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Extraordinary people shortlisted for national awards

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The St David Awards are Wales’ national awards to recognise every day heroes

Police officers who saved a 92-year-old woman from a burning house, an ITV presenter who is a domestic abuse survivor and campaigner, and a former gambler now helping other addicts, are among those shortlisted for a national St David Awards.

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The St David Awards, which will celebrate their ninth year in 2022, recognise the extraordinary achievements of people from across Wales.

This year’s awards will be given to people and companies in nine different categories, recognising Bravery, Community Spirit to Innovation, Science and Technology. The First Minister of Wales will also give his special award.

Announcing the finalists, First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “Some of the people shortlisted have shown extraordinary acts of bravery and determination. Others have shown incredible community spirit despite the pressures of living through the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our finalists are astonishing people and we are very fortunate they call Wales home. I would like to congratulate all those who have been shortlisted and I want to thank everyone who took the time to nominate someone for an award – unfortunately not everyone can make the shortlist.”

The winners will be announced in a ceremony on 7 April 2022

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The finalists are:

Bravery

PC Ian Chattun and Sergeant Katy Evans – Police officers from Dyfed Powys police saved a vulnerable woman from drowning on Aberystwyth seafront

PC Thomas Scourfield and Sergeant Geraint Jenkins – The police officers risked their lives to attempt to save the life of a 92 ­year ­old man who was trapped in a burning building in Port Talbot

Aaron Gray – Prestatyn, Denbighshire – A father saved seven neighbours from a fire just minutes before their house was engulfed in flames. Aaron saw the blaze, after being woken by his three-year-old son at 5am. The former soldier rushed over and roused the two women and five children inside the bungalow in Prestatyn.

Business

A&R cleaning and security services – Bridgend – A business that adapted their services during the pandemic, investing in new technology, allowing them to become the first in Wales to offer a bio-misting services which provides additional biosecurity against Covid.

Awesome Wales CIC – Barry and Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan – Awesome Wales is a social enterprise with zero waste stores that allow customers buy environmentally friendly and ethically produced goods with no unnecessary plastic packaging

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Jordan Lea – Llandudno, Conwy – An inspiring individual, Jordan Lea started a community interest company Deal Me Out in 2020 following debilitating mental health issues surrounding his gambling addiction which he has overcome.

Community Spirit

Carole Anne Dacey – Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan – Since her retirement, Carole has worked full time with some of the most vulnerable people in Wales, including the homeless; people who have been trafficked; and prisoners. She has also trained others (including prisoners) to be able to take on volunteer roles.

Ruth Dodsworth – Cardiff – A well-known TV presenter who suffered abuse and controlling behaviour by her husband for nearly 20 years. She now campaigns against coercive control and helps Wales’ police forces to spot the signs of domestic abuse.

Siop Griffiths – Dyffryn Nantlle, Gwynedd – A community enterprise in Penygroes, Dyffryn Nantlle in Gwynedd that has helped create local solutions to the challenges facing the Nantlle Valley and to give young people opportunities to stay and thrive in their community.

Critical Worker

Dr Eilir Hughes – Nefyn, Gwynedd – A GP that founded the Fresh Air Wales campaign to promote the importance of ventilation, especially in schools, and mask-wearing to reduce the risk of spreading and catching Covid 19.

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Michelle Jones and Catherine Cooper – Head teacher and Assistant Head teacher at Lansdowne Primary School, Cardiff – During the COVID-19 pandemic, Michelle and Catherine provided support and child care provision for children of key workers and vulnerable children, ensuring they were able to attend school, providing families with food and other essentials, and making themselves available 24/7 to offer help and advice to the community.

Respiratory nursing team from Glamorgan Hospital – Llantrisant, Cardiff – The team played an important role when they provided support for families with loved ones in hospital with Covid, as well as the guidance. They also provided reassurance to staff at the hospital’s Acute Medical Unit

Ysgol Esceifiog – Anglesey – A school which gave support to a family in their school following a terminal diagnosis for one of their pupils. They ensured support was provided to the siblings in school as well as supporting other pupils who were affected by their friend’s illness.

Culture

Berwyn Rowlands – Cardiff – Berwyn is a Welsh TV and film producer and film fan and is the Festival Director of the Iris Prize – Cardiff’s LGBT+ Film Festival which awards the world’s largest short film prize.

Dr Ami Jones and Glenn Dene – Aneurin Bevan University Health Board – As well as fulfilling their usual duties, Ami and Glenn published a collection of Glenn’s photographs from inside Welsh hospitals in a photo book entitled ‘Behind the Mask: the NHS Family and the fight with Covid 19’, with Ami narrating.

