Children and Young People’s Participation in Wales… Good Practice 2016
Wales Volunteer of the Year Awards 2017 – Nominate now!
Over a million people in Wales help their communities and each other in all sorts of remarkable ways. And since 2004 the Wales Volunteer of the Year Awards has been shining the spotlight on these incredible people.
Winners of the Wales Volunteer of the Year Awards 2016 at the awards ceremony in Cardiff Castle.
Do you know of an inspirational individual or group that has made a real difference to their area or to the lives of others? If so, why not nominate them for a Wales Volunteer of the Year Award? It’s your chance to get these remarkable people the recognition they deserve.
There are six categories for nominations:
– adult (25 years and over)
– young volunteer (under 25 years)
– ‘green’ volunteer (individual of any age who volunteers with an environmental organisation or project)
– groups (two or more individuals, whether as an informal group or a formally constituted organisation)
– ‘Digital’ volunteer (an individual who has helped tackle digital exclusion and helped others to experience the benefits of using ICT) supported by Digital Communities Wales – NEW CATEGORY!
What you need to do
- Read the rules of the scheme (below) and get the permission of the individual or group you want to nominate
- Complete a nomination form* (NB the judges will base their decision on your answers. Only information supplied on the nomination form will be considered)
- Return it by 21 April 2017 to:Wales Volunteer of the Year Awards
Mount Stuart Square
*PLEASE NOTE, the form cannot be completed in your web browser. If you are completing the form on your computer or device, you’ll need to download (or save) a copy of it before filling it in to avoid having to re-type any information. Open the downloaded form to begin filling it in, you can save as you go along. Once you’ve completed the form please save it a final time before submitting it. If you have any queries please contact the WCVA Helpdesk on 0800 2888 329.
- The judging panel will select a winner and two runners up in each category
- Winners and runners up will be invited to attend an award ceremony to be held in June
Rules of the scheme
- Nominations must be received by 21 April 2017 at WCVA, Baltic House, Mount Stuart Square, Cardiff Bay CF10 5FH, or email@example.com, using an official nomination form.
- Individuals cannot be nominated by a partner or family member, or nominate themselves. Please note: Groups cannot be nominated by an employee, volunteer or trustee of the organisation.
- You may only nominate one nominee or group from each category.
- The nominees must either live in Wales or undertake their volunteering work in Wales. The groups nominated must be based in Wales. We also welcome nominations for individuals and groups who volunteer abroad for an organisation based in Wales.
- Permission must be sought from the person or group nominated.
- Personal details provided on the nomination form may be passed on to partner organisations and to the media for publicity purposes. If you are not willing for any information to be shared in this way or if you do not wish media organisations to contact the nominee or nominator, please let us know as soon as possible.
- Previous winners of major Wales/UK awards are not eligible for nomination including the Wales Volunteer of the Year Award.
- The judges’ decision on entries is final. The judges reserve the right not to make an award in any particular category if they feel that nominations are not suitable.
- The nature of the certificates and awards presented is the decision of WCVA. No alternative prizes will be considered.
North Wales Police Open Day 2017
Please find attached a booking form to secure a stand for this year’s Force Open Day, which is being held on Saturday, June 3rd between 11am and 4pm.
The day is being held this year in the middle of National Volunteering Week, so there is a particular emphasis this year on celebrating our Force Volunteers and Special Constabulary.
Of course this is a Force Open Day so it would be fantastic if we could have as many of our partners there as possible.
Please feel free to contact me should you want to discuss further.
Delyth Thomas Jones,
Corporate Communications Officer,
Corporate Communications Department,
North Wales Police,
Tel – 01492 804666
Ext – 04157
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org / Press&PR@nthwales.pnn.police.uk
PLANED has agreed to collect information about services and infrastructure in rural Wales which will be collated into a report (by ACRE England) and then presented to the European rural Parliament. It also will provide the LAG and policy makers in Wales with information.
The deadline for questionnaire to be completed will be the end of March.
Link to survey – https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/GLZWL38
Feel free to retweet the questionniare on your twitter page.
Invitation to BIHR’s March for Human Rights campaign
The British Institute of Human Rights are running March for Human Rights, a month-long campaign celebrating human rights and the Human Rights Act. They will spend the month of March touring the towns and cities of the UK holding free pop-up events, as well as running a social media campaign. March for Human Rights provides a positive opportunity for all those who are “alright with human rights” to stand together.
On our tour of the towns and cities of the UK we will visit:
- Oswestry, England on 9 March in partnership with Fairness, Respect, Equality Shropshire (FRESh) Ltd
The event is free to attend, and you can book online.
Social Enterprise & Women’s Empowerment
Social Impact Consulting are working with the British Council to explore the link between social enterprise and women’s empowerment in the UK and internationally. The aim is to see where social enterprise is really making a difference to the lives of women and girls; to find areas where the social enterprise sector needs to improve; and to make recommendations to funders and policy makers to create even greater impact in this field.
