You can find details of the inspirational winners of the 2019 awards below organised by category. Winners were presented with their awards at a heart-warming and glamorous ceremony in the National Museum Cardiff.

Change makers award

Diabetes UK

Winners: Diabetes UK Cymru

Diabetes UK Cymru won the Change makers award for its energetic campaigning, which has led to a step-change, here in Wales, for children and young people with Type 1 diabetes.

In 2017, they formed the successful Care in Schools Alliance with several other charities and organisations, which proved a powerful and successful campaigning group on behalf of children with medical conditions to get the support they need in school, giving them a level playing field to their peers.

The Alliance successfully lobbied AMs to push for an amendment to the Additional Learning Needs Bill, introduced by Darren Millar AM, which included medical conditions alongside Special Educational Needs and Learning Disabilities. 

In tandem, the charity launched the 'Know Type 1' campaign, with the Baldwin family from Cardiff. Their son, Peter, passed away aged 13 from undiagnosed Type 1 diabetes. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes, to diagnose children sooner and safely.

Diabetes UK Cymru and the Children and Young People's Diabetes Network supported the family as they submitted a petition to the Welsh Assembly's Petitions Committee, including at meetings with Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething AM.

In July 2018 the Petitions Committee published a report making 10 recommendations to increase early diagnosis. Several have since been implemented, including each health board agreeing to adopt a new diagnosis pathway.

'Know Type 1' has been enormously impactful, with a BBC Wales video featuring Beth Baldwin seen by more than 1 million people. Information packs were sent to over 1,400 schools, 400 GPs surgeries and all Welsh AMs and MPs, with print and online media activity seen by more than 100,000 people across Wales.

Sally Taylor-Goodwin, Communications Manager: 'We are delighted that Diabetes UK Cymru has won the Change makers award. We know that our work is making a difference to children and families across Wales living with Type 1 diabetes. 

'Know Type 1' has had a direct impact on people's awareness of the symptoms, with two mums approaching us after seeing a news item about the petition to directly credit the Baldwin family and the campaign for their children's safe diagnosis. Our campaign is ongoing and we are honoured to work with the Baldwin family to help create a legacy for their son, Peter; the work does not stop here.'

Finalists:

Fair Treatment for the Women of Wales

The Homeless World Cup


Outstanding Trustees award

Neuro Therapy winners image

Winners: Neuro Therapy Centre 

The Neuro Therapy Centre provides practical support and therapies in north Wales to help manage the symptoms of a wide range of long-term degenerative neurological conditions including MS, Parkinson's, MND and ME. 

In 2018, the Neuro Therapy Centre successfully achieved the Trusted Charity Mark award (previously named the PQASSO kitemark), which is a level of good practice in governance, service delivery and monitoring outcomes for the voluntary sector. The Board of Trustees have been nominated for playing a crucial role in driving the Centre's staff to achieve this important standard, which has put the charity on a positive footing for the future. 

A number of the Trustees are users of the charity's services, and have themselves invested a great deal of time and effort to help gather the evidence and measures needed to secure a successful external assessment. 

The Board committed to a systemic review of both structural and organisational procedures, supporting staff to build, refine and improve on systems that had been relied upon, unchanged, for a number of years. For example, Trustees embedded a new management structure at the Centre, and introduced a Trustee 'buddy' system for managers in order for them to discuss problems, issues and ideas as required. Today, each manager produces and presents regular quarterly reports to the Board in line with the operational plan. 

Trustees clearly played an integral role in ensuring specific milestones were met, motivating staff to maintain momentum in securing the sector standard Trusted Charity Mark award (the PQASSO kitemark). 

Lorraine Dodd, Chair of Trustees: 'I'm over the moon to see that, as a Board of Trustees, we have won this award for our 'exceptional leadership'. I'm proud that we pushed ourselves to help staff gain the Trusted Charity Mark award, because it ultimately means that the Centre's services will be more effective and lead to better quality services for people with neurological conditions.'