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Jessica Dunrod – Cardiff – A writer and linguist who has made a huge impact on Welsh language literature. On an effort to diversify Welsh literature, she brought 10 titles to the Welsh market in less than a year.

Environment Champion

Dr Sarah Beynon – The Bug Farm – St Davids, Pembrokeshire – Dr Beynon, a farmer, conservationist and academic entomologist, has established a multi award-winning Bug Farm in 2013 on her 100-acre farm. As a research and education centre showcases the sustainable future of food, farming and wildlife conservation.

Low Carbon Built Environment Group (Cardiff University) – Welsh School of Architechture, Cardiff University – A group have helped significantly to reduce carbon emissions in housing whilst improving conditions and reducing energy bills.

Melissa Forster and Kristina Pruett – Pontypridd – They have led the way in recycling and fly-tipping in their area. Their pledge, The Litter Pick Challenge, developed into a community action organisation with links to other areas of Wales, the U.K. and abroad.

Innovation, Science and Technology

Dr Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, Prof Rob Honey, Dr Byron Wilkinson and Phil Butler – Cardiff University – A small team of dedicated researchers co­produced research on decision­-making in emergency situations for with the National Fire Chiefs Council.

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Luca Pagano, Graham Howe, Peter Charlton, John Hughes and Richard Morgan – University of Wales Trinity St Davids (UWTSD), Carmarthen – A small team that has developed a 3D printed jet respiratory support system to help the NHS during the initial COVID-19 outbreak.

Research and Delivery Team Swansea Bay University Health Board – Swansea Bay University Health Board – The research staff worked together to support clinical teams with trials focusing on urgent public health trials. The team adapted to change to ensure that research continued during such a pressured time for health boards

Sport

David Smith MBE – Swansea – A boccia multiple European, World and Paralympic gold medals winner over the past 14 years, most recently at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

Hannah Mills OBE – Cardiff – Hannah, who won a second gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to go with several World and European titles, became the most successful female Olympic sailor of all time.

Lauren Price – Ystrad Mynach, Caerphilly – In 2021, became the first Welsh woman to win a boxing gold medal at the Olympic Games. This will add to her Commonwealth gold medal in 2018 and European Championship Gold Medal

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Young person

Benjamin Trewartha – Church Village, Rhondda Cynon Taf – Following people close to Benjamin suffering with cardiac episodes, Benjamin has been proactive in bringing about first aid training for school pupils to deal with cardiac related situations

Daniel Lewis – Treharris, Merthyr Tydfil – During lockdown, Daniel started a campaign to clean up fly-tipping hotspots. Through fundraising and working with local businesses, he has successfully removed over 25 tonnes of illicit waste on the Merthyr and Gelligaer Common.

Makenzy Beard – Bishopston, Gower – The 14-year-old school girl started painting as a hobby during lockdown. Her art work has won thousands of fans and gone viral on social media. Her artwork was selected for exhibition at the prestigious Royal Academy Young Artists’ Summer Show in London this summer. Makenzy also plays hockey for Wales.

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Swansea

Swansea to benefit from new grant scheme to tackle sticky situation caused by chewing gum staining

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The Welsh Government has announced a new £1.85m scheme to help five local authorities to tackle chewing gum staining.

Swansea Council, along with other authorities in Blaenau Gwent, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Newport will receive funding from the Chewing Gum Taskforce Grant Scheme to help them clean gum off pavements in their local area this summer and to invest in long-term behaviour change to help prevent the issue in future.

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Chewing gum litter wastes millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money every year; the annual clean-up cost across the UK is estimated at £7 million.

Created last year by the UK Government and working together with Welsh Government, Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive, the Chewing Gum Taskforce brings together the country’s major chewing gum producers, including Mars Wrigley, GlaxoSmithKline and Perfetti Van Melle, in a new partnership to remove gum litter from UK high streets.

Under the scheme, administered by independent environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, the chewing gum firms will invest up to £10m over five years.

More than 45 grants will be awarded this year across the UK and six of these will be used to fund innovative projects that encourage long-term behaviour change.

Deputy Climate Change Minister Lee Waters said: “The need to get rid of chewing gum immediately after use means it is an item commonly disposed of irresponsibly, with gum staining present on more than two thirds of Wales’ streets.

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“Cleaning streets of gum is expensive and labour intensive. I’m really pleased this new fund has been established to support Councils across Wales and encourage people to think about the issues caused by chewing gum litter”

Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, Chief Executive of Keep Britain Tidy, said: “This is an exciting new opportunity for councils to tackle the ongoing problem of gum pollution.

“The grants will allow councils to clean up historic gum litter staining in our towns and cities, as well as taking action to prevent people littering in the first place.”

The fund will be opened to councils across the UK, with larger grants available for two or more councils working together to achieve greater impact.

