Page 1

Issue 57 Spring 2012

Step into Volunteering! The newsle er for voluntary organisa ons and community groups in Rhondda Cynon Taf

Interlink News

Welcome ..... to the Spring edi on of Interlink’s Newsle er. If you would like to contribute to the next issue please send your ar cles, informa on, job vacancies or adver sements by: 10 August 2012 to Cara Jordan-Evans at Interlink by E-mail:

If you require any ar cles translated into Welsh or any other format please get in touch.

Interlink says farewell to Thea Lewis and Vince Price Interlink would like to thank Thea Lewis and Vince Price for their incredible service to the voluntary sector over many years, and their commitment as Interlink trustees. They represented very different sides of the Sector.

Vince Price developed Cynon Valley Crime Preven on Associa on into a highly successful social enterprise in areas including community safety and home insula on, as well as developing a successful charity arm.

Thea Lewis worked relessly and in an unpaid capacity with Pontypridd Talking News and the Women’s Ins tute, also ac ng as Interlink’s Treasurer.

Vince Price

In this issue we have: Interlink News Volunteering Engagement Gateway Learn RCT SEE Change Training Health & Social Care Local News Social Enterprise

2 3-5 6-8 9 10 11 12-13 14-15 16

Our address: 6 Melin Corrwg, Cardiff Road Upper Boat, Pontypridd CF37 5BE Telephone number: 01443 846200 Fax: 01443 844843 E-mail: Website: Office opening mes are: Monday - Thursday: 9.00am - 5.00pm Friday: 9.00am - 4.30pm

Thea Lewis

However, what they had in common was their belief in the capacity of the voluntary sector to make a difference in communi es, and a willingness to always be on hand to help others.

The voluntary sector in RCT owes them a huge debt, and Interlink will be all the poorer following their ‘re rement’ from the Execu ve Board.

Goodbye Andrew Rowlands and hello to Meriel . . . Andrew Rowlands has been with Interlink only 7 months but made a significant impact in that short me as Social Enterprise Officer, bringing a more business focused approach to Interlink new Social Enterprise Service. Unfortunately for Interlink, Andrew’s personal circumstances meant he has emigrated to Canada, and we wish him every success in the future. His place has been taken by Meriel ... ... a er two years on WCVA’s ESF funded Engagement Gateway project. I am very excited about this new role as it will enable me to help organisa ons and individuals develop their Social Enterprise ideas into fully fledged businesses benefi ng communi es in RCT. I have experience of working in successful business roles and assis ng groups and enterprises. There is a fund a ached to my post: SEWCED - a European Regional Development Fund that aims to build economic sustainable communi es. This project offers both revenue and capital support. I look forward to working with you and your Social Enterprise ideas in the near future. ‘Together we will achieve!’ For further informa on contact me by E-mail:

Page 2


RCT Volunteer Centre Rhondda Cynon Taf Volunteer Centre has two main func ons. The first involves suppor ng voluntary organisa ons in RCT and the second is to support volunteers. We support voluntary organisa ons to develop quality volunteer management prac ces by providing quality advice, informa on, support and training. We have a trained Inves ng In Volunteers assessor and advisor as part of the team. We also support organisa ons to recruit volunteers by publicising the volunteering opportuni es they have available.

The second part of our role involves suppor ng poten al volunteers, by iden fying appropriate volunteering opportuni es, matching their skills, interests, future plans and life experience to opportuni es and referring them to an organisa on of their choice. The Volunteer Centre also organises the Volunteers Awards Evening, which celebrates volunteering and the achievements of volunteers in RCT. It is wonderful to see so many volunteers get together and celebrate the diversity of their roles and to acknowledge the impact volunteering has in our community.

To make it easier for poten al volunteers we have outreach in different venues around RCT: Monday morning at Interlink in Upper Boat with Chris or Sam. Monday morning at Porth Library with Thomas. Tuesday morning at Llantrisant Library (based in Llantrisant Leisure Centre) with Chris. Wednesday morning in Treorchy Library with Thomas. Friday morning in Aberdare Library with Chris. Friday morning in Pontypridd Library with Thomas.

Dates for your Diary Social Enterprise Forum 25 April 2012 9.30am - 12.30pm Interlink Contact Ken Moon

Mental Health Forum and AGM 24 May 2012 10.00am - 12.00pm Contact Maria Abson

HSCWB, CYD and MH Joint Event 14 June 2012 9.30am - 12.30pm Coleg Morgannwg Llwynypia Contact Anne Morris or Maria Prosser

Money and Advice Market Friday 6 July 2012 10.00am - 1.00pm Pontypridd YMCA Contact Kath Price

Mental Health Forum 24 July 2012 10.00am - 12.00pm Contact Maria Abson

Chris ne



To make an appointment to meet with someone from the volunteering team call Interlink on 01443 846200 .