Finalists:

Antur Waunfawr

Llanharan Community Development Project


Best use of Welsh language

Outdoor Partnership

Winner: The Outdoor Partnership

The Outdoor Partnership has been operating as a charity for the past 14 years, working with the people of Wales to take up outdoor activities as a life-long pursuit, including, sailing, cycling, rowing, windsurfing, kayaking, power boating, paddle boarding and rock climbing. It has received two nominations this year: one for its community engagement and the other for its exemplary use of the Welsh Language.

Its first nomination relates to its work in addressing the imbalance in the participation of women and girls and people with pan-disabilities in outdoor pursuits. Its work has led to improved club membership among these groups, with numbers of disabled members increasing from 4% to 9% - which is higher than the national average across all sports - and female membership up 41% to 46% in the last 12 months.

In 2005, only 15 clubs were operating, but thanks to the charity and its training of 4,500 volunteers, there are now over 100 outdoor activity clubs in place, offering introductory and low-cost sessions. These clubs are then supported and enabled to accommodate, integrate and motivate members from under-represented groups and to offer coach education.

It has also established the very first annual ALN Schools Outdoor Activity Festival, where ALN schools from across north Wales attend the week-long festival with the opportunity to try out climbing, cycling and rowing.

The charity has also done much to increase the opportunities available for Welsh speakers to participate, develop or work in the outdoor sector, using Welsh as its everyday communication method, with the aim of making it the norm. English has been seen as the everyday language of Outdoor Activities and this has alienated a large proportion of the North Wales population, who have traditionally seen outdoor activities as something English tourists do.

The charity has worked extensively with the Mentrau Iaith to develop welsh language resources, such as a dictionary of Welsh Outdoor terminology and the translation of qualification handbooks. Its Welsh Language Scheme has been endorsed by the Welsh Language Commissioner.

The success of the project in north Wales is now being emulated across Wales over the next five years.

Tracey Evans, Chief Executive: 'We were delighted to have been nominated twice this year - it's a wonderful opportunity to raise the profile of the charity. All staff, trustees and volunteers are committed to our work - we are passionate about outdoor pursuits and want everyone to get involved and in their mother tongue. The benefits are incredible, for the individual, the community and Wales. Diolch yn fawr iawn.'

Finalists:

Clwb Gemau Fideo Menter Caerffili

Ffederasiwn Cenedlaethol Sefydliad y Merched

 

 

Community Engagement Award


Mals marauders

Winners: Mal's Marauders

Mal's Marauders Men's Health was set up as a charity to enable men - many of whom are 45 years and above - to talk about their mental health, through walking and talking in nature. The group was first formed in 2017 by Mal Emerson, who was involved in an industrial accident in 1997, which resulted in permanent leg injuries and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

A simple Facebook post has since evolved into a young and vibrant charity that has the powerful means of bringing men together. But it is much more than a walking group. Members of the group have stated their overall health and fitness have improved, and for some their loneliness and depression have been radically reduced.

In addition to an informative website, the charity has set up a WhatsApp group that provides invaluable peer support to any man who feels down or troubled. There are no therapists or medication - simply men helping men. In fact, five men have told Trustees that the WhatsApp group alone has directly prevented their planned suicide.

Most recently, the Marauders have kick-started a ground-breaking and potentially life-saving partnership with The Bulldogs, Samaritans and Neath Port Talbot College to deliver Mental Health First Aid to 300 sports' clubs in total. It is thought that this will positively impact on the lives of thousands of men and provide each club with a qualified person for club members to talk about their mental health.

Graham Davies, Chair: 'In just two years, we have been able to demonstrate the simple power of physical exercise in nature. These practical interventions - using the latest technology - have transformed the mental health of our members and has saved lives.  We're immensely proud and honoured to have won this award for our work in engaging with our community.'

Finalists:

Sight Life

The Outdoor Partnership


 

Thriving charity award

ACE

Winners: ACE (Action in Caerau and Ely)

ACE has been nominated for two awards this year: thriving charity and organisation of the year. It has been quite a year, where the charity has transformed its fortunes in just 18 months.  

In March 2018, ACE lost most of its core funding from Welsh Government's Communities First Programme. This led to significant anxiety among Cardiff West staff, volunteers, participants, beneficiaries and the wider community but through hard work and collaborative effort, ACE has secured an exciting future through diversifying income sources to include social enterprise and contract delivery. 

