people of Wales.
'All the nominated organisations make us proud of our third
sector in Wales. I am really grateful for the continued
support from Class Networks. This year we have a new category
to reward organisations that promote digital skills and digital
inclusion. We are very pleased to welcome Digital Communities Wales
as supporters of this new category.'
Jonathan Levy, Chief Operating Officer with Class Networks said:
'Class Networks is very proud to be supporting the Third Sector
Awards Cymru for the ninth consecutive year. Each year, we're
inspired by the work of all the nominated organisations. This
year was no exception.
I'm particularly pleased to see the inclusion of an award
for digital inclusion. From our own experience within the voluntary
sector, charities need support as they start to appreciate the
benefits to be gained, and as a member of the judging panel, I was
delighted to see so many excellent entries during this first
Matthew Lloyd, Senior Coordinator for Digital Communities Wales
and judge for the Digital Inclusion Award, said: 'Digital
Communities Wales are delighted to support the new Digital
Inclusion Award this year. We received over 25 excellent
entries from across Wales with an impressive variety of digital
inclusion engagement projects. The judges found it impossible
to split the winners, with both RNIB Cymru's Online Today project
and CAIS's Change Step project both making a huge impact within
people's homes and communities across the country.
'Both projects stood out in terms of their reach, sustainability
and innovative delivery models, while Aneurin Bevan Leisure Trust
are to be commended for their very popular digital inclusion
services delivered across Blaenau Gwent. We would like to
thank and congratulate all entrants that are helping to make a
positive difference to the lives of people in Wales through their
digital inclusion work and encourage anyone inspired by their
efforts to get in touch with Digital Communities Wales.'
The winners and shortlisted groups in each category were:
The Class award for best
communications - for groups with effective or innovative ways of
communicating their message to service users and
WINNER - University of South Wales Students'
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
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 consistent branding.
The Trustee Board decided to fund
two graduate internships to increase engagement with members and
help make the union an integral part of their university experience
Rebranding reception areas as
information points and employing students as information team
members immediately resulted in an increase in face-to-face queries
A revamp of the website and
targeted use of social media led to 1,500 extra likes on Facebook,
with the average reach of a post tripling from 1,200 to 3,600
Videos were found to be the most
effective engagement mechanism, with one promoting the University's
World Mental Health Day campaign reaching over 24,000 people.
'This has transformed our
campaigning capacity, provided us with a secure evidence base for
our campaigning outcomes and enabled us to negotiate more
effectively on behalf of our membership,' said Chief Executive
Officer Sian Taylor.
The number of votes cast in the
annual student officer elections increased by 99% from the previous
year - the biggest rise in engagement in the sector in Wales.
RUNNER-UP - NewLink Wales
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 talking
NewLink asked people to
dress up as superheroes and donate £1, the key message being that
since most people could not even give up chocolate, we should
acknowledge what it takes to give up harder substances.
Backed up with an
extensive social media campaign and a Thunderclap, Heroine Day
reached over 107,000 people on social media and hundreds through
direct contact, with pub collection buckets helping raise over
£10,000 in donations and services in kind.
'The benefits of the
campaign have been far reaching for us,' said NewLink Wales Chief
Executive Officer Lindsay Cordery-Bruce. 'From this
campaign, our service users have been able to talk about their
recovery journey with pride instead of shame. They have
redefined themselves as heroes, holding their heads up high and
saying "look what I did"!'
RUNNER-UP - YMCA Swansea
Harnessing the power of Twitter
has 'revolutionised' the way YMCA Swansea interacts with and
supplies business information to both internal and external
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 strategic individuals'.
Chief Executive Officer
Anne-Marie Rogan said: 'Twitter has enabled us to demonstrate the
depth and breadth of our day-to-day work in real-time. It offers a
transparent portal into our organisation, inviting dialogue and
opportunity, of which we get plenty!'
Twitter provided a line of
communication from the workers offsite at events and meetings to
workers in the YMCA supporting and mentoring young people, service
users and members. It also attracted new service users.
