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Issue 60 Spring 2013

Student volunteer making an impacts in RCT

The newsle er for voluntary organisa ons and community groups in Rhondda Cynon Taf

Interlink Staff News 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: 9 August 2013 to Cara Jordan-Evans at Interlink by e-mail:

In this issue we have: Interlink Staff News Volunteering Team Volunteering Young People Gwirvol Inves ng In Volunteers Volunteering Volunteer Story Local News Interlink Training

2 3 4-5 6 7 8 9 10-11 12-15 16

Interlink says goodbye ... Ann Philpo joined Interlink as a Partnership Officer in December 2002 and was promoted to Opera ons Manager in November 2008. Ann has been heavily involved in developing the health agenda with the third sector in RCT, developing close working rela onships with Cwm Taf LHB and lots of other key partners. Just one of Ann's successes has been to hugely increase Interlink's capacity to deliver a training programme working with the Sector and Agored Cymru. When Ann started we were delivering 5 courses to 52 learners, this increased to 78 courses last year with 666 learners, a remarkable achievement. Ann will be greatly missed by the staff and trustees at Interlink, being a hugely suppor ve line manager and vital part of the Management Team. Ann goes about her work with the minimum of fuss, she has always been there to advise, support and lend a ear to anyone with a problem. Some people are so quietly effec ve, you take them for granted. Ann will be greatly missed, but we will only realise how much we miss her when she is no longer around to guide us. All of us have lost an incredible colleague; and each one of us will have lost either a friend, mentor or shoulder to lean on. We wish Ann a truly happy re rement. Phil Barre has decided to re re. Phil has worked at Interlink for nearly 11 years. Many of you have met Phil as he has great knowledge when it comes to governance and funding and has o en been approached in Aberdare Tesco. Interlink will not quite be the same place without him. However, we wish him well in his re rement, to enjoy his allotment and travel.

Arfon Evans from Hirwaun allotments commented; ‘What can I say about Phil. Very kind, considerate, and a good listener, a quality that is so important to gain peoples a en on. He takes nothing for granted, examining every detail with experience, pain ng pictures where your organisa on could be and providing you with the tools to achieve this. Have a happy and long re rement, enjoy that wonderful allotment that I visited last week.’ Ma Cook joined Interlink as Play Development Officer in 2006 and made an immediate impact, suppor ng lots of community organisa ons alongside fantas c partners such as RCT Play Associa on (now Chwarae Plant), Valleys Kids and the Early Years Department at RCTCBC. Ma has a unique ability to put people at ease, to listen and help them find their solu ons to developing play in local communi es. Ma has his own gentle but powerful way of reminding everyone he has ever worked with that play is a unique and wonderful learning experience that every child has a right to enjoy. He has been a valued colleague to many people, in and outside of Interlink, and a calming influence on everyone he meets. While we will miss him, we are sure Ma will make a success of his life on his own terms and in his own way, following the Road Least Travelled. Page 2

Volunteering Team The Volunteering Team

Dates for your Diary Mental Health Forum 30 April 2013 10.00am - 12.00pm Contact Maria Abson

Chris ne Davies

Sam Griffiths

Volunteering Development Officer

Wales Volunteering Officer

Thomas Crocke Youth Volunteering Development Officer

Welcome to the Volunteering edi on of the Link Volunteering in the life blood of communi es in RCT. This issue of the Link is packed with all things volunteering. Why is volunteering in important? It is es mated that a staggering 500,000 people in Wales are involved in formal volunteering with organisa ons and around 1.8 million people if this is widened to include informal volunteering. That is 60% of the popula on, or around 40,000 people in RCT alone.

Yet, seven out of ten community sports clubs need more volunteers - from people to make the tea to coaches for kids' teams. Volunteering is fun, rewarding and a great way to make new friends. More than 7,600 young people trained as Sports Leaders in Wales in 2012 and they in turn volunteer with tens of thousands more and help inspire the next Jade Jones.

If your organisa on involves volunteers in its work, and you want to ensure that the volunteering experience is of real benefit both to volunteers and to the organisa on, then it is worth checking out Inves ng in Volunteers. But we also have lots of informa on and more informal support if you want to involve more volunteers – so check out the volunteering pages of our website, but best of all – give us a call!

Sports Leaders UK has also been working with the Wales Council for Voluntary Ac on, which led to the launch of the Millennium Volunteers MV50 Sport Award though Gwirvol. This programme is very important to Sports Leaders UK because it recognises sustained volunteering by young people in sport as they have to complete 50 hours or more.

