Inspire Wales Awards Winners

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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 winners of all categories.

Young Achiever sponsored by Wales & West Utilities: Jessica Griffiths

Jessica has been nominated by her headteacher at Glyncoed Comprehensive School in Blaenau Gwent for her outstanding achievements in a number of aspects regarding the corporate life of the school. She has also been put forward for the Young Achiever award for her contribution to community life in Blaenau Gwent and in representing the community on the European stage. Among some of the most significant contributions she has made include representing the region and Wales at Youth Camps across Europe as part of Blaenau Gwent’s twinning programme, visiting Germany, Italy, France and Belgium and representing the Blaenau Gwent Youth Forum at the TUC Conference in North Wales – at which she made a formal address on child poverty in Blaenau Gwent. Academically she is also very strong with each of the 10 GCSEs she is due to take later this year predicted at grade A or above. She is also studying for grades six in singing and piano and grades five in flute and violin.

Global Wales sponsored by University of Wales: Angela Gorman

As chair of charity Hope for Grace Kodindo Ms Gorman promotes Wales as an outward looking nation dedicated to improving the attitude of global citizenship. Ms Gorman was one of the founding members of the charity which was set-up following a BBC Panorama episode called Dead Mums Don’t Cry. The episode shadowed obstetrician, Dr Grace Kodindo at work in The Hôpital Général de Référence in N’Djamena in Chad. The risk of childbirth-related death at the hospital was one in 11 compared to the UK risk of one in 8,200 and through Hope for Grace Kodindo Ms Gorman hoped to reduce these numbers. Deaths from eclampsia soon fell from 14% to 2.3% and newborn deaths fell from 23% to 7.3%. Having heard of it success the United Nations Population Fund contacted the charity and asked for it to extend its support to Liberia and Sierra Leone. Now, as a result of all the charity’s hard work in supplying medication, around 13,000 women are estimated to have lived as a result.

Sport: Lucy Powell

As community sports development officer for Newport City Council Lucy is charged with providing sporting opportunities for thousands of residents. The programmes she works on not only aim to encourage at risk children and young people to take part in sport but also aim to reduce crime. And given that one of her projects has seen anti-social behaviour drop by 48% she must be doing something right. Lucy set up the Friday Night Project which gets young people to attend a workshop in exchange for an hour of free sport. And many of the young people she has seen sign up to the project have since become community volunteers or even paid workers such was the impact of the programme. To assist her in the running of the project Lucy has also undertaken training to be able to deliver education about substance abuse.

Active Citizen sponsored by UnLtd Wales: Adam Rees

For the past six months Mr Rees 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.

Welsh at Work sponsored by CADCentre UK Ltd: North Wales Police

North Wales Police have been steadily working towards Welsh language provision in their service and enhance the bilingual capacity of the force.  It first appointed a Welsh Language advisor in 2000, introducing officer and employee badges stating whether they are learning or fluent in Welsh.  Since 2004 police officer recruits have received mandatory Welsh language lessons as part of their two-year probationary training, and this now applies to all other employees. The aim of making the force bilingual – as of 2005 all employees have to have Welsh language courtesy skills before appointment – is to establish a strong relationship with the Welsh speaking public. And awards, which are handed out bi-annually at the Eisteddfodau, have been offered as an incentive to employees to become competent in Welsh. To help achieve this the force has worked closely with the Welsh Language Board and Llysfasi College, which have tailor-made courses for the authority.

Environmentalist sponsored by WRAP Cymru and South Wales Shredding: 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.

Arts, Media and Creative Industries sponsored by Active Music Services: Olwen Moseley

As director of enterprise at Cardiff School of Art and Design at University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, Ms Moseley is part of the management team responsible for the strategic and operational development. Originally from a commercial background, her role enables her to use her experience while at the same time indulge in her passion for the power of design in contemporary society. One of the most significant projects she has undertaken as director of enterprise was launching the Cardiff Design Festival. The festival is a collaboration with public and private sector partners from the creative industries which has received much praise for its impact on the arts community in the six years it has been running. In fact the festival has had so much positive publicity Olwen was listed in 2005 and again in 2009 as one of the “Hot 50” most influential people in the UK by Design Week magazine.

Science and Technology sponsored by ISG Pearce Ltd: Professor Meena Upadhyaya

In her role as professor of medical genetics at Cardiff University, Professor Upadhyaya is actively involved in carrying out medical research. The main aim of this is to improve the quality of life for patients who suffer from various life-threatening genetic conditions. Her position as the head of the NHS research and development laboratory at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, allows her to achieve these aims through developing new technologies which significantly enhance the identification of genetic abnormalities associated with different inherited disorders. As well as her research, she helps organise and chair national and international scientific and medical meetings on these inherited diseases. Prof Upadhyaya’s career development is all the more impressive considering she chose to stay in Wales, far away from her family in India, to finish her PhD despite the death of her husband. It was a decision made more difficult because she had to bring up their daughter single-handedly.

Educator sponsored by ClickonWales: Professor Judy Hutchings

Having worked in education for almost 50 years, Professor Judy Hutchings has considerable experience in her field. Now a researcher for Bangor University, she has been nominated for the Educator award for her work to bring effective services to children in Wales who are at risk of anti-social behaviour. A trained child psychologist Judy has also been able to use her wealth of knowledge to help develop more effective ways of teaching anger management and problem-solving skills. She has been instrumental in researching and delivering the Incredible Years (IY) parent, child and teacher programmes across Wales through the Incredible Wales Centre at Bangor University and the Incredible Years Cymru Charity. Professor Hutchings helped develop the IY programme in 2000 based on work by the University of Washington. It has received a great deal of praise for its unique way of addressing the needs of parents and those working with them.

Business Leader sponsored by Leadership and Management Wales: Hayley Parsons

As founder of internet comparison website gocompare.com, Ms Parsons has proved businesses can thrive even during a recession. In just three and a half years the former office clerk has seen the website develop from an idea conceived around a kitchen table, to a small business where new starters had to assemble their own desks, to a company of 84 employees. Having been part of the development of rival website confused.com, Ms Parsons clearly knows what it takes to succeed despite not having any formal training and having learnt most of her skills on the job. Since day one of gocompare.com she has attempted to instil an open and honest culture with every one of her employees and has created a thriving and relaxed environment. All the hard work put in by Ms Parsons and her team has seen gocompare.com become the only comparison site recognised by the British Insurance Brokers’ Association.

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

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