Twitter had helped YMCA to
recruit new board members, volunteers, staff and supporters; to get
regular donations for its charity shop; to build relationships with
local celebrities; and to communicate with AMs on policy and
'Our policy for Twitter has
enabled us to deliver regular, relevant and targeted
communications,' said Anne-Marie Rogan. 'This extremely
powerful, free marketing tool has revolutionised the way we
interact and supplies business intelligence to both internal and
'We are thrilled to receive this
recognition for our commitment to creating innovative
communications. We truly believe that providing a valuable service
to our members starts with creating consistent, reliable and
engaging communications that aid our students to enrich every
aspect of their student life.'
The environmental award
for organisations that have helped deliver environmental benefits
for their communities.
WINNER - 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
It has the largest Welsh
Government Glastir Woodland management programme in Wales and its
habitats host otters, water voles, Kingfishers and a host of flora
and fauna. A newly-created wildflower meadow with ponds
supports hundreds of plants, dragonflies, reptiles and amphibian
Most recently, the Trust
has created a number of conservation areas where the public are
excluded. These include lakeside habitat, woodland and a wild-
flower meadow. The results of this action have been very
encouraging with an immediate increase in survival rates amongst
young water fowl and an increase in dragonfly species.
A hydro-electric turbine
provides the coffee shop with electricity, with excess to export,
and this element of renewable energy is promoted to groups and
schools to demonstrate the local and global impacts of such
As part of the Penderry
Providers' Planning Forum, the Trust integrates into neighbouring
community regeneration issues, working with groups to provide a
wide range of activities and events engaging socially excluded
people in some of the most deprived wards in Swansea.
'We have volunteers from
many walks of life and with a wide variety of health and mental
health issues,' said General Manager Lee Turner. 'Anecdotally,
several volunteers proclaim the project has saved their lives
through combating isolation and exclusion.'
Director of Operations Ray Butt said: 'The Trust is absolutely
delighted to be considered for this prestigious award. The Trust
has built its development over the last 15 years on the three
pillars of community involvement, historical conservation and
interpretation and most importantly the conservation of the wild
life at Penllergare valley wood.
'This unique mosaic of habitats was left undisturbed for almost
60 years and was under threat of development for housing. The
Trust managed to stop this development by taking over
responsibility for the site and it's now the Trust's aim to protect
and enhance nature's work.
'Winning this award would be a reward for the hundred or so
volunteers and trustees who have worked tirelessly in all weathers
to protect this site from developers and give them the
encouragement to keep up their excellent efforts.'
RUNNER-UP - Canton & Riverside Grows
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 community.
Having adopted four
neglected green spaces in the deprived areas of Riverside and
Canton and developed turned them into wildlife havens, the group
has delivered workshops to residents in growing and harvesting
fruit and vegetables from gardens.
Volunteers carried out a
'clean-up, green-up campaign', clearing the streets of almost two
tonnes of rubbish, installed planters in front gardens and
on-street locations and delivered education workshops in a local
school, with 320 children planting almost 5,000 bulbs.
Work was carried out with
a range of organisations including the probation service and
Communities First, and Canton & Riverside Grows Wild has
developed a toolkit with Cardiff City Council with the aim of
supporting other groups across the city wanting to carry out the
'In this highly urbanised
environment, we have turned grey to green, creating a one-mile long
wildlife corridor in the heart of Cardiff and restoring pride and
ownership in our communities,' said Volunteer Coordinator David
have achieved is far and away beyond what any of us could have
expected - 500 bulbs became 12,000 bulbs, and the past year saw
over 700 participants.
'We have engaged with
hundreds of people from all backgrounds - from schools, local
groups, migrants and children from deprived backgrounds who would
not otherwise have the opportunity to have access to vibrant green
spaces, meadows and fruit bushes.'
RUNNER-UP - 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
'The project has exposed people to environmental awareness and
encouraged environmentally friendly living,' said NewLink Wales
Chief Executive Officer Lindsay Cordery-Bruce.
'Bee keeping offers people a real
world setting to practise the recovery skills they learn in
treatment settings and counselling. It's not just a hobby,
it's being used as a therapeutic intervention too.'
There are now plans to turn the initiative into a social
enterprise, with NewLink having recently secured funding to create
a green roof garden and apiary.