One of the biggest areas is volunteering within sport. Volunteers help organisa ons to achieve their aims, bring skills and add a new dimension to their work.

Take a look at what is happening with volunteering in RCT and if you want to know what we have got in store, give us a call to find out more!

HSCWB, CYD and MH Joint Event 5 June 2013 Contact Anne Morris or Maria James

Mental Health Forum 30 July 2013 10.00am - 12.00pm Contact Maria Abson

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

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Volunteering Samuel Griffiths, Wales Volunteering Officer. My focus is on the BIG Wales Volunteering Project, a program established to help those with addi onal support needs into volunteering. I offer 1 to 1 support for any poten al volunteer as well as a so -skills training program. I run the Monday morning outreach in Porth, and support Thomas Crocke with the University of Glamorgan Student Volunteering project, contact me on 01443 846200 or e-mail:

Doug a Grewing Success! Last June we celebrated the dedica on and achievement of volunteers throughout Rhondda Cynon Taf at the 2012 RCT Volunteer Awards. This event is a chance for groups to recognise those volunteers who have supported them throughout the year. A er a night of food, fun and cer ficates, we finished the evening off with the Norah Huxley Award for Outstanding Achievement. Picking from three of the most inspira onal stories, the a endees voted Douglas Whi akar the winner, a volunteer from Grow Enterprise Wales (GrEW).

Supported by manager Julie Philips, Doug tried his hand at recycling, grass cu ng, and work within the yard team; stripping old windows of their plas cs. Hard working and friendly, Doug became a vital member of the team. Then, two years on from joining GrEW as a volunteer his hard work paid off when he was hired by GrEW. Presently Doug works within their House Cleaning Service, and enjoys the hands-on ac ve nature of the role. Doug told me that while volunteering and working he feels healthier. He has made plenty of new friends through GrEW, and enjoys the chance to be more social. GrEW have sent Doug on mul ple training courses, which he feels have only added to his personal and professional development. Asking Doug if he had any plans for a career, he responded by simply saying his focus was on doing a good job now. ‘Just so happy to have a job’ says Doug, grinning from ear to ear.

I caught up with Doug several months on, where his volunteering has taken him from success to success. In a comfy mee ng area at Grow Enterprise Wales (GrEW), Doug told me of his incredible story from the start. Doug had in fact been unemployed for nearly all of his life. It was boring, he said, and something had to change. Through projects from the Job Centre and Interlink, Doug was introduced to GrEW two years ago. Even with his lack of experience, Doug took to his volunteering like he had been doing it his whole life.

There are a lot of individuals like Doug, volunteering their me to help good causes throughout Rhondda Cynon Taf. We believe that every one of these stories should be celebrated, and it’s only through you and your organisa ons that these successes can be brought into the light. The RCT Volunteer Awards 2013 will be held on 14 June 2013 and we want a chance to thank all the volunteers for their hard work, as well as celebrate their incredible stories. Within this copy of the Link you will find a nomina on form. If you have a volunteer you want to thank for their efforts, please fill it in and return by 10 May 2013. Hopefully see you there!

If you would like a digital copy or to nominate over the phone, please call Interlink on 01443 846200. Page 4

Volunteering Fantas c Opportunity to Sponsor RCT Volunteer Awards in 2013 The event offers a unique opportunity to link your organisa ons with volunteering in Rhondda Cynon Taf. The Awards recognise the vital contribu on volunteers make to the lives of individuals and communi es throughout RCT. Each year the event is wholly funded from sponsorship, without which the event would not take place. The Awards consists of a series of awards for ALL nominated volunteers presented by a local celebrity. A panel select three of the most deserving nomina ons to go forward to the Nora Huxley Award, with videos on each volunteer screened on the evening. Those a ending vote the overall winner. It is an excep onal event, with a dinner and drinks for all those a ending. Interlink invites you to be associated with the event this year.

Sponsoring the event will raise the profile of your organisa on internally and externally and provide an indicator of social responsibility.

All sponsors are represented t d on the th evening. i A video of all sponsors is produced and shown at the Awards. All sponsors are included in the event marke ng and publicity through newsle ers, local press and newsle ers.

Interlink would welcome you to get involved in sponsoring the RCT Volunteer Awards 2013 by contac ng Chris Davies by e-mail: or telephone 01443 846200.

