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‘The world would be a darker place if it wasn’t for people like you’: Photos and stories about the winners of the Cwmbran Community Council awards

Cwmbran Community Council held its annual community awards evening tonight, its first since before the start of the pandemic.

Councillor Anthony Bird, chair of Cwmbran Community Council, said that individuals and groups were nominated by residents and councillors for their work at making Cwmbran “a better place to live.” He presented six awards and told the room of guests in the council office in Old Cwmbran: “If it wasn’t for people like you do, doing the work you do, the world would be a darker place.”

Achieving (Environmental) Award- Eco Warriors of Bran

a girl is presented with a certificate by a chairman of a council
Bethan Haymonds-Edwards collects the Achieving (Environmental) Award

The Eco Warrior of Bran meet up every Sunday and target a different area of the town picking up litter. Their Facebook page is full of their achievements and photos of rubbish bags filled with litter ready for collection by the council on Monday morning.

Their nominator said: “These volunteers are out every weekend tackling the litter issues around Cwmbran and the wider Torfaen area. Whatever the weather the group are out every weekend without fail, sacrificing time with family and loved ones to ensure the community we live in is clean from rubbish.”

Special Award- Rosa Newton

a woman collects a certificate from the chairman of a council
Rosa Newton collects the Special Award

Rosa Newton won this award for her work leading the team of volunteers at the Eco Warriors of Bran.

Special Award- Sara Roberts

a woman is given a certificate from a councillor
Sara Roberts collects the Special Award from Cllr Rhiannon Bennett

Councillor Rhiannon Bennett, Coed Eva ward, said: “I’m in awe of the work Sara and her team do in Blenheim and Coed Eva schools.”

Her nominator said: “Sara heads up an inspirational team of dedicated staff who go above and beyond to support the pastoral needs of pupils, their families and the wider community. Sara noticed how many families and members of the community were in need of additional support, whether that was financial support, emotional support or signposting to additional services such as benefits advice.

“Sara and her team have established strong multi-agency partnerships to address these needs and these partnerships have flourished meaning more families are being supported each year. Sara has a commendable vision for extending the community support the school is able to offer and works tirelessly writing funding applications, surveying parents and building relationships to enable the team to achieve this vision.

“However, it is perhaps the support the Family Links team provides over the Christmas period that has stood out the most. The team work over the Christmas holidays, visiting at-risk and vulnerable families and delivering Christmas hampers to those in need. This support is not only for school pupils but is also accessed by the wider community.”

Special Award- Richard Davies

a man collects a certificate from a chairman of a council
Richard Davies collects the Special Award

Cllr Anthony Bird, Northville Ward, said Richard had “done wonders for the arts scene in Cwmbran, wonders for the community council, and wonders with his volunteering across the community.”

His nominator said: “Richard was instrumental in setting up a voluntary litter picking organisation within Cwmbran, who work incredibly hard to clean and protect the local environment by organising regular litter picking events. He was also a founding member of the Ancient Cwmbran Society and strives to raise awareness of local people about the local history of Cwmbran as well as reviving the local nature.

“Richard has been instrumental in setting up the South Wales Artist Co-operative which is a not-for-profit organisation made up of 20 artists. The aim of the co-operative is to give local artists a chance to sell and exhibit their art in their own area and to help promote art appreciation within the local area.”

Volunteering and Serving Award- Foodbank Thornhill

two women collect an award from two councillors
Nicola Harrhy and Sarah West collect the Volunteering and Serving Award from Cllr Councillor Steven Evans

Cllr Steven Evans, Upper Cwmbran Ward, said: “When we started this food bank we had some funding from the community council. We hit the ground running. You’ve got people there in real, real need. We see it on daily basis.  The staff are amazing, they’ve gone beyond. It’s hard to put into words unless you’re present to see what they do.”

He dedicated the award to Hazel, a volunteer who passed away last year.

Sarah West, from Thornhill Foodbank, said: “We go out of our way to do as much as we can for our area and others. It’s hard as you want to do as much as you can but sometimes you can’t. Thank you for appreciating us.”

Their nominator said: “The Volunteers at Thornhill Foodbank have supported people in need with their food provision, but not only that, they have always dealt with everyone with dignity and continued the support with their ongoing wellbeing. They offer referrals with their support and social inclusion events.”

a group of people are presented with a certificate
Members of the Foodbank Thornhill with their Volunteering and Serving Award

Special Award- Victoria Rogers

a woman collects an award from two councillors
Victoria Rogers collects the Special Award from Cllr Steven Evans and Cllr Anthony Bird

Cllr Steven Evans said: “She’s gone above and beyond to support and keep it (Thornhill Foodbank) running. It’s very emotional, some of the stuff they see that people have to go through. Without the support of the community council at the start we would have been in dire straits to get things moving.”

Her nominator said: “Victoria has been managing and co-ordinating the foodbank provision on its daily business and working with the Volunteers and partners. Victoria has outstanding knowledge of local residents and families with young children who are in need or vulnerable and always finds ways to help where they can.

“During the Covid epidemic Breakfast clubs were stopped but she liaised with the local school to provide breakfast for children who would go without. She always took time to help with delivering prescriptions for residents and takes an active role in grant funding projects to support the community. ”

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Posted inNews

‘The world would be a darker place if it wasn’t for people like you’: Photos and stories about the winners of the Cwmbran Community Council awards

a collage of photos of community award winners
The winners of the Cwmbran Community Council community awards