'We're also starting working with UK-wide project Urban Buzz to
support all pollinating insects, and Cardiff City Council has
allocated some green space for us in Maitland Park at the back of
our building,' Lindsay added. 'All thriving together!'
The health, social care and wellbeing award for groups
that have helped people to be happier and healthier in their
WINNER - 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
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 screened.
Members have worked with
Breast Cancer Care to produce an accessible booklet explaining how
to be breast aware, and with Macmillan Cancer Care to train women
with a learning disability as Community Screening Champions.
They have also given
training on learning disability awareness to medical, nursing,
social work and psychology students, staff at GP surgeries, carers
'Most of our trustees are
people with a learning disability, we have three project officers
who have a learning disability, our paid trainers have a learning
disability, and we also have volunteer trainers with a learning
disability,' said Chair Simon Richards.
'We would be beyond honoured to win this award. As a
self-advocacy organisation, we help our members to make their own
choices about what they want to do and where they go.
'We are proud to say we have seven paid members of staff who
have a learning disability, including our Standing Up Speaking Out,
Pink Ladies and Community Voices project officers. At Cardiff
People First, we help to change people's opinions, attitudes and
lives for the better.'
RUNNER-UP - Volunteering Matters
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 Volunteering Matters 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
The Big Lottery-funded project is
helping raise the awareness of young people in Torfaen, Caerphilly,
Monmouthshire, Newport and Blaenau Gwent aiming to increase their
protection against potential exploitation.
All activities are delivered by
young people themselves, based on the needs of their own local
communities. They work together in hubs to build workshops
and deliver them in schools, colleges, youth clubs and other
'They are trained and supported
to take ownership of workshops and are being encouraged to continue
to deliver sessions into the longer term,' said Sex Matters Too
Project Coordinator Cara Battrick.
RUNNER-UP - 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
The support helps them works
through issues, develop alternative coping strategies, build
self-confidence and esteem and develop friendships.
'Self-harm is a growing problem
with the project seeing an increase in referrals year on year in
young people presenting with suicidal tendencies,' said Corporate
Partnerships and Legacy Officer Becky Forder.
About 40 young people a week are
helped by the project and a team that is 'passionate about the
young people and helping them overcome the complex issues and
struggles that hold them back from reaching their full potential in
'The Amber project allows the
young people to be able to express themselves in a safe and
friendly group setting, as well as having time and space to explore
and process issues on an individual basis.'
governance award for groups whose trustees ensure their
organisation is well run and exemplar.
WINNER - YMCA Swansea
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 need.
Good governance is exemplified in
the Board's commitment and work ethic - they hold away days and
planning days to develop strategy and business plans and have
sub-groups for finance, HR and project development.
'Lively, inquisitive and informed
questioning and debate at Board level strikes the right balance of
scrutiny, support and information,' said Chief Executive Officer
'They have and continue to be a
wonderful group of people who truly care, which is maintained as
membership changes as it is embedded in the culture of the
organisation, strong board, good governance, strong leadership,
The trustees have worked hard to
achieve a high level of expertise within a wide range of fields
relevant to the mission, vision and high standards of leadership
and provision set by the charity.
Anne-Marie Rogan added: 'We are delighted to be shortlisted in
two categories of the Third Sector Awards.
'We are a thriving social enterprise, doing good business,
whilst providing key services for some of the most vulnerable
people across Wales. First class communications and solid
governance are key ingredients to our success, helping us make a
real and tangible impact on the lives of young people and the wider
community. I am very proud to work with such a professional
and talented team.'
RUNNER-UP - 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. A
range of professionals with a passion for education, business and
the community, they have knowledge across a broad spectrum of key
areas, which is 'a profound strength' of the growing
The trustees act as ambassadors
for the charity and actively seek to create opportunities to
increase access to stakeholders, share information, seek the views
of clients and act as sources of communication between it and the
community it serves.
Each trustee has experience of
securing accountability for the impact of significant budgets and
is proficient at analysing expenditure and challenging the
management team to ensure that sustainability remains a focus.