For more ‘dates for your diary’ check out the ‘What’s On’ sec on on our website

Page 3


Uncle Sam needs you! Or rather you need Uncle Sam Considering volunteering? Feel free training and 1 to 1 support would be beneficial? Then Uncle Sam is here to help. Sound too good to be true? Well it’s not! The Wales Volunteering project is specifically open to those with mental health condi ons or physical disabili es, so it’s not everyone. But for those of you, or more likely your clients - who do fit the criteria, we will be rolling out a full package of support from 2 April. This is a fantas c opportunity to enter volunteering, especially with the challenges in the job market. In a very difficult me for all, it is those furthest from gaining work who are being hit the hardest. We intend to change that. Sam can’t promise any grand success, or a guaranteed job at the end, but he will help make your CV much healthier, help increase your skills and knowledge and support your job applica ons with a fresh set of skills.

The training offered by this project will be keyskills based, offering sessions on subjects like confidence, me management, asser veness and managing stress. This will all be hosted at Interlink, and completely free to the volunteer. We can offer addi onal 1-1 support to get you established in the voluntary placement, and a refined matchmaking process to insure that everyone comes away with a placement that is right for them. Star ng something new can be a bit scary, so there will be on-going support every step of the way un l you feel comfortable in your new role.

Sounds awesome Sam, where do I go next? Well you can drop Sam a line on 01443 846200 or E-mail him at

Interlink Volunteers Celebra on Evening 2012 If you know a volunteer, or a group of volunteers who are making a real difference to people’s lives, or the community they live in, now is the me to show your apprecia on by nomina ng them for the Interlink Volunteer Awards 2012. This year the event will be held on 15 June 2012 at Abercwmboi Rugby Club, Aberdare. It’s important to get your entries in as early as possible, as invita ons to the Volunteers Celebra on Evening will be awarded on a first come first served basis, with priority given to organisa ons who have never a ended the event.

The winner of the Norah Huxley award for outstanding achievement will be selected by the audience, from a short list of three via an electronic vo ng system on the night. So don’t miss out in 2012, if you want your volunteers to a end this year’s event on 15 June 2012 get your entries in as soon as possible (deadline of 11 May 2012).

Last year’s event saw 130 volunteers and guests celebrate the impact they have in RCT with an evening that consisted of a presenta on ceremony (every volunteer nominated receives a cer ficate), a two course meal, live entertainment and a disco. GTRA - winners of the Norah Huxley award 2011

Nomina on forms are available to download via our website or E-mail: or in hard copy via 01443 846200. One form is already enclosed.

Page 4

Volunteering Young Heroes Recognised at Vol Factor Celebra on Evening 30 local young heroes from Rhondda Cynon Taf were recognised at Interlink’s Vol Factor celebra on evening, held at the Feelgood Factory in Abercynon, on 20 March 2012. The event was held to celebrate the contribu ons volunteers aged 16-25 made to the seven projects which received grants from Interlink’s Youth-Led Grant scheme, known as The Vol Factor, in 2011-12. Par cipants gave brief presenta ons explaining their projects, and received cer ficates from Interlink’s Chief Execu ve, Simon James. Thomas Crocke , Interlink’s Youth Volunteering Advisor, said, ‘Once again the panel has done terrifically well to allocate money to such a range of excellent projects, and their efforts were recognized recently by an internal piece of research into Youth-Lead grants in Wales. The young people’s enthusiasm for their projects came across loud and clear in our Celebra on Evening, so I am delighted to say that we have secured funding for the scheme once again for 2012/13.’

Funded by GwirVol, the Welsh Assembly partnership promo ng Youth Volunteering, the Vol Factor’s panel of four handed out a total of £4800 to schemes as diverse as Teckno UK, a street dance project run by Maerdy Kidz R Us, a brand new project establishing Blind and Par ally Sighted Youth Groups, coordinated by Cardiff Vales and Valleys/RNIB Cymru, RCT People First’s Daerwonno Project, and award winning Youth Theatre sessions ran by students from Ysgol Y Pant.

Also successful in receiving funding were Fernhill Youth Project’s Halloween Ghost trip, and Drink Awareness and Confidence Building projects ran by Rathbone UK in Pontypridd and Aberdare.