They’d be grateful if you could spare 10 minutes to complete their survey. There are some multiple choice questions, and also some opportunities to share your thoughts if you would like to.
When you get to the end there’s also an opportunity to register your interest in attending our dialogue event to discuss these issues in more detail.
For more info contact;
Director, Social Impact Consulting
Fellow, Bangor Business School
+44 (0)7766 015 664
Colwyn Bay based Not-for-profit receives funding from People’s Health Trust
Colwyn Bay based not for profit Community Interest Group North Wales Association for Multicultural Integration (NWAMI) has received significant funding from The People Health Trust. People’s Health Trust is an independent charity addressing health inequalities across Great Britain. It works closely with each of the 51 society lotteries and makes grants using money raised by the society lotteries through The Health Lottery.
NWAMI’s Project “CROESO I BAWB/Welcome to All” will run for 50 weeks and will offer Welsh and English conversational language courses delivered by professional tutors from Grwp Llandrillo Menai. The programme will also deliver a variety of art and craft sessions.
Speaking about the project NWAMI’s founder and Chairman Cllr/Dr Sibani Roy said:
We aim to decrease social isolation and loneliness, and to improve connection in the community and to create friendships among participants and to establish equality through diversity, friendships between those of different age, gender, sexuality, religion, abilities and ethnicity.
Language is one of the most prominent barriers in community cohesion. By teaching both English and Welsh language we hope to cross the first hurdle to break the communication barrier. We will gather the existing groups to discuss and plan the future activities. We will also promote the groups via local networks, encouraging new people to come forward and take part. As the project progresses, people will gain confidence and start communicating more openly with each other and socialising within their own learner’s group to begin with. Then eventually a wider community will be inspired to join and it will have snowballing effect — widening people’s social networks and enabling them to build relationships that can be maintained outside of the group, helping them feel more integrated in the community. Our achievements by 12 months will have a lasting ongoing effect in the community.
A NWAMI spokesman said:
Based on the recognition of both differences and similarities between cultures the project will be supportive of cross-cultural dialogue and will challenge self-segregation tendencies within cultures.
The impetus of the project will be to move beyond a passive acceptance of a multicultural fact of multiple cultures effectively existing in a society and instead will promote dialogue and interaction between cultures.
The ethos of the project will be rooted in the pursuit to define shared interests and common values across cultural and national borders.
We wish to achieve a high number of participation of people locally. We want people developing their confidence in sharing and expressing their ideas and opinions. People taking pride in their idea and working with others from the community to design and deliver their idea to the rest of their peers.
We will encourage and seek to equip participants in the project with the means to think outside the box of one’s motherland” and by “seeing many sides of every question without abandoning conviction, and without losing one’s own cultural centre
The programme will begin in the second week of March and places are limited as the take up rate is already significantly encouraging. The sessions will be held at the Centre for Cultural Engagement, 10 Greenfield Road, Colwyn Bay
NWAMI wishes to express its thanks to the Public Health Trust for its generous funding to allow this exciting project to go ahead.
For Further information please contact NWAMI
Charity Commission News – Winter 2016
Regulatory alerts issued for fundraising charities
The Commission recently issued an alert to promote the new Charities Act fundraising rules, which came in to force on 1 November 2016. The new rules affect:
- the trustees’ annual reports of larger charities that fundraise from the public
- the agreements that must be in place when third-party fundraisers raise money for charities
The changes will help charities demonstrate their commitment to protecting donors and the public from poor fundraising practices. The new law will also help to ensure that fundraising standards form part of the agreements between charities and any commercial participators or professional fundraisers with whom they work. Find out how your charity is affected by the new provisions, and when compliance with them is required. You can also look at Charity reporting and accounting: the essentials (CC15d) which have been updated to reflect the new requirements.
The Commission also issued joint alerts with the Fundraising Regulator about the importance of following data protection law when handling donors’ personal information, and about complying with their legal trustee duties when working with third party fundraisers as set out in the Commission’s guidance Charity fundraising: a guide to trustee duties (CC20).
Safer giving for charities
When fundraising it’s important to familiarise yourself with fundraising best practice to safeguard donations and charity integrity:
- If you give fundraisers official charity material such as identity badges, tabards and tins, make sure you collect everything back as soon as possible and check that nothing is missing or has been tampered with.
- Ensure that people who fundraise for you by conducting street or house to house collections have a licence to do so.
- Consider providing your volunteers with a basic information pack on what they must do and not do when collecting on your behalf.
- If your charity doesn’t use cash or street collections, let your supporters know this and make it clear on your website.
- If you suspect collectors are collecting fraudulently in your name, contact the police and Action Fraud.
