Child of Wales Awards postponed due to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Child of Wales Awards, an event that celebrates the inspirational achievements of children across Wales, due to take place in the Celtic Manor on April 3, has been postponed because of concerns over Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Some 750 guests including a number of celebrities were due to attend the event hosted by Carol Vorderman MBE and Ian Gough. The organisers said that the difficult decision was taken in the best interests of the guests and the young award winners. A new date will be announced for the event once there is greater clarity over managing the Coronavirus.

Blanche Sainsbury, the founder of the event, said: “This was not an easy decision to take. We have been building momentum to this event for a very long time and there were many young people and their families looking forward to what was to be a very special evening.

“However, the health and wellbeing of our award winners and guests was always paramount. Given the crisis the country is facing and the uncertainty surrounding the spread of the virus and the risk it poses to some members of the population, we felt there was no real option but to postpone.

“We remain committed to delivering what will be a truly remarkable night later in the year. As things stand, we hope to be able to announce a new date by May/June with the expectation that the awards will now happen later in the year. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Celtic Manor and all the sponsors behind the awards for their support in moving the date to later in the year.”

The Child of Wales Awards is raising money for Dreams & Wishes, a charity dedicated to ensuring that seriously ill children are granted their dreams and wishes.

So, what is coming up next for this wonderful charity?

For the third year in a row Dreams & Wishes is a finalist in the Best Charity Awards at the Cardiff Life Awards. The charity won the aforementioned award in 2018 for its outstanding work for seriously ill children and their families.

Dreams & Wishes is also delighted to be the nominated charity for the South Wales Law Awards on April 17 2020 at the Hilton Hotel, hosted by Sara Edwards. At the event, Dreams & Wishes will be raising money and helping to put more beautiful smiles on the faces of children and their families who suffer so much.

The following month brings another exciting event. On May 30, Italian Passion for Speed are partnering with Dreams & Wishes for a second year, hosting a spectacular free event at The Wales Millennium Centre to help raise funds and spread awareness of the charity’s amazing work. There will be some fantastic entertainment in the form of a powerful selection of rare and exotic Italian supercars, including Ferraris and Lamborghinis! Dreams & Wishes is thrilled that this has become an annual event made possible by the overwhelming support from the residents of Cardiff and the visitors to Cardiff Bay.

This year, Dreams & Wishes has continued to arrange more wonderful trips and parties for very sick children and their families, including a trip to West Midland Safari Park on June 6. Other upcoming trips include three events at Cardiff Castle; a spectacular summer party on August 16, a Halloween party on November 1 with a spooky dungeon tour, and a Christmas party on December 20.

If families would like to get in touch with Dreams & Wishes to book a place at one of these events, contact details are as follows:

Website – www.dreamsandwishescharity.org

Facebook Page – Dreams & Wishes

If you would like to help grant a wish or a dream or learn more about the charity please contact, Wendy Hobbs, Business Ambassador

Email – wendy@dreamsandwishescharity.org

The move coincided with an invitation to 10 Downing Street

The National Children of Wales Awards, an annual event that recognises the achievements and inspirational stories of children in Wales, has chosen St David’s Day to rebrand as the Child of Wales Awards (#iamachildofwales on twitter), a name its founders feel better represents its ethos and values.

The move also coincides with founder Blanche Sainsbury and many of the children honoured at the awards visiting 10 Downing Street to meet Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday February 27, who listened to their inspirational stories and praised their courage, fortitude and hard work.

The Child of Wales Awards will take place at the Celtic Manor on April 3, 2020. It will recognise the achievements and inspirational stories of children and young people in categories including Child of Courage, Young Fundraiser, Young Sporting Hero, Community Champion and Young Performer.

The event will be presented by Carol Vorderman MBE and former Wales rugby player Ian Gough. Entertainment at the prestigious event will feature male voice choir Only Men Aloud, the winners of BBC talent show Last Choir Standing; Angelicus Celtis, a choir of Welsh schoolgirls who reached the semi-final of Britain’s Got Talent in 2017; and performances from Motionhouse, a world-class dance-circus production company.

The children who will be recognised on the night were selected from more than 200 nominees. The judging panel who faced the difficult task of selecting the winners included Carol Vorderman MBE, Ian Gough, Pepe Rahman (a winner from the Pride of Britain Awards), William and Pamela McNamara (directors of Bluestone National Park Resort), and representatives from the main sponsors of the awards Trade Centre Wales, BidFood and RedKite Solicitors.

All the winners will be invited to enjoy a VIP experience with their family at Bluestone National Park Resort. The awards aim to raise £100,000 at the event, which will be distributed to four charities in Wales that help children: The Teenage Cancer Trust, Dreams & Wishes, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) and the Bluestone Foundation.