For further informa on on the Vol Factor grant scheme, please contact Thomas Crocke on 01443 846200, or by E-mail: tcrocke

GwirVol Grants 2012-2013 GwirVol is pleased to announce the launch of the 2012-2013 round 1 youth volunteering grants. The aim of the GwirVol Youth Volunteering Grants scheme is to support the delivery of a wide range of new volunteering opportuni es in Wales and overseas that will support the steep change in access to volunteering for young people aged 14-25 and especially for disadvantaged young people. The GwirVol grant scheme offers five different strands of funding. Crea ng Opportuni es: For organisa ons looking to create new youth volunteering projects. Promo ons: For organisa ons looking to promote the benefits or challenge the percep ons of volunteering to young people or about young people to their local communi es.

Interna onal: For organisa ons looking to develop overseas volunteering opportuni es that benefit young people and their communi es in Wales as well. Millennium Volunteers: For organisa ons looking to recognise the commitment young people give to volunteering through offering the 200 hour award of excellence. How to apply: You can get more informa on and download the applica on forms and guidance at: The deadline for applica ons is 2.00pm on Wednesday 13 June 2012. GwirVol also runs the StreetGames grants which are open all year with no closing date. Go to grants now!

Page 5

Engagement Gateway

RCT Homes Engagement Gateway Project January 2012 This Engagement Gateway project seeks to provide valuable supported work experience in a commercial warehousing environment, offering opportuni es to develop transferable skills, life skills, confidence, mo va on and obtain credit based qualifica ons, improving their prospects of becoming economically ac ve and closer to employment. Jamie Williams is 23 from Tonyrefail He le school with several GCSEs, a ended college to study pain ng and decora ng and has worked in Rees Davies and The Longbow, Llantrisant, as a Kitchen Assistant. Job Centre Plus informed Jamie about RCT Homes Engagement Gateway project where he plans to stay for the next 6 months. Since joining the Gateway project Jamie has completed a Health and Safety Cer ficate and has received Construc on Skills Cer ficate Scheme (CSCS) training. He has also been involved in pain ng flats, drilling and plastering. Jamie acknowledges the Gateway project has improved his confidence and he looks forward to his new found skills finding him work as a painter and decorator.

Douglas Holland Whi aker is 40 and also from Tonyrefail. He has taken part in various schemes and volunteering (specifically with Grow of Pontypridd) since leaving school and is now taking part in RCT Homes Gateway project for the next 6 months. He has received CSCS, Health and Safety and First Aid training. Douglas has been ac ve in ge ng windows ready to be cut up for recycling and delivering kitchens for Richmonds whilst on his Gateway project – real work experience!

Douglas says: ‘It’s good being here –you enjoy yourself! I am looking forward to the grass cu ng season that starts in March –I’ll be out a lot –I like being outside! RCT Homes has given me experience of going outside on the vans with grass cu ng, I’ve taught new guys how to use the tools and I’ve been a Team Leader. They’ve helped me with my Health and Safety, First Aid and just helped me build my skills!’

Of the Gateway project Jamie says: ‘It’s good to be ac ve and I enjoy ge ng along with new people. This course helps you get work, you get more confident and it’s enjoyable!’

Page 6

Jonathan Davies is 19 years old and lives in Ynyshir. Jonathan le school with a few GCSEs and went to college to do a BTEC in Construc on for a year. He then linked in with Hi-Tec in Porth and learnt plastering, ling, maths, english and science. Since joining RCT Homes Engagement Gateway project Jonathan has learnt about glass recycling and had first-hand experience of pain ng flats in several Valley’s communi es. Jonathan has also completed First Aid and Health and Safety Cer ficates.

Engagement Gateway Wade Maiden lives in Pontygwaith and is 19 years old. Before star ng on the Gateway project Wade completed a BTEC first Diploma Level 2 in Engineering. The A4E Agency (through the Government) found him a placement with RCT Council where he learnt Landscape Gardening, First Aid, IT Compu ng Level 1, but then he could not find a job. Since joining the Gateway with RCT Homes he has completed First Aid, CSCS and Health and Safety training, learnt about and experienced preparing window glass and plas c for recycling and pain ng Council flats.

Jonathan says, ‘This project is ok- I haven’t really seen everything yet, I look forward to coming here, I like pain ng and cleaning in the Council houses and enjoy being with the people in the team. It’s fun learning, I’m beginning to be more myself and less shy! I am thinking about working for myself but it is the cost. I would go back to college to learn construc on, do a bit of everything! You’re ge ng used to people in the community really, over four hours per day, I do four days a week on this project’.

Wade has aspira ons to own his own business in general construc on (brick laying, gardening). ‘I will go to college/further learning to help. I could paint before I started here as I learnt with the Council. I now have an appe te to work, there are nice people here, I mix well with them – a good team! The people I am here with on the project have a friendly a tude, it’s a good working environment and good quality learning. I also want to do a food hygiene cer ficate. I used to distribute leaflets and I’ve been back and forth to factories every two weeks giving in my CV. I cannot stand it on the dole. At least I have something to do now!’