New reporting obligation to HMRC affects charities making grants
Those charities which receive more than half of their income from financial investments in any year need to check whether they have an obligation to report details of their grant recipients to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). If more than half of your charity’s income is from financial investments and those investments are managed for you in whole or in part by a broker, fund manager, independent financial adviser, or wealth manager then you may need to carry out checks on your grant recipients and make a report to HMRC to meet your obligations under the ‘Common Reporting Standard’.
The Common Reporting Standard is a global agreement to combat offshore tax evasion through the sharing of financial information between tax administrations. For more information on the Common Reporting Standard and the reporting requirements please refer to guidance issued by HMRC.
Are your contact details up-to-date?
Please take a moment to log in to our online portal and check that we have the correct contact details for your named contacts, including an up-to-date email address, so that we can quickly contact you when needed.
Shaping the future of our digital services
December saw the launch of our customer digital survey which was created to help us identify ways to improve our range of digital services and make them easier to use. Improving our digital services will also enable us to protect the integrity of the register of charities by displaying key information on charities in a clear and simple way.
The survey asked when you would like us to contact you and in what way, as well as your priorities when contacting the Commission. The survey lasted for 6 weeks, closing on 18 January and we received 206 responses which will now be analysed and used to inform our digital services plans going forward.
We are continually looking at ways to improve our digital services through workshops and user testing. If you would like to be involved please email your details to email@example.com.
Keeping your finances in check in 2017
Trustees have a legal duty to look after their charity’s money and other assets. They need to understand and keep track of their charity’s income and spending to spot any issues as early as possible to prevent them from affecting the charity’s success. Here are some key tips from the Commission’s wide ranging guidance on financial issues.
- be able to recognise at an early stage when the charity is no longer viable and plan for what will happen to beneficiaries, staff and assets
- develop a policy on reserves which establishes a level of reserves that is right for the charity and clearly explains to its stakeholders why holding these reserves is necessary
- recruit trustees with time and the right skills and experience to understand their finances and plan strategically for the future
- hold regular trustee meetings to keep track of income and spending
- put internal financial controls in place to make sure all spending is properly authorised
- review sources of income – are there any new opportunities?
- regularly review planned and proposed expenditure – can they do anything better or stop doing something altogether?
- regularly review their risk and risk management policy
- take professional advice before agreeing significant future financial commitments
Our 15 questions document helps trustees check these critical areas and signposts other relevant information. We are also currently reviewing our financial guidance to ensure it is accessible and of most use to trustees.
Is collaboration or merger the way forward for your charity?
The Commission encourages trustees to review regularly whether any of their charity’s activities could be run more effectively either by working with others or by fully merging with another charity. Managed well, either of these can help to make charity resources have a bigger impact, but it is important to understand what is needed to make these successful. You can find detailed guidance on GOV.UK about this, but here are some of the critical factors to take account of:
For successful collaborations
- Be clear that any collaboration is in the interests of your charity’s beneficiaries.
- Make sure you are satisfied that the collaboration furthers your charity’s objects.
- Have an agreement in place that clarifies objectives, processes, roles and responsibilities.
- Pay attention to communications and make sure all stakeholders understand how and why your charity should collaborate.
- Make sure that your charity’s independence is not compromised.
For successful mergers
- The merger should be in the best interests of the charity’s beneficiaries and trustees should be united in believing that the merger is the best way forward.
- The charities involved should be compatible in objects, culture and values.
- Effective communication with all stakeholders from the outset is vital – processes and outcomes should be clear to all involved.
- Identify the key roles and responsibilities in the merger process.
- Communicate and negotiate in a way that reflects the interests of all parties.
Learning from the Commission’s case reports
The large majority of concerns that we identify in charities are dealt with in operational compliance cases, making up over 90% of our casework. These cases are not formal investigations, but are aimed at ensuring trustees address any failures and weaknesses in their charities’ management. Where it is in the public interest to do so and where we identify useful lessons for other trustees, we publish reports on these cases detailing our findings, the impact of our involvement, and lessons for other charities. Take a look on GOV.UK to read more and see our advice on how to respond to the issues identified by the Commission.
Tackling abuse and mismanagement in the charitable sector
In December, we published our annual report on our compliance and investigatory work, Tackling abuse and mismanagement. The report highlights the Commission’s work in identifying and tackling concerns in charities as we continue to make better use of our powers and in providing guidance for trustees to help them fulfil their roles.
The report confirmed that poor governance was at the heart of a lot of our case work this year, and reminds readers that the strategic vision, oversight and evaluation that a board of charity trustees provide is not an ‘optional extra’ in a charity. The report also highlights the increasingly proactive side of the Commission’s compliance work, and many of the lessons can be taken on board by charities more widely. The full report, along with a full statistical analysis of the Commission’s case work, is available on GOV.UK.
Consulting on information collected in the 2017 annual return
The annual return is the primary method that charities use to communicate their activity to the Commission and it contains valuable information in the public interest about charities. In December we opened a public consultation on the information that will be collected from charities via the annual return from 2017. This is part of a wider 2 year project to fundamentally review the key information that we collect and display from charities.
