Celebrating inspiration across Wales

Jessica Davies-Timmins profiles the first of the categories for this year’s IWA Inspire Wales Awards 2014.

We live our lives in a rush these days, we don’t always take the time to reflect or consider others and learn from their examples. Everyday inspirational people go about their ordinary lives without realising how much they influencing others.

In partnership with the Western Mail, every year the Institute of Welsh Affairs hosts the Inspire Wales Awards, an awards scheme that is designed to honour everyday, inspirational people.

This week leading up to the gala event on Friday 20th June, each category, it’s sponsor and shortlisted finalists will be profiled. You can see pictures of the nominees and more details about the inspiring work they have undertaken by following the category links.


This year’s nominees for the Business Leader category, sponsored by Leadership and Management Wales, are:

Rachael Flanagan, Mrs Bucket Cleaning Services

Rachael Flanagan set up Mrs Bucket in 2005 when she was 18 years old and used £20 worth of leaflets and a hoover.  Rachael is now 27 and has grown the business exponentially over the past 9 years and now employs Area Managers in Cardiff, Newport and Swansea to oversee operations and has developed her own in-depth training programme for her cleaners.The company is on target to turnover £1.4m this year.

Anne Middleton, Atradius

HR manager for the trade credit insurance, surety and collections services company, Atradius, Anne Middleton was nominated as Chairperson for the National Skills Academy for Financial Services Welsh Employer Board after recognising a skills gap and a difficulty with attracting and retaining new talent to the organisation as well as the financial services sector. Middleton led the Board and worked in partnership with a number of companies to pioneer a Welsh Financial Services Graduate Programme, one of its kind in the UK.

Giles Phelps, Net Support UK

Giles Phelps is owner and Managing Director of Net Support UK, he studied computing at college before continuing his studies at the Plymouth Polytechnic in Computing and Informatics, with a specific focus on Systems Analysis and Design. In 1998 Phelps established Net Support UK Ltd which has grown organically and exponentially under his guidance.


This year’s nominees for the Science and Technology category, sponsored by Western Power Distribution, are:

Dr Tom Crick, Cardiff Metropolitan University

Dr Tom Crick is a Senior Lecturer in Computing Science at Cardiff Metropolitan University, as well as the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Computing & Information Systems. Over the course of his young career Crick has inspired thousands of school children in Wales. In 2012, he was awarded £70,000 through the Welsh Government’s National Science Academy Scheme to promote computer science and related STEM careers.

Dr Haley Gomez, Cardiff University

Dr Gomez is a Senior Lecturer in astrophysics at Cardiff University, and conducts research into the origins of cosmic dust using space telescopes. As well as her day job, Gomez manages two large projects to help support and train secondary and primary teachers in teaching STEM (particularly astronomy), and inspiring children from all backgrounds to follow their dreams in studying/enjoying STEM further. Dr Gomez is chair of the Ernest Rutherford extragalactic panel for the astronomy, cosmology and particle physics community, which requires deciding on the next leaders in these fields, and Head of Public engagement and outreach for the School of Physics and Astronomy.

Ajan Reginald, Cell Therapy Limited

Ajan is Executive Director & Co-founder of Cell Therapy Limited,  a biotechnology entrepreneur, whose company specialises in off-the-shelf stem cell therapy products to treat life threatening and life altering illnesses such as heart attacks, heart disease and diabetes. CTL has many partnerships with Welsh Universities where our labs are based, as well as being commercial partner of the University of Oxford Stem Cell Institute.

This year’s nominees for the Environmentalist category, sponsored by Waterloo Foundation and INSPIRE – University of Wales Trinity Saint David, are:

Emma Davidson, Gecko Clothing

Emma Davidson in partnership with her husband, established Gecko Clothing to create a sustainable, recognised clothing brand. The company sources a number of products that are advertised on her website which have very high sustainable standards. Their little t-shirts are made in India in a Fair Wear Foundation registered factory, powered by wind, on 100% organic cotton, ocean shipped to North Wales for design and print.

Keith Jones, National Trust

The fit for the future initiative started as an idea to integrate the National Trust’s environmental management in Wales into a simple frame work for delivering ambitious gains and reducing the National Trusts overall environmental impact. Jones helped instigate the monitoring system and environmental management approach in Wales has now rolled out across the whole of the National Trust in the UK.

Lian Carter, Rhondda Housing & FareShare Cymru

Each year in Wales over 400,000 tonnes of food are wasted by the food manufacturing, wholesaling and retail industry, Lian Carter and her team made up of colleagues and volunteers from Rhondda Housing and FareShare Cymru developed and instigated the Community Foodbox Initiative by encouraging vulnerable people to eat healthier. This first pilot initiative in the South Wales area diverts the edible food currently treated as waste and surplus by food manufacturers & retailers and distributes it to disadvantaged people across the RCT borough.


This year’s nominees for the Welsh at Work (SME) category, sponsored by CAD Training Company, are:

RenewableUK Cymru

According to David Clubb of RenewablesUK Cymru, the use of Welsh is fundamental to their operations. The organisation was prompted to make further use of bilingualism by a recognition that there are business benefits associated with being able to engage with stakeholders in English and Welsh. Use of bilingualism also improves RenewablesUK Cymru’s access to businesses across Wales and helps with retention of existing members, and recruitment of new staff.

Harrisons Solicitors

When Alun Jones (current partner) joined Harrisons Solicitors in 1982 he was the first of the team to speak Welsh, and was later joined by Huw Williams in 1988. Both Alun and Huw used their language skills to converse with Welsh-speaking clients and educated the firm as to the benefit of offering bilingual services.  In order to both gain clients and satisfy existing clients the firm cleary recognized the potential of offering bilingual services.  Their policy is to offer all services in Welsh and they currently have a Welsh-speaker in all departments and offices.  Consequently the corporate brand, business cards and publications are now fully bilingual where appropriate.

Howel Food Consultancy

A fluent speaker it was natural for Nerys Howell to use her Welsh when establishing her company and it has become one of the USPs. Nerys is also conscious of the importance of bilingual branding as a marketing tool especially when marketing across the world. Welsh speakers are recruited and answer the phone in Welsh, and are encouraged to email in Welsh as appropriate. The company offers training workshops and the ability to communicate in Welsh strengthens the proposition, the company also offers cooking exhibitions and works in welsh with the Welsh language media and regularly contributes to Radio Cymru.

Every day this week, we’ll be looking at the inspirational work of our nominees culminating in the Inspire Wales Awards 2014, this Friday. Limited tickets are still available. To book please visit our Eventbrite page.

Jessica Davies-Timmims is the Business Development Manager for the IWA.

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