Opportuni es at Toogoodtowaste Toogoodtowaste’s Engagement Gateway project provides work based learning, training and volunteering within retail, customer care and a call centre in a community re-use and recycling service based in Rhondda Cynon Taf. Sean Evans is 22 years old from Maerdy. A er school Sean joined A4E and completed various courses including a mini appren ceship plastering course, and a sports course in Trebanog. Sean went to college and gained a Level 2 Cer ficate in Plumbing. Via Manpower he had a Care Assistant placement for 6 months but it was not the job for him. Sean has been on the Gateway project at Toogoodtowaste since November 2011 and during that me he has

learnt about customer service and has completed a Health and Safety qualifica on. His confidence has increased whilst using the telephone and in face to face conversa on. Of the Toogoodtowaste Gateway project Sean says ‘I want to be in retail – to see how far I can go. My experience so far is that the Gateway course is definitely worthwhile! It is a great opportunity – you can learn about Health and Safety and that could take you a long way. I’ve recommended this project to all my friends and family, here you can get experience – the overall result is a paid job!

Page 7

Engagement Gateway More Opportuni es at Toogoodtowaste Liz Jones is 31 years old from Pontypridd, and is a single mum of an 8 year old child. ‘I was looking for a job – I am a trained Pharmacy Dispenser and most of my work experience has been in retail. I am currently looking for work in retail or office work.’ Liz has been on Toogoodtowaste’s Gateway project since May 2011 and has completed Customer Service and Manual Handling qualifica ons. Liz recognises the Gateway project has provided another layer to her confidence and more structure in her diary. Liz says it is easy to get into a rut and fill your me with looking for work and doing the house work. Of the Gateway project Liz says ‘A very posi ve experience, it gives you the chance to look into the future with hope! Toogoodtowaste are really lovely, Jennifer Evans could not be more suppor ve and understanding. I have spoken to a couple of people about the possibility of them joining the Gateway project. There is no such thing as a useless cer fica on!’ Leanne Wait is 33 years old from Wa stown. The Job Centre referred Leanne to Interlink’s Volunteer Centre who in turn referred Leanne to Toogoodtowaste’s Gateway project. Leanne Says ‘Before my son was born I worked in a factory building components for fire ex nguishers. My son is now 13 years old. I started this Gateway project in January 2012. I am on the switch board answering the telephone, filling in paperwork for customer collec ons. I have completed a Health and Safety qualifica on and have much more confidence. I feel happier in myself because I am not stuck inside the house. Toogoodtowaste treat you like part of the family, they are a very friendly bunch. My eyes have opened to the possibility of what’s next!’ Alison Williams is 17 years old from Pontygwaith and went to College to study beauty therapy but did not enjoy it. Alison has been on Toogoodtowaste’s Engagement Gateway project since November 2011. Whilst on the Gateway project she has learnt how to answer the telephone, serve customers and operate the ll, and so far has achieved Health and Safety and Manual Handling qualifica ons.

Page 8

Catherine Lewis is 32 years old from Clydach Vale and is a single mother of two teenage children, she now has more me to look for work. Catherine linked in with A4E via the Job Centre in Tonypandy and then joined the Gateway project. Since taking part in the Gateway she has been based in Toogoodtowaste’s Call Centre answering the telephone, inpu ng data on to the computer and general admin du es and has completed Manual Handling and IOSH Health and Safety Cer ficate since star ng the project in October 2011. Of the Gateway project Catherine says, ‘My confidence has improved and I have developed skills in the Call Centre work. I would like to find work. I was always bored in the house, I think the children see me more posi ve now that I’m working at Toogoodtowaste. I recommend them to my family, it’s a really good environment, helping people into work and helping people on benefit who need furniture.


Alison says ‘I am more confident around people! I am a lot happier and feel a bit more grown up, more capable, more reliable! I want to go back to college to do Maths GCSE to get a job or appren ceship. Toogoodtowaste are awesome! Brilliant! Everyone is friendly and helpful, they explain and help you through everything. It’s good here because everyone is friendly!’

Learn RCT

Learn RCT Project Over the year, the LEARN RCT Project has been providing unemployed and economically inac ve people with the support needed to enter into volunteering, employment or learning. The project has worked with par cipants all over RCT, making links with a number of different partners with some fantas c success stories. Everyone who has taken part has been offered 1:1, tailored support to suit their individual needs, with ongoing encouragement from Jenny, the LEARN RCT Advisor at every step of the way. Zoe had been unemployed for over a year. A er an intermi ent work history and leaving school early, she felt frustrated and unsure of what to do next. A er mee ng Jenny, Zoe decided she would like to go back to college to improve her literacy and numeracy, however, felt that the applica on process was just too complicated and worrying. With the support offered through the project, filling out college applica on forms, helping with interview prepara on, a ending the enrolment session and finally finding financial support, Zoe is now studying part- me, 2 ½ days a week, to improve her own basic skills and also her prospects for her future career.