Volunteering – Now Online! Last month saw the exci ng launch of the new Volunteering Wales Website; a Wales wide database for voluntary opportuni es.

A few simple cks here and there and you are faced with a far more refined search, allowing you to seek out exactly the sort of op on you are looking for. gives you access to over 5,000 opportuni es and this figure is growing every day! Through this new online system, you can browse available placements night or day, and apply online for them right in the comfort of your own home.

Once a poten al volunteer has found something they are interested in, the website asks for a few simple details – like name, address, contact number, etc – and the rest is done by us. This really is an exci ng me for volunteering to be modernised, and captures a new group of people who may not even know about the fantas c range of opportuni es we have here in Rhondda Cynon Taf. So jump on and have a play, you may even discover projects in your local area you never knew existed!

Loading up the website you are faced with nice big friendly op ons giving you details on volunteering, the benefits, and advice you might find useful as a newcomer. A quick search box asks for your postcode, how far you would be willing to travel, and then lists all the available op ons within the local area – simple, yet effec ve. Alterna vely, there is a far more detailed advance search func on, which gives you op ons for everything from administra on to gardening to disabled access and the availability of the opportunity on a Monday morning.

For organisa ons looking to take advantage of this exci ng (and free!) marke ng opportunity, we are now offering to upload placements for anyone who is interested. Simply contact a member of the Interlink Volunteering Team for further informa on on how we can help on 01443 846200. Page 5

Young People Hello! My name is Thomas Crocke and I am Interlink’s Youth Volunteering Officer. As the local GwirVol Advisor I promote volunteering to 16-25 year olds in Rhondda Cynon Taf, though I am happy to speak with over 25’s too! Sam and I are currently working on a new partnership with the University of Glamorgan, and we are looking for volunteer placements for their students, so if you wish to recruit young volunteers, or are trying to develop a project with young people, please give me a call on 01443 846200 or by e-mail: tcrocke

Student volunteers making an impact in RCT Why not get involved! We are currently ac vely recrui ng organisa ons who wish to provide further opportuni es for University of Glamorgan students of Sociology, History, Art Prac ce, Public Services, English, Welsh, Criminology and Psychology. We have also had requests for placements from the Schools of Business and Law, and the Health, Sport and Science department.

was set up in 1913, and with a student popula on of 22,600 and a vast array of courses taught all year round, the University provides a rich seam of poten al volunteers.

We at the Volunteer Centre have been working increasingly closely with the University of Glamorgan over the past six months, suppor ng students into volunteer placements, via GlamVol, and students from the Social Sciences and Psychology Schools into course-related volunteer placements. Volunteering has gone well and we look forward to having a presence on campus five days a week from the beginning of March, in partnership with the University’s award winning ‘GlamEdge’ scheme. The campus site in Treforest celebrates its Centenary as a seat of learning this year, as the School of Mines

Students suppor ng the Alison House project

Students assis ng RNIB to deliver a fundraising project

In February half term week, 20 psychology students carried out week long volunteer placements in Rhondda Cynon Taf. Six students braved the snow to deliver a Fundraising and promo onal project for RNIB/Cardiff Vales and Valleys around the supermarkets of South Wales, while five more ventured up the Rhondda Valley to support the delivery of the half term playschemes at Cwmparc’s Alison House project. Four students were placed for a week with RCT People First in Porth, one volunteered with ADREF’s Charity Shop in Pontypridd, and the final four are delivering a joint project between Age Concern Morgannwg and Mencap, suppor ng older people.

If you are interested please contact Interlink’s Youth Volunteering Advisor Thomas Crocke on 01443 846200 or e-mail: tcrocke Page 6

GwirVol GwirVol Grants 2013-2014 GwirVol is pleased to announce the launch of the 2013-2014 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. The GwirVol grant scheme offers three different strands of funding. •

Crea ng Opportuni es: For organisa ons looking to • create new youth volunteering projects • new youth volunteering roles or • to recruit more young people into exis ng volunteering roles. Grant applica ons can be up to a maximum of £10,000.

Millennium Volunteers: For organisa ons looking to recognise the commitment young people give to volunteering through offering the 200 hour award of excellence. Millennium Volunteers grant applica ons can be up to a maximum amount of £10,000. Interna onal: For organisa ons looking to develop overseas volunteering opportuni es that benefit young people and their communi es in Wales. Grant applica ons can be up to a maximum amount of £30,000.