Blanche Sainsbury, founder of the awards, said: “Ever since we first launched this event, we have been blown away by the interest that has been shown in it and the support from the business community in Wales. Being invited to meet the Prime Minister was a true honour and illustrated just how far we have come in terms of raising awareness about the event and it represented an amazing experience for all the children that attended that they will remember for the rest of their lives.

“We decided to use that event and the landmark of St David’s Day to also change the brand to the Child of Wales Awards, a name that we believe will enable us to take this event and everything it represents to the next level. Our intention is to recognise and pay tribute to the Children of Wales and we feel this event will only go from strength to strength in the future.”

Carol Vorderman said: “This truly remarkable event is now taking on a momentum of its own in terms of interest and support but, at its heart, its ethos is to celebrate the achievements, the talent and inspirational stories of the children of Wales.  It’s a happy and joyous first for Wales.”

The event has already attracted remarkable support from the business community with all award categories now sponsored for the evening. The event’s two main sponsors are The Trade Centre Wales, one of the largest and fastest growing used car companies in the UK, and Bidfood, one of the largest food wholesalers in the UK.

The category sponsors are: 1192 Laser & Beauty Clinic, Acuity Law, Andrew Rees & Sons Butchers, Barclays, Bibendum Wine, DWJ Group, DWJ Wealth Management, Gower College Swansea, Iceland Foods, Joe’s Ice Cream, MGY, Mitre Linen, Princes Gate, Principality Building Society, RedKite Solicitors, Sytner BMW, Thomas Recruitment Group and Wolfestone.

The winners’ support package sponsors are: AB Glass, Blue Tiger Marketing, Bullock, Gallagher, Holder Mathias Architects, MyConcern, Penguin Recruitment, Seren Global Media, Storm Technologies and Work Wales.

Boom is one of Wales’ largest production groups. It was established in 1994, and quickly became a trusted, multi-genre company that produces over 400 hours of content annually for channels such as S4C, BBC, ITV and C5. It has an impressive track record for producing award-winning factual entertainment, drama, digital and children’s content.

Boom has an on-going relationship with Carol Vorderman, one of the hosts of the National Children of Wales Awards. They began working together in 2019, producing a series of short films for BBC’s The One Show celebrating the 50-year anniversary of the moon landings. Carol is currently working with Boom on a new production for S4C called Iaith ar Daith, where she undertakes the challenge of learning Welsh.

While working on this new programme, Carol discussed the National Children of Wales Awards with Boom’s Managing Director, Nia Thomas. Nia was very keen that Boom support this inaugural event, and Boom is proud to be producing short films which will be shown to the audience throughout the ceremony.

Of Boom’s involvement with the awards, Nia, said:

“As soon as we heard about the National Children of Wales Awards, we knew that it was something we had to get involved in. We are absolutely delighted to support this fantastic event which celebrates the incredible young people who have taken on tough challenges and turned them into something positive. We are honoured to be part of this momentous occasion.”

Founded in 2003 in the home of John and Donna Hayes, Champions (UK) plc is a leading brand and event agency which has been hand-picked to help stage the prestigious National Children of Wales Awards.

With John Hayes leading the company as CEO, and his first-born son Matt as managing director, the agency soon outgrew the small single room in the Hayes residence. Now, it occupies a HQ of over 14,000 sq.ft.

With a team of over 120 Champions, the family-run business combines the expertise of 10 in-house departments to create the ultimate agency set-up. With over 15 years of industry experience, Champions has been recognised among The Telegraph’s 1000 Britain’s Brightest Businesses, and was identified as 57th in the Sunday Times’ Fast Track 100 directory.

The East-Midlands based agency, which has a number of clients spanning the UK, has an extensive event management portfolio. Champions is going from strength to strength; only last year, the firm opened a new £1m digital centre and welcomed 50 new members of staff.

Event management is just one of Champions’ areas of expertise. The company also specialises in creative, digital, marketing, public relations, media, publishing, advertising, celebrity and web. Champions runs 12 regional sports and business awards across the Midlands and in Essex.

The agency also organises a number of high-profile gold tournaments, including the Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship, the Farmfoods European Legends Links Championship, and the Farmfoods European Senior Masters.

Of its involvement in the National Children of Wales Awards, Champions’ group sales director David Simms, said:

“We are absolutely thrilled to be working on such an important project. These awards do outstanding work to recognise truly inspirational children across the country.

“Event management is a big part of what we do here at Champions, and we’re always looking to support wonderful causes wherever possible. These awards align with our own values and we’re delighted to be working with the team in Wales this year.”

The National Children of Wales Awards are delighted to be supporting The Bluestone Foundation – a foundation that works with several children’s charities to support children and their families in Wales.