Miles had been out of work for around 10 years. Being out of the job market for so long had knocked his confidence in his ability to an extremely low level. He felt incompetent to look for work and was unsure of his own ability. As a way of boos ng his skills and confidence, Miles agreed to discuss the opportuni es available for voluntary work. A er agreeing to try it out, Miles started volunteering in a charity shop in a local hospital, where he hasn’t looked back. Miles says ‘I feel a lot more able than before… I’m fi er as I’m walking more, I’m talking more, I’m more approachable, I have a be er outlook in life and I’m happier… my father has no ced a difference in me since I started volunteering.’

Miles now feels confident enough to start a computer course and has started to apply for jobs, a er comple ng a CV with Jenny. In order to take part in the project, individuals need to be 16 and over, unemployed or economically inac ve and living in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

Zoe said of the project ‘me and the advisor got on so well... I am really enjoying the course and feel posi ve about my future now.’

If you would like to find out more about the project and how it can help you please contact Jenny Thomas on 01443 846200 or alterna vely E-mail:

‘Skills for Learning and Life’ is a free course for unemployed people living in RCT who want to learn new skills in a fun and safe way. This 6 week course takes place 1 day a week and offers you the chance to learn skills that could help you move forward into work, learning or voluntary work. 25/04 10:00 – 12:30

What is selfesteem and how can you build it?

1:00 – 3:30

How to start preparing for an interview






What is assertiveness?

Introduction to time management

Introduction to stress management

Your personal rights and self-perception

Setting your own goals

Introduction to interview techniques

Interview preparation – mock interview scenario’s

Introduction to customer services

Introduction to retail

How to use your body Language

For more informa on or to book a place contact Interlink on 01443 846200.

Page 9

SEE Change

The Journey Begins! See Change are teaming up with a new tutor to deliver a series of crea ve workshops star ng this spring. The sessions will be based around helping people to iden fy the assets and needs of both their community and themselves. Par cipants will be encouraged to take a more holisitc approach and gain the confidence to make changes where they want them. New tutor, Emma, has a background in pyschology and is par cularly interested in exploring personal development through crea ve methods. It is hoped that the sessions will allow learners to achieve more of their personal goals as, unlike many courses where mo va on may wane a er the sessions, the See Change team will con nue to support those who want further help with the new ideas they develop. The approach will use a range of tools to give the group’s work as much meaning as possible and the team are open to sugges ons from outside agencies who would like to contribute. The pilot areas will be Cornerstone Church in Cwmbach and another to be confirmed shortly. Anyone with an ac ve interest in their community is welcome to come along and take part! Following the success of last year’s mentoring taster course in Bryncynon’s Feel Good Factory, an Agored Cymru accredited course has been run at Glyncoch Community Centre.

A sec on of the course involved focusing on what skills and quali es par cipants had that would be useful when suppor ng others and this proved par cularly enlightening for many learners.

Mentoring Training One lady commented ‘I never realised how much I had to offer before today. Now I feel more confident that I can support someone who’s been through a similar experience to me and show them that things can get be er’. See Change’s Community Development course will follow on immediately from the mentoring training, allowing learners to put their new insights into a community context and look at suppor ng people who may face barriers to ge ng involved.

For more informa on about SEE Change courses contact Kelly Daniel by E-mail: or Helen Green by E-mail: or call 01443 846200.

Local Volunteering - RSVP’s ‘Welcome Friends’ Project The Re red and Senior Volunteer Programme (RSVP) engages people of 50 years in the life of their community through volunteering. As a recognised na onal delivery partner in the Welsh Government’s Strategy for Older People, with over 20 years experience of delivering quality projects for older people in Wales, RSVP is now delivering a new project based in Rhondda Cynon Taf called ‘Welcome Friends.’ Welcome Friends are looking to recruit volunteers (all ages please!!) to support and ‘buddy’ older people who need that extra bit of help to become involved in their community, by joining new clubs,

Page 10

or renewing old friendships and making new ones. Volunteering is at the heart of Welcome Friends. RSVP have long supported people staying independent in their homes and taking a part in their community. Welcome Friends hopes to achieve this by helping older people become more involved in their communi es. Which helps to improve health and wellbeing. Volunteers will be supported, and hopefully your volunteering will change your life as well, by gaining new friends, and inves ng your me in your community. Contact Lindsay on 07788310445 or E-mail:


Broaden your horizons ..... with Interlink training Influencing People Who Work in Local and Na onal Government

How to Get What You Want in Your Community

17 April 2012 9.30am - 12.30pm

18 May 2012 9.30am - 4.30pm

First Aid

Sexual Health Founda on Course

19 April 2012 9.30am - 4.30pm

25 May 2012 9.30am - 4.30pm

So Skills and Distance Travelled

Community Development Level 2

20 April 2012 9.30am - 1.30pm

7, 14, 21 June 2012 9.30am - 4.00pm

Sexual Health - Engaging with Young People

Finance Training

26 & 27 April 2012 9.30am - 4.30pm

Social Media Networking 3 May 2012 9.30am - 4.30pm

Securing Finance: How to Generate Income Through Traiding 10 May 2012 9.30am - 12.30pm

How to Engage People in Learning 11 May 2012 9.30am - 12.30pm

11 June 2012 9.30am - 4.30pm

Introduc on to Tendering (1) 26 June 2012 9.30am - 12.30pm

Reduc on of Suicide and Self-Harm in Children and Young People Level 2 3 July 2012 9.30am - 4.30pm

Facilita on Skills 4 July 2012 9.30am - 12.30pm

Commi ee Skills

Get to Grips with RBA (Results Based Accountability)

9 July 2012 9.30am - 12.30pm

15 May 2012 9.30am - 12.30pm

Data Protec on

Person Centred Crea vity 17 May 2012 9.30am - 4.30pm

12 July 2012 9.30am - 12.30pm

Check out our training programme on our website for even more courses!

All courses held at Interlink unless otherwise stated. For more informa on call 01443 846200 or visit to download a training programme and booking form.

Page 11

Health and Social Care

Rhondda Breast Friends Celebrate First Year Success! Rhondda Breast Friends celebrated their first year of the Centre being officially opened in October 2010. A Celebra on party was held for members, supporters and those in partnership with RBF. This celebra on was extra special as it fi ed in with October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Pink Month. The party was well a ended. Since employing staff at the Centre, we have taken on two new volunteers this year, Jodi Williams and Joan Jones. Jodi comes to us from Coleg Morgannwg on a voluntary placement for her ‘Skill Build Course’. Joan Jones comes to us from George Thomas Hospice. Both Jodi and Joan volunteer their services through the week.

Joan Jones and Jodi Williams

Over the last year our members have been growing in number and gaining more from RBF through the new services that have been developed. These being Counselling, Complementary Therapies, Arts and Cra s and Medita on and Relaxa on Classes. We have also recently set up a computer class that runs once a week for our ladies. We are also looking to start light exercise classes. These sessions are to help support our members and give them a chance to take some me to have a li le bit of fun, laughter and someone to listen, which can make a huge difference in their every day life and their needs when affected by cancer. Our Mission Statement for RBF states, ‘To help all those affected by cancer’, so this year RBF will be opening the Centre to all cancers and genders. This will hopefully increase knowledge and support for the many out there who are ba ling with this disease. Whether a person is a carer or has been diagnosed with cancer, RBF are looking to support these people. Organisa ons such as Macmillan, will be working with us in this new venture.

Page 12

RBF have printed their second Calendar, which runs alongside the theme of the Olympic Sports being held in August. Our members had a lot of fun developing the Calendar at the photo shoots and are looking great. Along with the Calendar we have produced RBF wristbands. If you would like a wrist band, please contact the Centre on 01443 687556 or just drop in to the Rhondda Breast Friends Centre. The wristbands are a suggested dona on of £2 each.

Fundraising d i i is i also l extremely l iimportant to RBF as it helps to keep the Centre open. During 2011 we had several events such as ‘Nothings Gonna Stop Us’ Concert, ‘The Big Bite’ in Pontypridd, ‘Porth Carnival’ and lots of various dona ons from people who had gone to extraordinary lengths to raise money for us. This year we are compiling more ways to raise money through events such as ‘Walking On Sunshine’ Concert and ‘Ladies Only Evening.’ We also have a ‘Ladies Driving Skills’ and ‘Put Your Breast Foot Forward 10 Mile All Terrain Walk’ to look forward to with many more local events within the community. These events are put on by our supporters and we are really grateful for all their me and energy given freely to RBF to help us help others. These events are just the start of 2012 as we have so many more events we are looking to take part in. Thank you to every one who has supported RBF over the years and who are s ll suppor ng us, we are looking forward to 2012 with you all. For more informa on please see our website www.rhonddabreas or visit our Facebook page: Rhondda Breast Friends or contact Rachel Holland 01443 687556 or E-mail: rachel@rhonddabreas