The consultation looks at how we can collect the information needed to allow us to regulate effectively, drive public transparency, and gain a good understanding of the sector, but also to minimise the administrative burden on charities. The consultation can be filled in using a simple online survey and is open until 9 March 2017.
Wrexham PSB Well-Being Assessment – Secondary Consultation Feedback
Message sent on behalf of Rob Smith
As you are aware the Wrexham PSB Draft Well-Being Assessment is out for consultation from 16th Jan to 27th Feb 2017, following which the Well-Being Assessment will be finalised (taking into account consultation feedback), and published in April 2017.
This 6 week consultation period also provides an opportunity to fill any of the gaps that we already recognise exist within the Draft Well-Being Assessment. This is where we need your help. Please find below a link to the Draft Assessment.
As you will see, each theme covered by the assessment has a sub heading ‘What you have told us?’. This is to provide a short summary of any consultation feedback relating to each theme. The PSB ‘Wrexham We Want’ consultation and WCBC ‘What is important to you?’ consultation have provided us with consultation feedback for a number of the themes. However there are still many themes that have little or no consultation feedback against them.
It is very important that we try to fill these gaps to provide a rounded well-being assessment that will lead to a balanced well-being assessment that reflects the needs of all partners service users.
Please find attached a list of all the themes currently lacking consultation feedback against them and the suggested partners that we are hoping will be able to fill the gap for each theme.
Please can you look at the attached list and consider whether your organisation has any feedback from previous consultations you have carried out with service users that could help to fill these gaps.
Where you do have information please can you send back a short summary of consultation feedback (no more than a couple of paragraphs) which highlights the key messages from any relevant consultations you have carried out. Where you do not have any information, please could you also confirm that this is the case so that we don’t keep chase you unnecessarily for information.
Chair Wrexham PSB
End Child Poverty Network Cymru bulletin
Welcome to the monthly bulletin for the End Child Poverty Network Cymru.
The bulletin includes the latest news and policy from Wales and the UK relating to tackling poverty and improving social mobility.
If you have anything you’d like to contribute to the bulletin, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
A future demand-led fuel poverty scheme to succeed Welsh Government Warm Homes – Nest: Summary of responses
The Welsh Government has published a summary of the responses received to its recent consultation on a fuel poverty scheme to succeed Nest.
This consultation ran from 27 Jul 2016 to 19 Oct 2016 and looked at the design and delivery of a new scheme to run from September 2017.
You can download the summary and find details of the original consultation on the Welsh Government website.
UK poverty: Causes, costs and solutions
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has published a report looking at the cost of the poverty premium on low-income households.
The poverty premium costs low-income households around £490 a year on average, according to recent research undertaken by Bristol University. Inflation increases in 2017 are forecast to increase unfair premiums on essentials, making tackling these premiums vital to those households who are just managing.
Reducing the cost of essential goods and services is just as important as increasing incomes to address poverty across the UK. Poverty premiums occur when market failure results in a lack of competition on price and the cost of goods and services increase. Those in low-income households often can’t afford to pay for services, such as insurance, in a lump sum and must pay extra for monthly payments. Low income households also tend to avoid direct debit payments due to tight monthly budgets, even those this form of payment is often cheaper.
Visit the Joseph Rowntree Foundation website to access the full report.
The State of Child Health
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Chidl Helath have published a report on the health of children in the UK.
The report brings together for the first time data on 25 measures of child health including specific conditions such as asthma and diabetes, risk factors such as obesity and low rate of breast-feeding, and data on child deaths.
The report finds that nearly one in five children in the UK is living in poverty and that inequality is a major factor in their health, with those from deprived backgrounds experiencing worse health than those from affluent backgrounds.
How poverty affects people’s decision-making processes
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has published a report looking at the damagaing role played by individual decisions made in low-income households.
The report summarises recent evidence on the relationship between socioeconomic status and the psychological, social and cultural processes that underpin decision making.
You can download the report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation website
Child Poverty Strategy: Assessment of Progress 2016 – Summary Report
The Welsh Government has published its Child Poverty Strategy progress report for 2016.
The report gives information about the progress the Welsh Government has made towards achieving its child poverty objectives, the work that has been done between 2011-2016, and what the Welsh Government will do next.
The Child Poverty Strategy was published in 2011 following a commitment in the Children and Families (Wales) Measure. A revised Strategy was published in 2015.
You can review the report on the Welsh Government website
Information and Advice Action Plan
The Welsh Government has published its Information and Advice Action Plan for Wales.
This follows the 2013 Advice Services Review of third sector services covering social welfare law, which made a number of recommendations on:
- Funding, commissioning and delivering advice service
- Developing a quality assurance framework for information and advice
- Developing Advice Networks
This document focuses on practical actions needed to make further progress on information and advice services. It links with other existing strategies and action plans including the Financial Inclusion Strategy for Wales and the Strategic Equality Plan.