The Bluestone Foundation works with Action for Children to support families from before the child is born, right up until they enter their twenties. The Foundation helped The Hawthorne Project with their start-up costs towards opening up a coffee shop at the Haverfordwest Magistrates Court.

The Hawthorne Project was established by Action for Children in August 2000, and has been supporting children and their families for almost 20 years.

The popular coffee shop, called The Hatch, was founded because there was a stark lack of opportunities for people with learning disabilities in the area to gain work experience.

The Hatch will enable young people with disabilities to gain work experience and training possibilities, allowing them to socialise with other people their age and gain confidence.

However, this is not just any other coffee shop. It is run by young people with special needs, which ensures that the young people visiting the shop will feel more comfortable and safe.

Angharad Murray, Youth Person Practitioner, has seen a huge improvement in the confidence of the young people working at The Hatch.

She said: “You can really see how their confidence has grown in even just a month. At first most didn’t even want to go near the till but now they are fighting over who serves a customer.”

Those who aren’t confident in dealing with customers can take an office role, working on stock control, management, menus, and more.

Angharad hopes that the money generated by The Hatch can be fed back into the project.

The coffee shop has had such a positive impact on the lives of the young people who work there.

Charlotte Sandford, a 17-year-old, has said that working at The Hatch is her “favourite day of the week”.

She says: “It makes me feel proud and happy when people take things I have made. And I like wearing a uniform, it makes me feel professional.”

The Hatch is clearly so important to the young people who work there. We hope that the proceeds from The Awards will help the Project reach more vulnerable young people, and help boost their confidence by gaining valuable work experience.

 

The National Children of Wales Awards are thrilled to be supporting the NSPCC (The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children), a charity campaigning and working in child protection in the United Kingdom and the Channel Islands.

The wellbeing of children and young people is central to what the NSPCC stands for. They have been operating for the past 100 years, relying on public donations for 90% of their funding.

Startling statistics show that 1 in 5 children across the UK will suffer from domestic abuse or neglect.

Rory was one of those children.

Ever since he was a young boy, Rory’s step-father would routinely abuse him.

He was a builder by trade, and his strength rendered Rory powerless.

His step-father would also sexually abuse his mother most nights, leading Rory to feel trapped and scared.

These experiences led Rory down a dark path of suicidal thoughts.

He explains one suicide attempt, saying:

“I jumped out of my bedroom window and broke my leg. He came outside, seen what I’d tried to do, laughed it off, and said I can stay there until I freeze. Then he slammed the door, and I slept outside that night with a broken leg.”

Rory explained that his step-father would give him a list of everything he had done wrong, and would force Rory to write him an apology letter.

When writing this letter, Rory had to hold one of his hands flat on the table. Whenever he made a mistake, his step-father would bend one of his fingers back until it popped. This led to Rory’s entire right hand being broken.

Throughout his abuse, Rory was told that if he said anything, his step-father threatened to murder his mother in front of him, and then murder him.

Rory’s ordeal finally came to an end when his step-father was arrested for trying to murder his mother and younger sister, as Rory’s auntie had caught him in the act.

The trauma resulted in Rory being diagnosed with severe depression, and led to another suicide attempt.

He decided to reach out to the NSPCC, and soon began regular counselling sessions which completely changed his life. Of these sessions, he said:

“If it wasn’t for the amazing counsellor at the NSPCC, I would either be dead right now, or in a very dark place.”

There are countless other children who, like Rory, have been through unimaginable trauma but who have found solace with the NSPCC.

Supporting the NSPCC is a very proud moment for us, and we hope that other children like Rory, who are too afraid to speak out, will find the help that they desperately need through this fantastic charity.

The National Children of Wales Awards are proud to be supporting the Teenage Cancer Trust. Before their first unit opened in 1990, no specialist cancer care for young people existed in the UK within the NHS. Now, the Teenage Cancer Trust is the only UK charity dedicated to providing young people living with cancer specialist care and expert treatment.

Every day in the UK, around seven young people aged from 13-24 receive the devastating news that they have cancer. The Teenage Cancer Trust ensures that no child will ever have to face this terrifying diagnosis alone. They are there every step of the way, supporting the child as well as their family members.

Without the incredible work done by the Teenage Cancer Trust, thousands of children would have to face cancer alone.

Children who are in the care of the Teenage Cancer Trust are encouraged to continue being just that; children. Specialist cancer units exist which bring young people together to be treated. This allows patients to socialise with each other, and find other young people who understand exactly what they’re going through. Together, they can forget about their illness for a while.

Seren, from Ynysddu, can attest to this. She was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin Lymphoma at nineteen years old.

Speaking about her diagnosis, Seren said:

“I thought ‘Oh my God, I am done for’. The doctors had found a mass the size of a football in my chest”.