They ensure that members of staff
receive effective and productive performance management and that
they have access to high quality training and research
'The Trustees have worked hard to
achieve a high level of expertise within a wide range of fields
relevant to the mission, vision and high standards of leadership
and provision set by the charity,' said Director Heather
'Each trustee has received
training regarding data analysis and is knowledgeable about the
processes and methods used to secure accountability and measure
impact. As such, they are effective in offering a high level
of challenge as well as support through their individual areas of
RUNNER-UP - 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 they meet needs and
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 activities.
'We learn lessons and ensure that
the board of trustees has a range of skills and experience capable
of taking the charity forward,' said Trust Chair Andrew
Hardwick. 'We articulate a vision for the charity and provide
clear caring guidance for our committed staff.'
The award for innovative
fundraising - for organisations who have run campaigns or events
demonstrating creativity and innovation in
WINNER - 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 project.
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, Gillian Clarke.
One of the largest community
energy projects in the UK, the wind farm will meetthe equivalent
annual electricity needs of around 2,500 homes in one of the
country's most deprived communities.
'We have built an £8.2m capital
asset wholly owned by a social enterprise,' said Director Dan
McCallum. 'The turnover of the wind farm is £1.1m a year, and
we have an active body of 700-plus members helping to democratise
energy and who are committed to helping the wind farm succeed and
encourage further projects like this in Wales.
'Being shortlisted for a Third
Sector Cymru award is great recognition for our community wind farm
fundraising effort. Quite simply, without our share offer,
our wind farm would not have been built. It was vital in
enabling us to secure a £4.75m bridging loan from Welsh Government.
Our turbines are now owned by ordinary people with over £3m going
back into environmental projects.
'We are very proud to have raised
£1.68m from the share offer so far which we believe is the highest
ever in Wales. Our share offer is still open till the end of March
at a projected annual interest rate of 5%. Five charities
have invested, alongside member of public, and we'd be keen that
more do so - it's a great fit with charitable objectives and better
than any bank.'
RUNNER-UP - 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 campaigns.
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 2016Cancer Free Futurelegacy
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 during
This campaign saw 590 wills
written in total against a target of 400, with 321 (52%) pledges
worth over £1m in future income. 'The increase in pledges far
exceeded our targets and expectations, as did the estimated £1m in
future income - 10 times that achieved during previous campaigns,'
said Tenovus Cancer Care Director of Income Generation Clare
'It helped to secure the future
of this vital income stream and to safeguard the work of the
charity and we're absolutely delighted to be shortlisted in the
Third Sector Awards.
'Our legacy campaign was a really
important project for the charity, coordinating multiple channels
including our first ever TV advert, and it's fantastic that our
hard work and creativity has been recognised.
'The funds will be vital in
keeping our research programme running, so that we can make a real
difference to people affected by cancer.'
RUNNER-UP - Wales Millennium Centre
Wales Millennium Centre'sRoald Dahl's City of the
Unexpectedweekend 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 media
In order to deliver the Centre's
ambition of 'inspiring our nation and impressing the world' a
strategic fundraising campaign strategy is required. For this
particular event, which focused on widespread participation and
engagement, the Centre's development team organisedBreakfast of the
Unexpected, an 'outrageous experience' which included guests being
escorted through a mist of smoke to tables with mismatched crockery
and props such as whoopee cushions, and enjoying a breakfast of
Norwegian platters in honour of Dahl's family roots, including
edible flowers, mystery appetizers and chocolate.
More than 70 representatives from
the business community attended the breakfast, with over £50,000 of
corporate support received as a result. By the end of the
campaign, the fundraising team generated almost £700,000 towards
the weekend which was a resounding success.
Wales Millennium Centre Head of
Communications Jayne Smith said: 'We were delighted to hear that
we'd been shortlisted for the WCVA Awards Innovative Fundraising
'As a charity working in the arts
sector, it is always important we utilise our creativity to deliver
unique and attractive proposals to inspire and engage our
audience. Our Breakfast of the Unexpected was certainly
unusual and it is wonderful to be recognised by the sector for
injecting our artistic talents into an area of the business which
is so critical to supporting our creative learning
'We are exceptionally excited for
the awards as it is a great opportunity to celebrate the
achievements of the third sector - as well showcase how Wales
Millennium Centre is positively impacting individuals and
communities across Wales.'