The grants will consist of a cash award to fund street cleansing as well as access to a gum litter prevention package. Previous pilots have reduced gum littering by up to 64%.

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Littering is a criminal offence and Welsh local authorities can issue penalties of up to £150, rising up to £2,500 if convicted in court.

Through the UK Environment Act 2022, the Welsh Government will be able to ensure that enforcement powers are used with a high degree of professionalism, whether by council staff or private contractors and introduce new enforcement guidance.

The Chewing Gum Task Force forms part of wider Welsh Government action to tackle litter and protect our environment. This includes developing a new Litter & Fly-tipping Prevention Plan, introducing a new Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers and an Extended Producer Responsibility scheme for packaging.

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Education

Social work students to receive more financial support from September

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photography of people graduating

Social work students will be eligible for greater financial support from September as part of an extra £3.5 million package of support, the Deputy Minister for Social Services has announced.

The enhanced financial support will be available for both undergraduate and postgraduate students in Wales via the Social Work Bursary, which will provide almost £10 million over the next three years to assist future social workers.

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Eligible undergraduates studying for the social work degree will be able to access up to £3,750 per year over the three-year course in addition to the funding available to them through Student Finance Wales.

Postgraduate students will be able to access £12,715 per year of their two year course. This will reduce the loan element students will need to repay after their studies.

This represents a more than 50% increase on the current bursary for both undergraduates and postgraduates.

Social work is changing; people’s needs are changing, and cases are becoming more complex. The pandemic has added pressures to social work and recruitment and retention challenges are increasing.

The Social Work Bursary incentivises people to take up social work training with the aim of building a sustainable social work workforce in Wales. The increase to the bursary is just the first step in plans to increase recruitment to the social work sector, with Social Care Wales due to publish a social work workforce plan this summer.

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The Deputy Minister for Social Services, Julie Morgan said: “This announcement will provide much needed additional financial support for social work students. It will help more people train as social workers, help them remain on and complete their course and build capacity within the system. By supporting our future social workers as they take their first steps into the sector, we can better recruit and retain staff in the sector.

“Our overall ambition for the health and social care workforce is for parity of esteem between the professions. Social workers carry out a vital role within our communities, supporting people to take charge of their own lives. They are at the core of our social care system and key to the delivery of effective care, which makes a real difference to individuals and to the communities in which they live.”

Chief Social Care Officer for Wales, Albert Heaney said: “I am pleased that we have secured Welsh Ministerial agreement for an extra £3.5 million package of financial support for new social work students towards their courses from September.

“This funding, provided through the Social Work Bursary, will provide an extra boost to support both undergraduate and postgraduate students in Wales to undertake and complete their courses and increase the ranks of our invaluable social workers.”

The Chief Executive of Social Care Wales, Sue Evans, said: “I am delighted to see further support from Welsh Government for the social care sector and specifically for social workers in Wales. Social Care Wales provided the evidence to enable Welsh Government to increase the bursary for social work students.

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“We recognise and appreciate the invaluable work carried out by social workers across Wales and look forward to seeing more students joining the profession.

“We will shortly be publishing a workforce plan for social work that identifies the range of actions we need to take with partners to support the development and support for social workers in Wales who are working in every community of our country. Improving the bursary offer is a key element of this plan.”

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Bridgend

Construction work underway at new active travel route for Bridgend employment site

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Construction work on a new active travel route for the strategic employment site at Brocastle in Bridgend has started, thanks to a £2m investment by the Welsh Government.

The route, which is about 3km south-east of Bridgend town centre and runs parallel with the A48, will link the 116-acre site at Brocastle with the Waterton roundabout, 2km to the north-west.

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A 2km cycleway, kerbing and surfacing works, new signalised road crossings, replacement traffic signals and street lighting will be built. The £2m funding for the route, which is being provided by the Welsh Government, is the final package of the wider infrastructure works on the Brocastle site.

The active travel route is expected to be completed by the autumn. The work will be undertaken by Wales-based civil engineering contractor Alun Griffiths (Contractors) Limited.

Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething said: “As part of our plans to create a more prosperous Welsh economy, the Welsh Government is working hard to help create new job opportunities in the communities people live.

“The strategic employment site we have developed at Brocastle provides a great location for us to attract new businesses to Bridgend. I am pleased to confirm parts of the Brocastle site are already under offer. We have a strong pipeline of further enquiries from a range of owner-occupiers and developers.

“The completion of the active travel route will further enhance the accessibility and attractiveness of the site to potential new tenants.”

Minister for Climate Change, Julie James said: “We need to take bold action to tackle climate change, so I’m pleased we’ve been able to invest £2m in this new active travel scheme, which will help reduce car use and encourage more people to walk or cycle to work.”

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