Teckno UK, a street dance project run by Maerdy Kidz R Us were recognised at last years’ celebra on

How to apply: You can get more informa on and download the applica on forms and guidance at ons/funding/ The deadline for applica ons is 2.00pm on Wednesday 5 June 2013. GwirVol will only be holding one grant round in 2013-2014. GwirVol also runs the StreetGames grants which are open all year with no closing date. If your organisa on involves young volunteers in sports ac vi es go to StreetGames grants now! ons/funding/ street-games-grant-o/

Nominate Today and Make Sure Your Volunteers Don’t Miss Out! 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 RCT Volunteer Awards 2013. It’s important to get your entries in as early as possible, as invita ons will be awarded on a first come first served basis, with priority given to organisa ons who have never a ended the event. Last year’s event saw 110 volunteers and guests celebrate the impact they have in RCT at an evening that consisted of a

presenta on ceremony (every volunteer nominated receives a cer ficate), a two course meal and a disco. 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 2013, if you want your volunteers to a end this year’s event on 14 June 2013 at Abercwmboi Rugby Club get your entries in as soon as possible (deadline of 10 May 2013).

Nomina on forms are available through our website or by e-mail: to request a hard copy phone 01443 846200. Page 7

Inves ng In Volunteers Chris ne Davies, Volunteering Development Officer. My role involves suppor ng voluntary organisa ons in RCT to develop quality volunteer management prac ces, which links in perfectly with my role as an Inves ng in Volunteers Assessor and Advisor. I also support voluntary organisa ons by publicising volunteering and sign pos ng poten al volunteers to appropriate organisa ons. One method of publicising volunteering that I par cularly enjoy is organising the Annual Volunteers Awards evening. Contact Chris ne Davies on 01443 846200 or e-mail:

The Inves ng in Volunteers Health Check for organisa ons commi ed to volunteers If your organisa on involves volunteers, then the Inves ng in Volunteers Health Check will provide an invaluable ‘diagnosis’ of your prac ce in volunteer management. By using the Inves ng in Volunteers framework a trained advisor will benchmark your organisa on against the standard and provide you with a development plan which outlines areas for improvement or gaps in prac ce. They will be able to signpost you to where you might get help to address these.

Our experience with Inves ng in Volunteers shows that some organisa ons struggle with the self assessment techniques.

By op ng for the Health Check you let an Advisor do this part of the work for you! You can use your Health Check to plan your development and to improve your volunteer management prac ce. It also means that, if you wish, you are just one step away from achieving the Inves ng in Volunteers Award. If you choose to address your development plan within six months of the Health Check than you can proceed to assessment for the Inves ng in Volunteers Award. You can use your Health Check as a way of tes ng your readiness for an Inves ng in Volunteers assessment without having to commit to the whole process. You can use it as a ‘first step’ toward achieving the award or simply as a diagnos c tool. Either way, you are demonstra ng commitment to your volunteers by ensuring the best possible management prac ces for your organisa on. For informa on contact or register your interest online at www.inves

Cwm Cynon Women’s Aid Eirlys Whitney, Volunteer Co-ordinator for Cwm Cynon Women’s, a registered charity that provides services to women and children who have experienced domes c abuse said of Interlink; ‘We have worked well with Interlink over the years, they have been invaluable when called upon to provide informa on and advice with many issues including; funding bids; training; recruitment of volunteers; legal and business issues e.g. help with obtaining our status as Company Ltd by guarantee. I have always found Interlink staff to be extremely helpful, knowledgeable and well informed. Most recently, Interlink have been instrumental in assis ng us to obtain The Inves ng in Volunteers Award, Page 8

the UK quality standard for good prac ce in volunteer management, which is a pres gious achievement. There was a lot of work involved in colla ng evidence for this. We are awai ng the outcome, but reports we have received so far have been very posi ve, so we hope to be successful. For the past 3 years our volunteers have received cer ficates of achievement, presented at the Interlink Volunteer Awards, and last year we were proud to receive second place overall for a group of our volunteers. Interlink provides an invaluable service to voluntary organisa ons and I hope they con nue for many years to come.’