The award for digital inclusion supported by Digital
WINNER - RNIB Cymru - Online Today/Arlein
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
Blind.The Online Today project is training a team of eight
full-time employed Digital Skills Officers, supported by 20 trained
volunteers, to help people with sight loss 'begin their digital
journey'. An 'entry level' campaign, it assumes participants
have no prior knowledge of digital technology.
They show how to make best use of in-built accessibility features
and apps specifically designed for use by people with sight loss,
as well as delivering basic IT skills such as navigation, staying
safe, setting up and using e-mail, social media, video calls,
on-line shopping and banking.
In 2016, the project worked extensively with the Stroke
Association to deliver over 20 sessions to groups and clubs, with
many dozens of people who had experienced a stroke becoming
digitally included. A total 60% of people post-stroke
experience sight loss, with a further 20% experiencing hearing
Working jointly with Low Vision Service Wales (LVSW) has enabled
Online Today to support people from the very earliest
identification of sight loss.
Project Manager Chris Hoyle said: ' The RNIB Online Today team
along with our partners North Wales Society for Blind People and
Vision Support, work hard to make sure that blind people, and those
with a severe sight or hearing impairment, understand that
they can enjoy the benefits of the digital world like everyone
'Being shortlisted for this award not only recognises the
skill and dedication of the team, but also sends a strong and clear
message to the wider community that sight or hearing loss are not
the barrier to participating in the digital world of the 21st
century that many think.'
WINNER - Change Step
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
In partnership with Digital Communities Wales, BT and EE, the
Change Step Digital Inclusion project delivers support via
one-to-one veteran-to-veteran interventions and consultations,
group support sessions, video and interactive training tutorials,
self-help work groups and guest speakers from outside agencies.
All staff and a number of
volunteers have become accredited Digital Champions, and the
project has also been successful in gaining Lottery funding and
sponsorship for equipment and further training.
Change Step Fundraising Manager
Linzi Jones said: 'Our team are very proud to have been nominated
for this WCVA award. Initially, our digital drop-ins were set
up to provide greater accessibility to our support services, but
have rapidly expanded into a digital learning hub for our staff and
'A grant from the Big Lottery
Fund and access to equipment from Digital Communities Wales have
enabled us to work as a more cohesive team across Wales - and also
means that service users can get support, no matter which region
they live in.'
RUNNER-UP - 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.
Staff and volunteers have been trained by the Welsh Government's
Digital Communities Wales project, building their confidence and
equipping them with the skills to further develop the digital offer
A wide range of partners are helping the progress of learners,
such as the 'Get Blaenau Gwent On-line' project which delivers
activities in all libraries, including 'safe surfing', beginners'
ipad sessions and saving money online.
Other local support organisations helping people access
information online include Macmillan Cancer, AgeCymru, Community
Education and Gwent Family History Society.
Library Services Manager Tracy Jones said: 'Blaenau Gwent
Libraries are absolutely delighted to be shortlisted for
the WCVA Digital Award. The award would give us a quality
mark, which would be recognised at a national level. It would
also prove we are making a difference to people's lives by
delivering a high standard of digital support to our
Award for the most admired organisation - shortlisted
and winner chosen by public vote
WINNER - Fair Treatment for the Women of
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 Wales.
Iona Roberts joined the group after her daughter was diagnosed
with endometriosis when she was 14 years old. FTWW had
provided the family with the information needed to get a GP
referral to a specialist centre, as a result of which, her daughter
had had surgery and was now well for the first time in six
'This organisation stands out because Debbie and the members are
all volunteers,' Iona Roberts added. 'They fund all their
expenses - their own travel costs including accommodation, and
printing of bilingual posters and leaflets, which are translated by
'I believe FTWW are an amazing support for the girls and women
in Wales -without their support, many women will be having repeated
Debbie Shaffer said: 'This award would make a huge difference to
FTWW in recognition of our continuing efforts to raise awareness of
the various invisible illnesses and disabilities affecting girls
and women across Wales.