Health and Social Care

Crystal Trophy Awards 2011 High Praise For Community Groups at Health Challenge Wales’ Crystal Trophy Awards 2011. Community groups promo ng healthy lifestyles and preven ng ill-health in Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil have been celebrated and rewarded at this year’s Crystal Trophy Awards. The event, organised by Cwm Taf’s Health, Social Care and Wellbeing Partnerships in conjunc on with Health Challenge Wales was held on 28 March 2012. The Crystal Trophy Awards aim to recognise and reward the achievements of local groups and organisa ons who are working to improve health and wellbeing across RCT and Merthyr Tydfil. They celebrate community projects and ac vi es that contribute to the delivery of health improvement, as well as the sustainable processes for involving and engaging communi es such as volunteering. A large number of extremely high quality applica ons were submi ed this year making the judging process very difficult. Four worthy winners were selected, each winning a prize fund of £1000. One of the four was then selected to receive the coveted Crystal Trophy itself. Rhondda Food Bank was the overall winner receiving the Crystal Trophy. This project, launched in November 2009 provides emergency, nutri ous food parcels free of charge to individuals and families in short term crisis.

It only takes a delay in benefits, an unexpected bill or redundancy to plunge many people into crisis unable to buy basic food. Most of the food stock they distribute comes from collec on days at local supermarkets along with dona ons from schools and churches. A family in need are able to have a food parcel delivered within 24 hours containing food to last them three days. The project relies heavily on volunteers to distribute and collect the food. Rhondda Food Bank has fed over 1600 people since its launch, 40% of whom were children. Rob Morgan from the Food Bank said, ‘we rely heavily on volunteers to run our service and have just taken on our first volunteer from Interlink.’

FADS Family Service, is an organisa on which helps to relieve poverty, sickness and distress for people who are affected by or who are dependent on drugs, alcohol and other substances, it provides a professional counselling and informa on and advice service along with an educa on programme that goes out to local schools raising awareness of addic on and health risks. FADS also offers a 24 hour telephone helpline 01685 814900. Tonyrefail Play Partnership provides school holiday play schemes for children that promotes freely chosen, self-directed play sessions essen al to the health and physical, social and emo onal wellbeing development of children. The schemes allow children the opportunity to experience play that they would not necessarily have at home or school, building confidence, self-esteem and self-worth. The Willows Centre in Merthyr Tydfil’s winning project aims to tackle social isola on and improve the fitness levels and wellbeing of older people. With an ac ve group of volunteers, many of them younger people from the local youth forum, they hold tea dances and a ernoon teas where people can meet and make friends, enjoy and benefit from exercise through sequence dancing and have access to a wealth of informa on and support.

Rhondda Food Bank

Page 13

Local News

Great News for Glyncoch Community A er an extraordinary five week campaign Glyncoch, in South Wales, will finally get the community centre it has dreamed of for seven years. We've had everything from a sponsored silence by the town cha erbox, and baths of baked beans, to a dona on from a Welsh descendant in Patagonia.

As the picture below suggests, Glyncoch is thrilled. The new centre will be finished this summer, providing a springboard to opportuni es at a me when the town is ba ling unemployment.

The town’s spirit has inspired everyone from Stephen Fry and Griff Rhys Jones, to the Welsh Rugby heroes, whose captain Sam Warbuton called the campaign ‘another victory for team Wales.’

But what just happened isn't just good news for an ex-mining town tucked in the Valleys. Glyncoch has hinted at a be er way of doing regenera on: fast, fun and powered by people.

Th this Then hi week, k with i h jjust 10 days d lle before b f the h community's grants expired, Tesco and the Moondance Founda on - a charitable fund set up by the founder of Admiral Insurance - stepped up with pledges of £10,000 each.

Rhondda Listening Friends Self Help Group We started in February 2009 and meet at St. Johns Church Hall at Ton-Pentre. We provide a comfortable confiden al se ng, to share our experiences or take part in ac vi es such as pain ng, kni ng, crochet, line dancing, quizzes etc. We look upon the group as being a preven ve measure to stop people becoming unwell, as we can offer advice to one another. The Group does make a difference to the people of the Rhondda. We are open on Mondays from 11.00am to 3.00pm you can stay for as long as we are open. Refreshments are available. For more informa on E-mail:

Page 14

Whether it's community centres, parks, or revitalised high streets, Spacehive’s refreshing new way of doing things is ready to transform a public space near you. For more informa on about this project visit h p://

Calling all community groups and support workers! Do you run small community social get-togethers? Or do you support people in their home? Why not add in some entertainment let’s re-invent the video! Toogoodtowaste now have hundreds of videos available for re-use at their charity shops in Ynyshir and Aberaman. Whilst many people have moved into DVDs these videos are s ll toogoodtowaste! Could local community groups have a small video library available within their centres, and exchange regularly with toogoodtowaste. If you are interested in sharing this community resource contact Lynda Davies at toogoodtowaste by E-mail:

Local News

Sunshine and Celebra ons for the Community of Pontypridd The sun shone down recently on the success of a community ac on group in Hawthorn, Pontypridd, as they unveiled the newly refurbished park between Laurel Avenue and Hawthorn Crescent.