Volunteering Merthyr and the Valleys Mind - Volunteer Day! Merthyr and the Valleys Mind hosted a Volunteer Development Day on the 5 February 2013. We met with Interlink who support volunteering ac on within Rhondda Cynon Taf. Chris ne Davies, the Volunteering Development Officer came along and gave us all the informa on we needed to know about Interlink, the work they do and how they help. Inves ng In Volunteers was highlighted, a UK quality standard for all organisa ons which involve volunteers in their work. Over 650 organisa ons have achieved this quality accredita on throughout the UK, ranging from small community chari es that are volunteer based to large na onal mul -branch chari es that have thousands of volunteers. Merthyr and the Valleys Mind is proud to be one of the 650 organisa ons who has accredited this award.

As a group we discussed the benefits of volunteering, both for the volunteers and the organisa on. Benefits to the volunteer: • Personal progress • They gain experience working with others • Personal development – improve self confidence • They can give back to society and help people who have helped them • Greater understanding of mental health and help fight s gma • Helps mo vate and combat depression Organisa onal benefits: • Helps the organisa on financially • Increases human resources • Adds value to the organisa on • Enhances social / professional mix • Reach more people • Staff can concentrate on the bigger picture • Volunteers bring a fresh outlook and new ideas At Merthyr and the Valleys mind we take pride in our volunteers and are grateful to have each and every one of them. We are proud to be working with Interlink and are very grateful to be receiving their support. We would like to thank Chris ne Davies for the me she took out for us and all the effort that has been put in.

For informa on about Merthyr and the Valleys Mind contact the Merthyr Tydfil office on 01685 359183 or the Pontypridd office on 01443 484300

Tydfil Training – Making the Link RCT Volunteer Centre con nually establish new links with organisa ons working in RCT. During the last year one very successful new working rela onship has been with Tydfil Training Consor um which helps individuals and employers to prosper and grow. Over the last 20 years they have become one of the top 50 training providers in Wales and recognised as one of the Western Mails Fast Growth 50 Companies in 2009. During that me they have established two training centres, one in Merthyr and another in Pontypridd.

Rhod Gethin, Employment Development Officer at Tydfil Training said; ‘It has given me great pleasure to have worked with Chris ne Davies from Interlink through our government funded training programmes for the unemployed. Interlink have been very kind to help our par cipants to find out about the world of volunteering and the brilliant opportuni es that are available, they have certainly gone that extra mile for which we are extremely grateful. I look forward to con nuing this inter-company rela onship.’ Page 9

Volunteer Story Volunteering has helped me so much, in so many ways! Chris ne Davies, Volunteering Develpment Officer at Interlink, first met Mark Smith aged 49 from Glyncoch four years ago when he was signposted to the RCT Volunteer Centre by a Disability Support Worker at the local Job Centre Plus. Mark had been working as a security guard and although the work had been on an ad-hock basis, he had never been without work. Things changed when Mark informed his employer that due to hearing loss, he’d have to start wearing a hearing aid. His employer’s ini al reac on seemed suppor ve but on the first night Mark wore his hearing aid, he found he had been double booked to cover the shi with another security guard. A er that Mark didn’t receive any work from his employer. When he contacted them, he was told ‘sorry but there’s no work available this week.’ This con nued week a er week. When I met Mark he told me about his life story. Mark had been an alcoholic. ‘I’d drunk heavily all my life. On weekends I’d go out socially in the evening and start drinking single measures of whisky. As the night progressed I’d drink more and more. Some mes I’d order a round of drinks but they’d all be for me. Other mes I drunk whisky from a half pint glass, at my worse I was drinking two litres of whisky a day.’ The turning point for Mark was the day he le home to go for a drink and didn’t return, instead Mark drank for an en re week. ‘I became a missing person, I refused to answer my phone or contact anyone. I lived on alcohol for the whole week, I only ate when I had to and I slept rough, it was easy for me to find places to hide, having been a security guard I knew all the hiding places in the city.’ The police were searching for him and his previous colleagues had been alerted to the fact that he was missing, when a friend saw him entering the Prince of Wales pub in Cardiff and decided to follow. Page 10

‘I’d made up my mind by that me, I told my friend, I’m going to have one last drink, then I’ll get my coat and it will be the last me you see me.’ He didn’t use the word suicide but they both knew what he meant. Mark had his last drink and went to get his coat. His friend told him ‘I’m not leaving you alone’ and they le the pub together. Unknown to Mark his friend had contacted the police and as they stepped out of the pub door two policemen approached them and escorted Mark to a wai ng police car and took him to the police sta on in Pontypridd. At the sta on Mark asked if he was under arrest and when told that he wasn’t, he told them ‘in that case I’m leaving.’ When he le he didn’t go far, he crossed the road, climbed a barrier and threw himself into the River Taff. Fortunately, the same two policemen rescued him but this me took him to the Psychiatric Assessment Centre, where he was admi ed. Two weeks later, when he was released from hospital that, he promised his wife that he’d never drink again. He’s kept his word to this day. Rebuilding his life isn’t easy for Mark. He’s had periods of employment, his fondest memories are of working as a security guard during the Ryder Cup 2010. ‘At one stage I worked in the media centre and met all the famous players and the world press.’