'We exist to empower those girls and women, and lobby for
change. The result is a vibrant, supportive and educational
community which is making a massive difference to the lives of
countless people across the country.'
RUNNER-UP - 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'.
The Community Hub it runs provides IT facilities, classes for
adults and children, training courses and Welsh language classes,
and the group recently piloted the first project of its kind in
Wales to encourage integration of generations in an effort to
reduce isolation and ageist attitudes and increase different
generation's respect and value for one another.
'Their positive, can do attitude, drive and passion has resulted
in The Fern Partnership achieving their three-year plan in 18
months', said nominator Wayne Finnemore from Communities for
'They are supporting people in the community to improve their
employability, skills and self-esteem - helping Rhondda Cynon Taf
achieve the highest number in Wales of adults gaining recognised
'They are a highly qualified and experienced group of passionate
individuals who all share the same vision, to break the cycle of
deprivation. Their drive to make a difference is evident in
all they do.'
Fern Partnership Childcare and Community Development Manager
Nikki Beach said the award nomination was recognition of the
staff's hard work, commitment, innovation and dedication.'
RUNNER-UP - Headway Cardiff
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 people with acquired brain
injury and their families - supported by therapists in Rookwood
Hospital - patients discharged from hospital could be left with
little or no ongoing support to cope with and adapt to the
devastating consequences of brain injury.
'They could become very isolated, and Headway brought them
together to gain comfort and acceptance through mutual support,'
said Sian Warren, a neurolaw consultant at Hugh James
Solicitors. 'The holistic, personal and tailored approach
taken to supporting people is inspirational.'
Headway provides an information and outreach service,
Independence and Wellbeing Centre and a welfare benefits and
counselling service offering support to reduce the emotional
impact, stress and anxiety often associated with brain injury.
Headway Chief Executive Rebecca Pearce said: 'We're thrilled to
be among the five most admired organisations in Wales this
year. Despite having grown and offering quite a range of
services, we still think of ourselves as quite a small, service
user led organisation - so to get this kind of recognition is quite
RUNNER-UP - 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 meet the needs of around 2,500 homes in the Swansea
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.
'Staying solvent was a major achievement, and they finally got
planning and common land consent and started construction in March
2016,' said nominator Chris Blake, Director of
The Green Valleys (Wales) CIC and Chair of Community Energy
'The local community voted in favour of the community in 2000 -
the turnout was higher than the general election,' he added.
'Fourteen years later, a PhD was written about the project and the
researcher found that community support had gone up in the
'The main reason I admire Awel Aman Tawe is that they kept going
with the wind farm, have supported many other projects and groups
during this time, and are finally seeing their own dream come
Awel Aman Tawe Manager Dan McCallum said: 'We deserve to win
this award for stubbornness! It's taken 18 years to get our
community wind farm built and it is simply amazing to see the
turbines generating clean power in our community.
'We are also chuffed to see a lot more people walking and
cycling on our wind farm access track on the Gwrhyd. But to
tackle climate change and engage everyone in that challenge, we now
need to move forward quickly in Wales to expand the community
energy sector - exciting times for everyone!'
RUNNER-UP - Soroptimist International Wales
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.
Currently, a major regional project is focussed on 'toilet
twinning' - raising funds to give people in underdeveloped areas of
the world access to proper latrines, clean water and improved
health - now girls can attend school every day instead of missing
time each month due to lack of privacy, no longer have to spend
hours during school time collecting water, and women and girls are
safer from abuse.
'All the work is carried out by volunteers - there are no paid
staff to run the organisation or carry out any of the projects,'
said nominator Angela Gorman, Chief Executive of Life for African
Mothers. 'The variety of work provided is so wide ranging,
and the public benefit so great that it makes this organisation
Regional President Bobbie Sheldrake said Soroptimist
International Wales South was thrilled to be nominated for the Most
Admired Organisation. 'We go about our work quietly, but are
committed to making our voice heard on behalf of women and girls
locally and further afield. We are determined women working
together to make a difference and ensure the world is a better
place - and we have fun.'