You can download the plan from the Welsh Government website.
Finance Ministers call for greater clarity on budget cuts from UK Government
The finance ministers of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have issued a joint letter to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on key finance issues ahead of the UK Budget in March.
Alongside greater clarity for budget cuts, the letter calls for the UK Government to announce the Budget earlier in the autumn. An earlier announcement would allow more time for devolved administrations to consider its impact on their own budgets ahead of the start of the next financial year. The letter also calls for a commitment from the UK Government that no further reductions will be made to devolved budgets, as these are already facing real term cuts.
Visit the Welsh Government website for more information.
Cabinet Secretary for Children announces £7.8m to prevent homelessness
The Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children, Carl Sargeant AM, has announced a £7.8m grant to fund the Homeless Prevention Programme for 2017/18.
The grant will support third sector organisations and local authorities to deliver frontline services with the aim of preventing homelessness. The Homelessness Prevention Programme helps those effected by homelessness through the provision of advice services, night shelters, hostels, outreach work, mediation and bond schemes.
The BAYS Mediation & Home Support service, managed by Barnardo’s Cymru, is one of the services set to benefit from the funding. BAYS supports homeless young people in Swansea to settle any arguments and differences within their family that prevent them from residing at the family home.
Visit the Welsh Government website for more information.
Should the National Assembly for Wales change its name?
The National Assembly for Wales has launched a consultation to get the public’s opinion on whether the Assembly should change its name, and if so, to what?
You can have your say by completing one of these surveys on the consultation webpage here:
The closing date for this consultation is 3rd March 2017.
The Information and Advice Action Plan
The Information and Advice Action Plan was published by the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children on 14th December 2016. It sets out how the Welsh Government will work with partner organisations to improve access to good quality information and advice services in Wales.
The Action Plan supports the links between information and advice and other key priorities such as tackling poverty, financial inclusion and our strategic equality objectives. In particular, there are strong links with our Financial Inclusion Delivery Plan, also published on 14th December.
The Information and Advice Action Plan document can be accessed via the following link below.
The Financial Inclusion Delivery Plan document can be accessed via the following link below.
Safeguarding and safer recruitment
A resource for the third sector organisations in Wales working with children, young people and adults at risk.
WCVA has collated a Trusted Supplier List to recommend to third sector organisations in Wales.
The List identifies those DBS Umbrella Registered Bodies that can access checks on your behalf; they have been carefully selected to match as closely as possible the service provided under WCVA Criminal Records Unit.
My Daddy… The Alcoholic…
Warning: This is an honest account of a young persons life with an alcoholic father, dealing with issues of domestic violence, alcoholism, mental health and suicide. Some readers may find the content of this article disturbing.
If you are affected by any of the issues raised in the article then there are links at the bottom of the article of organisations that can help. This article originally appeared on TheSprout, an information and advice website for young people in Cardiff.
Alcohol – Something they say can make you feel a little more carefree; something that unleashes your ‘inner dancing queen’; and if drunk too much, something that gives you a little headache in the morning… yeah right!
For me, alcohol has provided me with a soul-crushing lifetime hangover since before I can remember. Alcohol has changed my life. Sometimes it’s ruined it, sometimes it’s saved me (the relationship break-up saviour) and sometimes I’ve blamed it on every little bad thing that’s ever happened to me. Why might you ask? ‘Why?’ has always been the question that fills my brain when the lights turn off at night, alcohol is why.
I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t enjoy a good tipple or two on the weekends; I even worked in a bar during my student days. However, the after-effects of a ‘few pints or two’ have lasted more than the average hangover. Alcohol is the reason why my mind and the cliché heart on my sleeve have felt hung-over pretty much my whole entire life.
Growing up, I had a Mum and I had a ‘Dad’; however, he was two completely different people. My Dad, well, he was kind, he was intelligent and he had the social standings of a saint; that was until he had a bottle or two of whisky down him and he turned into someone unrecognisable. He turned into the monster that haunted my every living day.
Good Memories Of An Alcoholic Father
It’s hard to think of a time when my father was ever sober. I guess, growing up, seeing him swig whatever ‘devils drink’ he could get his hands on was pretty much the norm. Sometimes, it didn’t even necessarily make him a liability; alcohol, for some part, has given me some of my favourite memories of him.
Like this one time, I came home from school and there was a park in my garden (like a proper park!). He told me that he’d stolen the local park (which I may add was my absolute paradise as a child) and that everyone was going to be jealous of me. We spent that afternoon, until the early night swinging and sliding, until my mother started shouting, yelling at us to get in so that I could have a bath ready for school the next day.