Its new strategic plan has created new enterprise, trading and asset development activities to create an income to support core services, including several health board contracts delivering vital community health services.  Its new work has also led to new local employment opportunities, meaning the team has grown from 18 to 31 staff, and has, during this time, secured over £2.5 million investment in one of Wales' most disadvantaged communities.  

Other projects of note are Wales' first 'Your Local Pantry' project, tackling food poverty through community participation and membership and the CAER Hidden Hillfort project - a ground-breaking heritage regeneration project that will transform a neglected heritage asset into a visitors' and research centre. 

Much of this work is described by beneficiaries as 'life-saving'. One beneficiary said: 'My wife wouldn't go out. I was like a carer...She now runs the Dusty community shop [..] my life has completely changed [..] I got my relationship back with my wife!' 

ACE is an organisation that very much reflects the importance of relationships, kindness and trust, and is why people and organisations, like First Minister Mark Drakeford, are keen to work with them. 

John Hallett, Director  'We're absolutely delighted to be nominated two times this year at the WCVA Awards, and to win the Thriving charity award. ACE is a wonderful charity that makes such a big difference to the lives of so many people in Ely and Caerau. I'm thrilled staff and volunteers are getting the recognition they deserve.' 

Finalists:

CYCA (Carmarthenshire Youth and Children's Association)

Cynon Valley Museum Trust (CVMT)


 

Volunteer of the Year

Momena Ali winners image

Winner: Momena Ali, EYST Wales

For the past 15 years, Momena Ali has been the heart and soul of EYST Wales. She founded EYST in 2005, Chairperson for the past six years and President in 2019. Her passion, energy and dedication has helped thousands of young ethnic minorities reach their full potential, helping them overcome various challenges, including accessing higher education and protecting young people from forced marriage, extremism and exploitation. 

Momena has volunteered thousands of hours of her time, guiding and steering the staff and board of trustees to grow and develop into the thriving organisation that it is today: including a staff of 40, hundreds of volunteers, and an expanding service in Cardiff, Newport, Wrexham as well as Swansea. 

As a young Bangladeshi-born Muslim female working within Swansea Council's Education Team, Momena drew on her personal experience to establish a pilot project for BME young males. Shortly thereafter, EYST was set up as an independent organisation and Momena devoted herself to supporting it as a very hands-on volunteer and chairperson. 

From cleaning toilets in EYST's first youth drop-in centre, to organising events, Momena has always worked selflessly, seeking no reward or recognition. She has ensured that the organisation's founding values are reflected in all its work, taking the time to make each new member of staff and volunteer feel part of the EYST Family. 

Momena Ali:  'Thank you very much for the kind award - it was very unexpected. EYST is a wonderful organisation, and I'm so proud to be part of its family. We all have a responsibility to our community and I would like to think that I've made a difference to the lives of thousands of vulnerable people across the whole of Wales. Volunteering is so rewarding and I can honestly say that it has been my pleasure.'

Finalists:

Elizabeth 'Buffy' Williams, Canolfan Pentre CIO

Katie Clark, British Heart Foundation

 

 

Young Volunteer of the Year

Laura Moulding winners

Winner: Laura Ann Moulding, Time to Change Wales

Laura first volunteered for the mental health campaign Time to Change Wales in 2016, training as a community champion to deliver anti-stigma events. This means that she attends conferences and policy briefings and talks openly about her mental health journey. 

Laura has become a true ambassador for the Time to Change Wales programme, and has regularly appeared on radio and high-profile events to challenge mental health stigma, here in Wales. 

Time to Change Wales' Programme Manager Lowri, who nominated Laura, says:'We knew immediately that we were on to something special, as she has a natural ability to capture your attention. The positive feedback we get from employers and event organisers about Laura's contribution is testament to this. Sharing her story has inspired others to get the help they need.' 

Laura's can-do approach and passion for learning is evident in her role volunteering for Time to Change Wales. Her confidence has soared in this role, and she has gained valuable skills in both event management and customer service.  

Laura embodies the core values of the Programme's ethos, and the team is the richer for having her on board.    

