Environmentalist – Sponsored by WRAP Cymru & South Wales Shredding Ltd.

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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 Environmentalist category.

Simon Allen
When Mr Allen was working as an electronics engineer, he and his wife, a veterinary assistant for the PDSA, became aware that hurt and injured wildlife lacked facilities in the area. As a result he co-founded the Gower Bird Hospital in 1989. Mr Allen has since established the hospital as one of the leading wildlife rehabilitation centres in the UK through traditional and modern care techniques. Most notably he has combined his knowledge of computers with his interest in wildlife and has helped the hospital undertake radio-tracking of house martins and monitoring over-wintering hedgehogs. In 1996 the hospital faced the biggest case of wildlife aid in living memory during the Sea Empress disaster, providing help for more than 500 birds.  Mr Allen’s work has not gone unnoticed and in 2007 the hospital received the RSPCA award for outstanding kindness a year after it became a fully registered charity.

Grenville Ham
Passionate about tackling climate change Mr Ham founded The Green Valleys in 2008 while he was still working as a full time community development officer for the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority. The community-led project, which aims to make the Brecon Beacons region carbon negative, provides advice on hyro-electric energy cultivation and woodland management. Mr Ham wanted to take a “bottoms-up” approach to the much-debated issue and his business model has sparked interest from projects in Tanzania, New Zealand, Greece and Italy. Not only has Mr Ham helped establish The Green Valleys but he has also provided help to a sister community initiative company called Llangattock Green Valleys. Mr Ham is still with the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority but hopes one day to set-up a community-owned utility company which will enable people and companies from all over Wales to buy their electricity directly from pioneer communities, benefiting both the environment and the customer.

Steve Garrett
MR GARRETT established the Riverside Community Market Association in his native Cardiff in 1998 after being involved in similar initiatives in Canada.  Aimed at bringing small sellers to city customers the association has grown rapidly and Mr Garrett has since organised several markets in both Cardiff and Newport. As well as providing fresh produce the markets reduce the food miles travelled by local producers – minimising packaging and helping to ensure the financial security and viability of small-scale producers. Mr Garrett, who sits on the Welsh Assembly Government’s agrifood partnership forum and the Food Standard Agency’s advisory committee on community engagement, wants the initiative to make consumers more aware of local food and its role in the sustainability of Wales. The original Riverside Market, which started out with just 10-15 stalls, has grown so much in its 12 years it is now the largest farmers’ market in Wales.

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Copy written by Sam Malone, Media Wales. Photos supplied courtesy of Media Wales.

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