Me being me, I believed that he’d stolen said park up until a few years ago. In hindsight, he actually just worked for the local council and he got given it before they threw it to the tip. But hey, that day will forever be my favourite day with him. With that said, there’ll always be something else in the background of that day that will always play a bigger part, that being the bottle of Bells that he couldn’t even put down to push me on the swing. Although, sometimes, there were okay times like this, alcohol will always find its way to tarnish every little good memory I have of him.
Broken Promises And An Absent Father
The bad stuff, well, that’s what gives me the lifetime hangover. I remember spending Father’s Day waiting for him to come home so that I could give him his present. I remember living off beans and toast because he’d spent all our money on drink. I remember the shouting, the fights, the erratic behaviour. I remember him battering my mother to a pulp and leaving her there, sometimes conscious, sometimes unconscious, bleeding, crying, surrounded by broken whisky bottles.
I remember my Dad spending Christmas Day falling into the tree because he was so blind drunk, ‘accidentally’ burning the turkey because he’d passed out on the sofa with a heavy head of ‘alcoholic dutch courage’. I remember the cuts on his face from face-planting the pavement on his way home from the pub. I remember him spending every other minute not spent at the pub at the bottom of the garden in his shed (which us kids were banned from… who knows what he was doing).
I remember the broken promises, the empty whisky bottles and feeling like I’d never mean as much to him as his signature bottle of spirit. I remember his illness; he spent his day topping up the never-ending bottle of whisky, losing himself in the process. Alcohol was his first love and we, his family just simply fell short.
Eventually, I began to hate the man my father had become. The happy memories became few and far between and eventually, after years of living with an alcohol abuser, my mum decided to up and go.
Leaving a drunk that had made everyday a living hell; that was easy. Leaving the hope of ever getting my perfect, strong daddy back; that was a different story. Everyone wants to have a father who cares.
Even with our newfound freedom, we still weren’t free of my father and his demons. He followed us. He’d sit outside my primary school threatening to kidnap us. More so, he’d threaten to kill himself and take us kids with him. He’d constantly phone. He’d sit in my back garden and watch us through the window. Police presence became the norm, his actions even more so.
Alcohol had not only taken the idealistic father figure out of my family unit, it had taken his mental and physical health. My father became a shell of the man that once spent his afternoon pushing me on the swings. Alcohol had taken the only man that I ever wanted comfort from. I was no longer ‘daddy’s little princess’ and he was no longer my ‘King’. His kindness, his intelligence and his social standing of a saint had died; just with every little bit of respect I had for him.
Eventually, the endless phone calls became fewer, I no longer saw him at the school gates waiting for me, the Police Constable no longer spent his evenings playing Snakes & Ladders with me and my mum’s worries were non-existent. It was as if my father had got on the nearest freight train and disappeared before my very eyes. I didn’t quite mind that much though. I was happy to be away from the walking bottle of whisky.
To some extent anyway… you’re always going to want your parent to admit defeat and come running back to you. Every Christmas was still spent sitting on the bottom step of the stairs, opposite the door, waiting for him to come in and apologise for what he’d put us all through. Every birthday, I still expected that card through the front door and even at some points, I wanted him to be waiting at the school gate. He never showed, ever again.
Losing My Father
I waited, I wanted, I needed and I expected him to show. Until my dreams were shattered on one very dark morning of September. I got up that morning and put my brand new Year 7 school uniform on to find out that my dad had taken his own life. I was 11, my father just 37 years old. I guess my father had admitted defeat in the wrong way, letting his addictions kill him. That was the hard bit. The father that once spent his Sundays walking up the mountains with me, the one that took me to my paradise park as a child – he was gone, alongside every hope of a happy reunion. Alcohol and his addictions were the main culprits, his lack of ability to speak to people was the second.
As a child, I used to think he was selfish. I used to think he was incredibly weak, but as I’ve grown older, I’ve opened my eyes wide to the thought of addiction and mental health struggles. My father wasn’t a monster, he wasn’t weak, he just needed that courage to open up and do something about the things that were tormenting him. He needed to admit he was ill, admit he was an addict and take responsibility for his actions.
I don’t know what made my father turn to drink, but what I do know is that it’s shaped me in more ways than I could ever imagine. My father will continue to be the biggest influence in my life; he’s shown me what not to do when it comes to living on this Earth.
A Lifetime Hangover
People see alcohol addiction as something you can just stop. Like, you wake up one day and decide you’re not going to drink anymore. That you choose to bring down the people you love alongside you. My dad did choose drink, but I doubt he thought it would ever be the reason why he no longer shares this Earth with me or why sometimes, I cry myself to sleep at night.
Alcohol, for me, will always be the main reason why I cry on Father’s Day, why I feel a little jealous when I see people walking down the street hand-in-hand with their dads. Alcoholism is always going to be the reason why I’ve spent the last 23 birthdays without him. Whether he was out at the pub or whether they’ve been spent without him even living, alcohol addiction is always going to be the reason for his absence.