The music then con nued throughout the a ernoon, with the Ilan Diamonds Jazz Band entertaining the crowd of local parents and their children with a display of their skills.

The park was reopened on Saturday 22 October during a ceremony filled with music and the happy sound of children playing. The day started with a procession, led by local band the Ilan Diamonds Jazz Band, from the yet to be refurbished Ynysycorrwg Park, around to the new park. Local Councillor and Vice-Chair of the Ac on Group, Mrs Teressa Bates officially opened the park with support from the Town Mayor, Mr Steve Carter, and Councillor Robert Bevan, Cabinet Member for Culture, Recrea on and Tourism.

During the opening event, residents also had the opportunity to complete a survey concerning their thoughts about the park, pick up informa on about the next fund-raising event for the second park and volunteer to help supervise the parks. The total refurbishment cost of £49,000 has been raised by the hard work of a band of local residents, together with grants from Biffaward, the Police Property Act Fund and the Comic Relief programme.

Thanking the local residents who had put so much hard work into raising funds for the refurbishment of the park, Mrs Bates said, ‘The much needed playground is the result of a lot of hard work put in by a small but dedicated team, which I know will be appreciated by the children of the area as there has been virtually no equipment for them to play on for some me. We are all very grateful to Biffaward for their help and generosity to this community.’

The Park has already had its first school group visit when the Eco Council from Hawthorn Primary came over to see the new equipment and how local volunteers are helping to keep it clean and dy. They also had a go on the new equipment!

The refurbishment work was completed in order to provide childen and parents in the community with l d Ac A on Group G ill be b con nuing i their th i The Playground will a space they can enjoy and socialise in, to enhance work in raising funds to help re-furbish the second community spirit as well as encourage outdoor play. playground at Ynyscorrwg for the benefit of the older Local children were invited to take part in the official children and will con nue to look a er both parks in opening with Maisie Briggs and Lucas Price taking the the future. honour of pulling the cloth from the sign. For further details on the work of the group, contact Cathy Lisles on 07890 144096 or E-mail:

Page 15

Energising Communi es with Enterprising Communi es As a part of the European funded Enterprising Communi es project Interlink has been helping local groups explore ways to cut their energy bills and generate an addi onal income through renewable energy.

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund, through the Welsh Government, the project is managed by WCVA and is being delivered locally through Wales’ network of county voluntary councils.

Further funding from the DECC Local Energy Assessment Fund has enabled Interlink to undertake a county wide survey to map the poten al sites for community-led hydro schemes, explored the feasibility of four poten al hydro schemes in the communi es of Cwm Clydach, Glyncoch, Treforest, and Treorchy. Four community energy assessments have been undertaken looking at the energy use in community buildings and homes to reduce energy bills and explore further opportuni es for funding and energy genera on. The Arts Factory will also produce a community energy guide for RCT to help groups communicate the benefits of community energy in their area.

At a me of rising energy bills Interlink has taken a lead on working with groups to provide support and guidance on how they can reduce their organisa on’s running costs. With a grant from the Environment Wales Sustainable Livelihoods grant scheme Interlink has been running a project en tled ‘community buildings in transi on’ aimed at changing how community groups manage energy use within their community buildings. This project runs un l the end of March 2012 and the findings of this work will feed into the second stage of this project rolling out this support to a wider number of groups.

Phil Jenkins at the Cwm Clydach Hydro System

The Enterprising Communi es project engages with organisa ons and individuals across West Wales and the Valleys, offering advice and support to those wan ng to run a social enterprise.

Simon James, Interlink Chief Execu ve, said, ‘It’s fantas c to be working in these brilliant communi es. This funding will help us all to work together to support local residents and local groups to cut their energy bills and generate an income at a me of rising energy costs and cuts in public funding.’

For more informa on contact Ken Moon, Social Enterprise Development Officer at Interlink on 01443 846200 or E-mail:

This work is directly suppor ng communi es in the county and providing a wider strategic vision to enable the voluntary sector in RCT make the most of local resources.

Registered Charity No.: 1141143 Company Limited by Guarantee No.: 07549533

Next Issue: September 2012

The Link  

Newsletter of Interlink - the CVC for RCT

The Link  

Newsletter of Interlink - the CVC for RCT