The Inspire Wales Awards are an initiative of the Institute of Welsh Affairs in association with the Western Mail.
To celebrate the achievements of the men and women throughout Wales who make a significant contribution to society, the Institute of Welsh Affairs has teamed up with the Western Mail for the Inspire Wales Awards. The awards reward those in the fields of business, education, science, arts and media, the environment and sport, as well as seeking champions in citizenship and young achievers. Entries are encouraged from the public, private and voluntary sectors. In this profile, we reveal the finalists in the Active Citizen category.
As project manager for Women Making a Difference (WMAD) Ms Hanley educates and empowers women throughout Wales to have the skills and mindset to become leaders and decision makers at all levels of public and political life. Since its conception the project has seen more than 300 women from a range of backgrounds and cultures living in Wales take part. These women had previously been at the heart of their communities as volunteers but felt they lacked the skills or confidence to put themselves forward and develop their careers. To inspire these women Ms Hanley has recruited the help of politicians and various community champions to act as role models while she has also ensured all those who want access to the project, but who struggle because of the cost of childcare or travel, have the opportunity to enrol.
Ms Moriarty-Simmonds is a leading Welsh activist and campaigner for civil rights legislation and the inclusion of disabled people in society. As an obviously disable person she aims to break down barriers and persuade people that disabled people can make a positive contribution to society. Ms Moriarty-Simmonds owns the Cardiff-based Disability Issues Consultancy through which she runs all-day workshops, lectures and seminars to promote the inclusion of disabled people in society. Through the Cardiff and Vale Coalition of Disabled People Access Group, of which she was a founding member, she has also been able to make real change. Most notably improved access to Cardiff for residents and its many disabled visitors. Ms Moriarty-Simmonds has been a governor at Ty Gwyn Special School for the past eight years and is also a stakeholder/adviser with the Welsh Assembly Government’s equality and human rights commission.
For the past six months Mr Ress has co-ordinated an innovative political mentoring scheme called Step Up Cymru. The project, created collectively by the National Assembly for Wales, the Welsh Local Government Association and the Welsh Assembly Government, paired politicians with an individual from an under represented group in Wales. As well as providing mentoring experiences Mr Rees also designed and facilitated a training suite which educated the mentees knowledge of the Welsh political landscape. As a direct result of the scheme 15 of the 34 mentees from under represented groups are now seeking an opportunity to stand in next year’s Assembly elections and local elections in 2012. And Step Up Cymru has also persuaded eight other mentees to set-up charitable organisations on matters close to them and their communities while a further 10 are applying for boards and public appointments with organisations such as Welsh Women’s Aid, the Design Council, and the Adjudication panel for Wales.