Alcohol is all well and good in small quantities, just please don’t let it take over your life like my father did. If you’re drifting off course, there is help out there and more so; there are people like me that wish you’d just speak out and get help before it’s too late. Don’t let anyone else go through this lifetime hungover like I am.
Help Is Out There
If you are worried about any issues relating to alcohol abuse, be it a family member, a friend, or yourself, then there are organisations out there that can help:
Wales Drug and Alcohol Helpline. Free and bilingual helpline giving further information or help relating to drugs or alcohol.
Freephone: 0808 808 2234
Text: DAN to 81066
Groups of people sharing their experiences, strengths and hopes to help others recover from alcoholism. Helping people to stay sober and helping others achieve sobriety.
Freephone: 0800 9177 650
Cruse Bereavement Care Wales
Somewhere to turn when someone dies. Free and confidential services provided by trained volunteers.
Freephone: 0808 808 1677
Live Fear Free
Information and advice for those suffering with domestic abuse, sexual violence and other form of violence against women.
Freephone: 0808 802 4040
Advice and support for those experiencing mental health problems.
Mind Infoline: 0300 123 3393
Someone on your side. Helpline service for children and young people up to 25 in Wales.
Freephone: 0808 80 23456
Online chat: www.meic.cymru
Community and town council election awareness 2017
Information about standing for election as a community or town councillor.
What are community and town councils?
Community and town councils are the most local level of government in Wales, existing in 735 communities in rural, small town, suburban and urban parts of the country. They are statutory authorities, with powers defined in legislation in relation to the provision of certain local services and amenities, and have a right to consultation in areas such as town and country planning. Community and town councils have the power to raise a precept, and are elected bodies, with members accountable to the public through the ballot box. Collectively, community and town councils in Wales engage some 8,000 individuals in voluntary service as councillors, and are responsible for managing an aggregate annual budget in excess of £40 million.
How many community and town councils are there in Wales and where are they based?
As at the end of September 2013, there are 735 community and town councils in Wales, collectively covering 96% of the nation’s land surface and approximately 70% of its population. The extent and number of community and town councils has remained largely stable over the last 25 years.
There is considerable diversity in the size and setting of community and town councils. The population served by community and town councils ranges from 179 (Ganllwyd, Gwynedd) to 45,145 (Barry, Vale of Glamorgan). More than two-thirds of community and town councils have populations of less than 2,500 people, according to the 2011 Census.
Where do Community and town councils get their funding and income from?
Community and town councils in Wales are responsible for spending over £40 million of public funds each year (of which £30 million is raised through the precept),41 an increase of around £15 million on the estimated position in 2002.42 They differ from other community groups and partnerships in being able to raise funds from taxation through a precept to council tax. This capacity brings with it responsibility for the sound and accountable management of finances..
The major source of funding for community councils is the precept. The aggregate precept set by community councils for 2013/14 totals over £30 million, but is heavily weighted by the higher precepts set by larger community councils. [The latest figure for 2016/17 is £36.4 million (BR1 data collection)]
What services do community and town councils provide?
All community and town councils provide services or amenities to local communities to some extent, however the nature, scale and range of services and amenities supported varies by the size and setting of councils. The most widely provided amenities reported to the 2010 Community and Town Councils Survey include noticeboards; seats and shelters; playing fields, parks and open spaces; village halls or community centres; war memorials; burial grounds; and street lighting, all of which are provided by more than a quarter of community and town councils.
Only signs and noticeboards are provided by a majority of community and town councils of all sizes. A majority of councils with populations above 1,000 people also provide seats and shelters, whilst playing fields and playgrounds are provided by a majority of councils serving populations of between 2,500 and 5,000 people, but not higher (possibly indicating that in larger settlements, playing fields and playgrounds are more commonly provided by principal authorities). A majority of large community and town councils with populations above 20,000 operate community centres. Larger community councils also tend to provide a wider range of amenities and services.
Guide to community and town councils
A guide to community and town councils and more information on the role of community and town councillors is available on the One Voice Wales website (external link).
Hoarding service in North Wales
You are invited to participate in a survey concerning provision of a Hoarding Service in North Wales. The purpose of this survey is to collect information on professionals’ experiences of hoarding, what support is currently available to those affected, and your thoughts on further development of such a service.
The information collected is to be used to apply for funding to continue the existing hoarding service in Flintshire, develop the capacity of this service, and potentially provide a similar service in other parts of North Wales.
The survey consists of 13 questions and should take 5 minutes to complete. The questions in this survey do not ask you to reveal any personally identifying information and IP addresses are not collected so your responses will be anonymous.
To complete the survey, click on the following link: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/CRNEW_HoardingService
The survey will be open until 1st February.
If you have questions about please contact Catherine Davies on 01352 758 700 (ex.205) or via email, email@example.com
Care & Repair North East Wales thank you in advance, they appreciate the time you have taken to complete this survey.
