21 Jul 2017

On Thursday 13 July, the Active inclusion Fund team at WCVA put on their party hats and hosted an evening of festivities, celebrations and inspirational stories – and what a night it was!

The event took place in Cardiff's Hen Lyfrgell building (Old Libray) with the aim of celebrating the achievements and successes of the fund and also to look forward to its continued future of making grants to organisations that truly make a difference to people's lives.

Julie Morgan AM

Amongst the speakers for the evening was Julie Morgan AM and Chair of the Programme Monitoring Committee. Julie's speech centred around Wales' fortunate position in receiving European Social Funds which help build cohesive and inclusive communities that give people a stake in their future through their own actions. She iterated the importance of celebrating the partnership of projects, organisations and stakeholders working together in supporting individuals across Wales through operations such as the Active Inclusion Fund and SOVA's Achieving Change through Employment project.

We were also fortunate enough to be accompanied on the evening by a range of guests who had benefitted from support through Active Inclusion Funded projects. Whilst the evening was an opportunity to celebrate the fund, above all it was an opportunity to recognise the inspirational achievements of participants and their journeys undertaken on these projects.

Tom Jones OBE, Vice President of WCVA, had the honour of hosting our every own award ceremony for the 'Most Inspirational Participant' award. In the run up to the event, all Active Inclusion projects were asked to put forward nominations of who they thought was the most inspiring participant that they had engaged with. Each and every nomination received was inspirational in its own right; be it a step into volunteering or gaining full time employment, their journeys were all worthy of recognition.

There was one journey, however, that stood out…

Leon and the Wallich's Skills 2 Pay the Bills project

Originally, Leon, 32 had not wanted to engage with the project. He felt his first priority was to get off the streets. He was homeless. There were elements of the course intrigued him though - he wanted to take part in a first aid course and share his experiences with others of saving lives.
He eventually took part and his experience on the course made him eager to engage with the project further. It incited something in him - he wanted to be active, create a positive routine and be a positive influence on others. He started to show a real commitment and attended each employability skill workshop, and over time showed punctuality.

After gaining industry standard qualifications including his Construction Skills Certification Scheme card, he was given a place at a local hostel. As soon as he gained this accommodation, he discussed that he wanted to stay off the streets, and now felt ready for the next step in his journey - employment.

He started volunteering at the Wales Millennium Centre, ushering and stage building and even took part in a theatre show, sharing his life experiences with the audience. This gave him the confidence he needed to take another step in his journey.

It was whilst at a project event that he met his employer, ISG Construction. He is still sustaining his employment as a labourer, and recently won an award from his employer for helping a blind woman across the road. ISG Construction are extremely happy with Leon's progress, dedication and compassion and have even nominated him as a mentor to support new starters with their transition into employment.

Congratulations Leon, you are a true inspiration to us all!

 Leon and Julie Morgan AM

 

The evening was a great success and the Active Inclusion Fund team would like to thank everyone that came and extend a BIG congratulations to each and every individual engaged with the Active Inclusion Fund.

You can view photos of the evening here.

 

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