Volunteer Story ‘I am going to conƟnue volunteering’ But there have been low points as well. Mark has suffered periods of severe depression which he links to the fact that his life changed so drama cally when he became unemployed. He told me how his life had gone from being reasonably comfortable, having two full me incomes meant him and his wife had no financial worries, then suddenly he was dependant on his wife to financially support him, their home and their standard of living (Mark isn’t en tled to benefits because his wife’s earnings are above the DWP’s thresh-hold).

While volunteering Mark learnt new skills, made new friends and felt part of the community. Mark feels there are lots of benefits to volunteering.

‘I loved being the bread winner but now it hurts me that I can’t provide my wife with the nice things in life, Birthdays and Christmas are really hard for me now.’ Throughout the up’s and down’s, Mark has volunteered. When asked why, he says; ‘I had too much me on my hands and that isn’t good for someone like me. I need to be learning and I need a reason to get up in the morning. Volunteering has helped me so much, in so many ways.’ During the me Mark has volunteered, he’s gained skills in wood turning, bush cu ng, dry stone walling as well as taking part in li er picks, youth work and supervising a team of volunteers. He says of Glyncoch Community First where he volunteered, ‘they are a fantas c bunch of people. They made me feel comfortable by being friendly and welcoming. They made me feel as if they wanted me there. I’m going to con nue volunteering and I’m looking for a new challenge, it’s good for me.’

He says ‘volunteering opened so many doors for me. Through volunteering, I found out about a support group for people who have depression. They’ve given me so much support and helped me so much. In the last four years I’ve done more than I did in my whole life before. I think I’ve got as much out of volunteering as I put in, me banking helped, mind you, I’ve only ever cashed my credits in once, to see Barry Manilow in concert in Cardiff. I’ve got a huge pile of credits I’ve never used. To be honest, although you’re not meant to do it, I gave loads away. I gave them to the kids in Glyncoch so they could have swimming lessons for free. I think I’m learning to cope be er with my problems now, I s ll have bad days but now I know that by going to my GP early I can avoid serious problems. The good thing is, my rela onship with my wife is fantas c now. I know how lucky I am to say that because there have been mes when we were on the rocks’

Volunteer TODAY!

For more informa on about volunteering contact the Volunteering Team at Interlink on 01443 846200. Page 11

Local News Charity Reunites Owner with Money Found in Property Rhondda Cynon Taf based charity toogoodtowaste are now offering an Ethical House Clearance Service where they clear all unwanted items in the property following a downsizing, house move or bereavement. On the 7 February a team of staff and volunteers conducted a house clearance in Tonyrefail. On returning to their sor ng facility in the Ynyshir branch they discovered a wallet with a substan al amount of money in it. General Manager Shaun England was made aware of the discovery and immediately contacted the owner to no fy him of the discovery.

Mr Lyn Griffiths of Tonyrefail went to the Ynyshir branch on 8 February where he was reunited with the wallet. He was extremely grateful of the honesty of toogoodtowaste that he made a generous dona on to the volunteers, much appreciated by everyone at toogoodtowaste. Shaun England, General Manager stated: ‘It was great to be able to re-unite Mr Griffiths with the wallet and its contents, the honesty of our staff and volunteers was then rewarded by Mr Griffiths who made a very generous dona on to the charity. Our Ethical House Clearance Service aims to reuse as many donated household items as possible. Following the clearance the items are sorted and either sold through our charity shops or passed onto other charitable organisa ons, on this occasion our thorough sort system proved that the donated items that we receive really are toogoodtowaste.’ The dona on made by Mr Griffiths will go towards providing volunteers with training, work clothing and team building days.

Charity helped over 100 families at their Christmas Event Rhondda Cynon Taf based charity toogoodtowaste helped over 100 families at their Christmas Event in their Aberdare branch on 30 November and 1 December 2012. A 50% discount was offered on all furniture and electrical items as well as FREE pre-owned toys and Christmas decora ons. The event saw a great turnout of customers par cularly on the Friday and the charity offered total savings of over £2,000 to 107 customers who purchased over 150 items over the 2 days. toogoodtowaste would like to thank everyone for their generous dona ons, without your help and support they would not have been able to help over 100 families at one of the most difficult mes of the year.