Laura Moulding: 'I'm very excited and surprised to have been nominated for this award. When you share your own mental health story with others, you always hope that your words would encourage others to get the support they need.

'I started volunteering for Time to Change Wales just over three years ago because I didn't want anyone else to go through the battle, silence and mental health stigma and discrimination like I did. Volunteering has helped me with finding my voice, and to do things that I never thought was possible.

'Despite my negative experiences with mental illness, I am proud to have turned it into a positive by using my story to help others.'

Finalists:

Catrin Davies, BAYouth

Bethany Burrell, North Wales Wildlife Trust


 

Volunteer Team of the Year

Central Beacons winner image

Winners: Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team (CBMRT) 

Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team (CBMRT) operates a 999, 24-hour service in the Brecon Beacons National Park, 365 days of the year. This includes Pen-Y-Fan (the highest point in southern Britain), the waterfalls of Ystradfellte, as well as the urban areas of Cardiff, Merthyr Tydfil, Caerphilly and Newport.

Without CBMRT, there would be a serious risk to life. CBMRT is one of the busiest mountain rescue teams in the UK, responding to 124 callouts last year alone.  In addition to the more traditional mountain incidents, they also provide a community-based resource in rural and urban areas. This includes taking on a leading role in the search of vulnerable people, including older people, children and young people, who have wandered away from safe environments.

They also support the local community in times of extreme weather, transporting district medical staff to home visits; helping ambulance paramedics reach casualties who otherwise couldn't be reached; animal rescue; light and major plane crashes and police investigations - virtually any incident where a highly trained team can be of assistance.

In November 2017, CBMRT suffered a devastating fire at their rescue base destroying vital equipment, requiring the team to pull together. Utilising each member's strength, the team formed specialist working groups, each producing plans for how CBMRT could rebuild itself. Nearly two years later, CBMRT members continue to work together as one unit to help those in need and working to rebuild what the fire destroyed. To date they have replaced all equipment, including three rescue vehicles.

Penny Brockman, Team Leader: 'I'm incredibly proud of the team for winning this prestigious WCVA Award, because they have worked above and beyond in recent years to rebuild the service, and replace vital equipment, including three rescue vehicles. Their contribution to society cannot be under-estimated.'

Finalists:

Community Furniture Aid

Hear to Help Powys

 

Organisation of the Year

 

Blood Bikes

Winners: Blood Bikes Wales

Blood Bikes Wales is a charity based in Wales that provides a free courier service to the NHS, delivering blood supplies, plasma, human breast milk, documents and other items across the whole country. The service is free of charge and operates each day, including bank holidays and even Christmas Day. 

What is perhaps most remarkable about Blood Bikes Wales is that the charity is an entirely voluntary organisation, with no paid staff, yet in September 2019, the charity surpassed 14,000 jobs, averaging some 300 jobs per month. Last year its fleet of 24 bikes covered 274,902 miles and its membership grew to nearly 480 volunteers. 

The charity has in place service agreements with South Wales Air Ambulance and a similar agreement with North Wales Air Ambulance, specifically to replenish blood supplies. 

This year, it became evident that their service was desperately needed in Powys, with the area having only ever previously had an ad hoc service or couriers from England. In early 2019, Powys members were trained as controllers and riders, and the service was officially launched in September 2019. 

Another innovative development for the charity, this year, has been a bespoke Enterprise Resource Planning System, permitting controllers to book riders at the start of their shift, recording vehicle details etc. and the ability to track jobs from start to finish. This data hub professionalises further the service, allowing volunteers to serve the charity wherever they have a phone signal.   

The accomplishments of the charity over the last 12 months have been considerable and the assistance provided to NHS Wales incalculable. 

Nigel Ward, Chair 'We have taken great steps this year to further professionalise the vital service we provide to NHS Wales, tracking jobs from start to finish, and extending our service into Powys.

'Our volunteers are incredible and I know NHS Staff across the country value their contribution enormously. This nomination will raise the profile of the charity and inspire us to become even bigger and better in 2020.'

Finalists:

ACE (Action in Caerau and Ely)

Mudiad Meithrin

Music in Hospitals & Care

Stephens and George Charitable Trust

St John Cymru - Wales