Next 30: Leon Ward

Leon Ward, 25, is a Programme Manager for Wales for First Give and Deputy Chair of Brook, based in Cardiff but working across South Wales

To mark three decades of the IWA’s role in making Wales better, we decided to look forward to ‘the next thirty years’ by introducing some of the people who will be shaping ‘the Welsh agenda’ as the future unfolds. We have teamed up with PricewaterhouseCoopers and their #GreatWales campaign, which celebrates the ideas and people who contribute to the Wales of the future.


Leon Ward, 25, is a Programme Manager for Wales for First Give and Deputy Chair of Brook

Cardiff-based but working across South Wales

I am fairly new to Wales having moved here in June 2015. I currently lead the work of First Give in Wales – we launched here in August 2016 and in our first year will work with 4500 Welsh students. We will help them and their schools engage with their local communities, unlock their social conscience and kick start their journeys in volunteering. To underpin all this work, we will, distribute £40,000 in grant money to organisations that students connect with and represent in school competitions across South Wales.

Outside of my day job, I am also a trustee and Deputy Chair of the young persons’ sexual health charity Brook. I have been a trustee since I was 18 and simultaneously have been campaigning for organisations to ensure their governing boards are diverse and in 2015, in partnership with the Charities Aid Foundation I published a best practice guide on young trustees to set out the case for young people to help run charities. I am pleased that many organisations across the UK have used our guide to help support young people to become trustees.

The charity sector was my ‘way out’ from a tough life when growing up; my Mum was an alcoholic and there wasn’t much opportunity in Grimsby, where I’m from.

The sector was there for me, it nurtured me, it pushed me, supported me and became a part of me. I am simply a baton holder who is passing it on; incidentally, the cover of the best practice guide is a baton being passed between two hands.

I want Wales to be the destination of choice for people to live and work. Wales has ample room for growth and opportunity – I have experienced the ambition and drive that Cardiff is currently incubating and I would love to see that seep into the communities where opportunities are limited. I think First Give is helping unlock some of that but there is plenty more work to be done. I also want Wales to be as open for business as possible – to trade and share everything Wales offers with the rest of the UK and beyond. In short, I want this little country to punch above its weight.


Each day, throughout the month of June, we are celebrating the exceptional people on the Next 30 list by publishing a short pen portrait here on Click on Wales, as well as raising their profile on Twitter using #IWAnext30 and #GreatWales to highlight the exciting contributions these people are making to Wales’ future.


Also within People and Places