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Shaun England, General Manager stated that: ‘Christmas is one of the most expensive mes of the year and it’s great that we are able to assist people who are in receipt of state benefits to combat the effects of poverty through the access to affordable pre-owned household items.’

Customers at the event were pleased with the items that were on offer and the discount that was given, Mr Williams from Treherbert said: ‘Thank you very much we have had a great bargain and we would definitely recommend you to other people.’

For more informa on about toogoodtowaste contact 01443 680090 or visit

Local News Rowan Tree Cancer Care Opens New Charity Shop Rowan Tree Cancer Care has secured a successful funding applica on to South East Wales Economic Development Fund. This has given the charity the opportunity of opening a new social enterprise based in Pontypridd. The successful funding applica on offers full me employment for a Charity Shop Manager and volunteer opportuni es to local people.

We offer good quality clothes at low prices, giving families living in the area the opportunity of purchasing good quality items at affordable prices. Our new social enterprise will give Rowan Tree Cancer Care a presence in Pontypridd where we can spread the word of the services we provide to families living further down the Valley. Due to the successful applica on we can generate funds to con nue to offer all services free to families whose lives are touched by cancer. Rowan Tree Cancer Care is a local community based cancer charity. We have been suppor ng families for over 13 years. We provide free transport to any cancer related hospital appointment, counselling, complementary therapies, counselling, wig fi ng, art therapy and various support groups. All services are free. If you would like to donate to our good cause please call 01443 479369 or e-mail: and we can arrange collec on.

We are based at 50/51 Taff Street, Pontypridd (next door to Iceland) and opened its doors for trading on 4 March 2013. The ‘Bridal Bou que and Pre Loved Goods’ are all donated items which help generate funds for the charity. We currently have over 200 wedding dresses, bridesmaid and prom dresses. We also sell furniture, clothes, bric a brac, shoes, toys to help raise funds.

Please follow our success on Facebook and promo onal dvd on (under heading bridal – events)

It is me to sort out your pension provision ‘PreparaƟon is the Key’ - with Williams Ross Ltd and Chase de Vere Auto Enrolment Prepara on and Investment for Chari es 23 April 2013 at 11.30am at the SWALEC Stadium The main topic for the day will be preparing for auto enrolment, this is a Government ini a ve for businesses to set up contributory pension arrangements for its employees. This will take effect for most Chari es from 2015, however good planning and prepara on NOW can help enormously and save costs in the long run.

The event will also highlight some key areas worth considering regarding investments for chari es in the current economic environment. Please note that numbers will be limited to 35 on a first come, first served basis.

Contact Kelly Robertson on 029 20 814114 or e-mail: to book your place and quote AWD. Page 13

Local News ‘It’s Absolutely FantasƟc’ - Ynyscorrwg Play Area A er five long years of fundraising, Hawthorn Voluntary Playground Ac on Group celebrated their campaign to improve the local play spaces for the children of Hawthorn on 3 November 2012. They officially unveiled the new Ynyscorrwg Park sign and held a celebratory concert and a ernoon tea party in the local community centre. The £29,000 funding for the Ynyscorrwg Park improvement project was successfully raised through events organised by the group, as well as dona ons from Hawthorn Neighbourhood Watch, Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council and an award of £20,320 from The Veolia Environmental Trust made through the Landfill Communi es Fund. The Group completed the refurbishment of Ynyscorrwg in November 2012 and the Laurel Avenue Playground in 2011. This has created two play spaces within a quarter of a mile of each other, one for the younger children and a simpler kick about space for older children and young people. Now installed at Ynyscorrwg is a new climbing frame and a sportswall with football goal and a basketball hoop.

Bethan Lisles, aged 14, started the whole campaign off when, aged 8, she asked her mum why there was nothing to play on in the local Park. Speaking about the new facili es; ‘It’s absolutely fantas c, we love it! It gives us a chance to prac ce our football, basketball and netball skills.’ The children then tried out the new equipment but as the rain clouds closed in, everyone went back to the centre to con nue the celebra on with honoured guests, the Mayor and Mayoress of Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council, Councillor Doug Williams and his wife Carole who kindly helped to cut the cake.