The Wrexham We Want
Wrexham Public Services Board recently asked people a really simple question: “What do you want Wrexham to be?”
They also asked what might get in the way of it happening. And what public services and communities need to do to make it happen.
If you provided your views, you’ve already made an important contribution to the future of Wrexham.
Because the answers you gave them have been combined with other feedback and information to produce Wrexham’s Well-Being Assessment, it’ll help them understand what’s important to Wrexham – pin-pointing the big issues and challenges that people really care about.
Wrexham PSB will use this to develop a plan for Wrexham County Borough that will set out how everyone will work together to create ‘The Wrexham We Want.’
But before they start planning, they want to make sure they heard you right.
Have they identified the things that matter?
This plan will shape the present and future of Wrexham County Borough.
It’ll shape their approach to things like employment, the environment, health, equalities, communities, culture and Welsh language.
Is there anything they need to change? Is there anything they’ve missed?
Your voice matters. And with your help, Wrexham PSB can hopefully create the Wrexham we all want. For ourselves, and for future generations.
They look forward to hearing your views.
To find out more visit ‘The Wrexham We Want’ webpage.
Wrexham Pain Support Group
Wrexham Pain Support Group are a recently formed group following a Pain Management Programme delivered by the Wrexham Pain Management Team.
They meet every Tuesday morning between 10am and 12.30pm in the Community Room at Wrexham Tesco Extra (Crescent Road, Wrexham. LL13 8HF).
Their aim is to bring together fellow chronic pain sufferers to offer help and support (physical, emotional and practical). They are looking to provide a place for people to touch base and where they can share their experiences.
The Pain Management Team have also said that, if they have enough members who need support in a specific area, they will make time to visit the Pain Support Group address that need.
We are all too aware that living with chronic pain can lead to isolation and depression and we hope that we can offer friendship and a place to belong.
In addition the Support Group can offer access to reduced membership fees at Total Fitness gym which offers accessible equipment, changing rooms, a hydrotherapy pool and heat treatments in the form of saunas, steam rooms etc.
They believe that they can help to reduce the load on GPs by providing an alternative place for people living with chronic pain to express their worries and concerns and receive positive support in return, whilst waiting for access to the Pain Team or when other alternatives are no longer helpful.
The group would appreciate any support that GPs can offer in terms of letting their patients, who are living with chronic pain, know about their service which they hope will be valuable in helping them to manage their conditions.
Contacts: Sue Nelson and Sue Roberts
Epic Awards 2017
The Epic Awards are awarded annually for creative projects and groups that involve people who participate for the love of it and on an amateur basis across the UK and Republic of Ireland.
The awards shine a spotlight on their incredible achievements and recognise the skill, innovation and hard work that they put into their activities.
We’re seeking applications from groups or projects that embody the EPIC characteristics: Engagement, Partnerships, Innovation and Creative Development. It’s easy to enter your group or project, so visit www.epicawards.co.uk and apply by 5pm, Thursday 12 January 2017.
Smartphone App will help people find the quickest care
People in North Wales who need treatment for an injury can now get up to the minute information on waiting times at the regions Minor Injuries Units and Emergency Departments.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has teamed up with the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust who have developed a smartphone app that lets people find out how many people are waiting at different and hospitals and the current waiting times for patients needing non-urgent treatment.
The app also gives opening times, contact details and directions to the different units, as well as outlining the types of care they provide.
By making this information easily available to the public, it will help people choose the best place to get help when they have suffered an injury. Even if it involves a longer journey, in many cases more rapid care is available by going to a Minor Injuries Unit, rather than a major hospital Emergency Department which always has to prioritise the care of people with urgent and potentially life-threatening conditions.
North Wales is the first area to join in with this development since it was initially set up for Staffordshire.
Liz Rix, Chief Nurse at the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, said: “This is an innovative way of helping the public choose which health provider best suits their needs, whether that’s an A&E or a local minor injuries unit. It’s often the case that patients with minor conditions can be treated without the need to visit an acute hospital.
“The app gives real-time information on waiting times and show how busy the departments are at any time during the day. This is about empowering patients to make the most appropriate choice for them.”
Nigel Lee, who is the Health Board’s Director of Secondary Care said
“With the winter upon us we know that our Emergency Departments are going to be incredibly busy over the next three months, dealing with many people who are seriously ill. This can mean that people whose conditions are not urgent can face long waits to be seen.
“But the NHS in Wales offers many ways to get healthcare quickly – local pharmacists are qualified health professionals who can advise on treatments for many common illnesses using simple ‘over-the-counter’ remedies, while our minor injuries units are a way for people who have suffered less-serious injuries to get the care they need.
“This app is a great way for people who have been injured to work out where is the best place to go to get seen with a minimum of delay.”
The app can be downloaded for free right now from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store by searching for ‘Live Wait Times’. A version for Windows phones will also be developed.
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