At the celebra on, BTM Next Genera on Brass Band entertained residents with their skilful playing before the children were asked to officially open the Park with Group Vice-Chair and local councillor Teressa Bates by unveiling the new sign. In his speech, Mayor Doug Williams congratulated everyone for their hard work and dedica on to the project, saying that; ‘We cannot underes mate the importance of outdoor play for children, it keeps them healthy and in shape. I believe that unstructured outdoor play is crucial to a child’s development, free play reduces stress and teaches our kids to make me to simply enjoy life.’

Councillor Bates said; ‘I would like to say a big thank you to The Veolia Environmental Trust for their wonderful grant which has helped us to complete the project.

Page 14

Everyone then had a further opportunity to listen to some more music from the Band, including a brilliant rendi on of the Kaiser Chief’s ‘I Predict a Riot’, and look at the ac on group’s display, which showed all the work they had carried out over the past five years in order to be able to complete their project.

For further informa on on the work of the group, contact Cathy Lisles on 07890 144096 or e-mail:

Local News Renew Wales Renew Wales is about people suppor ng people to take ac on on climate change. It is a prac oner led programme to help Welsh communi es to tackle the impacts of climate change, which can be anything from small local projects like se ng up a community garden to larger scale renewable energy developments.

As co-ordinators, we work with you to develop an ac on plan and link you up to exis ng support. You will also receive 2 days worth of me from a peer mentor with a par cular area of exper se, who would help you develop your priority ac ons and you will be able to promote yourselves on the Renew Wales website, and you will be provided with ideas and tools you can use in the future to develop further ac on plans and evaluate what you have achieved. Joanna says, ‘I applied to be a Renew Wales Co-ordinator because our organisa on is a social enterprise who is embracing climate change. We have the resources and skills to be able to support other groups to tackle climate change and fuel poverty in our local community.’

There are 30 Renew Wales Co-ordinators across Wales, based in voluntary organisa ons and social enterprises. Rhondda Cynon Taf has two Co-ordinators, Joanna Fashan of Cynon Valley Crime Preven on Associa on and Cheryl Davies of Glyncoch Community Partnership. The project can help you as a group or wider community to develop an idea which suits you.

If you have an idea for a project which your group and community would like to do, please contact Joanna Fashan of CVCPA on 01685 870011 or Cheryl Davies of Glyncoch Community Partnership on 01443 486496. Further informa on is also available on the Renew Wales website Renew Wales is supported through the Sustainable Steps Programme delivered through the BIG Lo ery Fund.

Charity Shops rate relief cuts threaten jobs and services ‘Welsh Government plans to reduce rate relief for charity shops in Wales threatens jobs and services and could cut income by as much as £4m,’ writes Na onal Manager Pam Dodd, Ins tute of Fundraising Cymru. Fewer charity shops in the high street offering cheaper products might also make life even more difficult for communi es here in Wales that are already finding money ght. We have around 500 charity shops in Wales that between them raise £12m every year for Welsh chari es and employ 700 people. The rate relief reduc on from 80% to 50% for some charity shops and restric ons to the types of premises charity shops could occupy could also result in 160 more empty shops on our high streets.

We fear that a big drop in income for Welsh chari es could impact on their ability to deliver services to some of the most vulnerable people across Wales. Large chari es like the Bri sh Red Cross in Wales have told us that they es mate they could lose £100,000 a year if these proposals are implemented, and services for isolated and vulnerable people who use its Care in the Home service would be affected. Ins tute of Fundraising Cymru has responded in detail to the consulta on on the report Business Rates Wales Review, and have asked for a mee ng with Edwina Hart, the Welsh Government Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science, to discuss their concerns.

For more informa on visit www.ins Page 15

Broaden your horizons ..... with Interlink training First Aid

Measuring Change

10 April 2013 9.30am - 4.00pm

23 May 2013 10.00am - 4.00pm

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2 May 2013 10.00am - 4.00pm

27 June 2013 2.00am - 4.30pm

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21 May 2013 9.30am - 1.00pm

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Safeguarding Children and Young People

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16 July 2013 9.30am - 4.30pm

Stress Management 27 June 2013 2.00pm - 4.30pm

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Interlink Mee ng and Conference Rooms for hire We oer a range of mee ng and conference facili es, whether your requirements are for a training venue, conferences, small mee ngs or one to one mee ngs. All room hire charges are inclusive of: Laptop Projec on Screen Flip Chart

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Next Issue: September 2013

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