She was anxious about being treated next to elderly patients, but was thrilled when she heard that she would be treated next to young people on the Teenage Cancer Trust unit at the University Hospital in Cardiff.

The availability of a Youth Support Coordinator had a hugely positive impact on Seren’s experience. She said:

“The Youth Support Coordinator was great. She organised arts and crafts on the unit, which I loved, as well as lots of social events. These days gave me a sense of normality and reminded me that there is life outside of treatment.

“I made lots of friends on the Teenage Cancer Trust unit. We are in the worst circumstances, so it helped to have people my age who have gone through similar things”.

Thanks to the overwhelming generosity from the public, the Trust has been able to establish 28 specialist cancer units across the UK, helping young people with cancer feel less alone. Furthermore, the Trust has been able to fund the employment of 48 nurses and youth support co-ordinators in order to provide the best care possible to young people and their families.

Another fantastic event that the Teenage Cancer Trust organise for their patients, is an annual Teenage Cancer gig at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Teenagers and music go together like cheese and crackers, and the Teenage Cancer Trust have recognised this. These annual gigs give young people living with cancer a ‘night off’. They can forget about their illness for one night, and have a fun night out with their friends, singing along to their favourite songs.

Notable stars who have performed at these gigs include Ed Sheeran, Olly Murs, Russell Howard, Kasabian, Bring Me The Horizon Paul McCartney, and more!

We really cannot praise the efforts of the Teenage Cancer Trust enough. Their ability to change the lives of young people living with cancer, and providing continuous support and friendship, changes the lives of children across the UK.

The proceeds from the National Children of Wales Awards will ensure that the Teenage Cancer Trust can extend their specialist care and support to countless more families. There are still thousands of children living with cancer, without access to the care and encouragement of specialist nurses. No one should face cancer alone, and the proceeds from the Awards would help to ensure that fewer children will.

We are very excited to announce that Acuity Law has generously offered to be one of the Cast & Crew Sponsors for the inaugural National Children of Wales Awards.

Founded in 1999, Acuity Law is a dynamic law company with offices in Cardiff, Swansea, London, and Dubai.

Acuity is an award-winning firm whose recent accolades include Law Firm of the Year (Wales) at the Legal 500 Awards 2019 and Litigation Team and Legal Team of the Year at the Wales Dealmakers Awards 2019.

The Acuity team are specialists in providing corporate, commercial, litigation, real estate, employment and tech advice. Acuity Law is passionate about delivering the best legal service, with its people and its clients at the heart of everything it does.

Of its involvement with the National Children of Wales Awards, chairman Steve Berry said:

“We are delighted to be supporting the awards, which recognise brave and inspirational young people throughout Wales.

“As a business that is head-quartered in Wales, we are passionate about our local community and celebrating the fantastic achievements of the young people that sit within those communities.

“We congratulate and wish all nominees the best of luck”.

A dozen young heroes will shortly discover they will be recognised for their courage, fortitude and hard work at the National Children of Wales Awards this spring after a panel of judges including Carol Vorderman MBE met to deliberate and assess the entries last week.

The National Children of Wales Awards, which will become the Child of Wales Awards from the awards evening, will take place at the Celtic Manor on April 3, 2020. It will recognise the achievements and inspirational stories of children and young people in categories including Child of Courage, Young Fundraiser, Young Sporting Hero, Community Champion and Young Performer.

Some 200 children were nominated for the awards. The judging panel who faced the difficult task of selecting the winners included: Carol Vorderman MBE, former Wales rugby player Ian Gough, Pepe Rahman (a winner from the Pride of Britain Awards), William and Pamela McNamara (directors of Bluestone National Park Resort), and representatives from the sponsors of the awards Trade Centre Wales, BidFood and RedKite Solicitors.

The judging was filmed and photographed by Boom, one of Wales’s largest production groups.  They are supporting this inaugural event by producing the video content that will be used on the evening of the awards to tell the stories of the children involved.

All the winners will be invited to enjoy a VIP experience with their family at Bluestone National Park Resort. The awards aim to raise £100,000 at the event, which will be distributed to four charities in Wales that help children: The Teenage Cancer Trust, Dreams & Wishes, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) and the Bluestone Foundation.

The event has already attracted remarkable support from the business community with all award categories now sponsored for the evening. The event’s two main sponsors are The Trade Centre Wales, one of the largest and fastest growing used car companies in the UK, and Bidfood, one of the largest food wholesalers in the UK.

The category sponsors are: 1192 Laser & Beauty Clinic, Acuity Law, Andrew Rees & Sons Butchers, Barclays, Bibendum Wine, DWJ Group, DWJ Wealth Management, Gower College Swansea, Iceland Foods, Joe’s Ice Cream, MGY, Mitre Linen, Princes Gate, Principality Building Society, RedKite Solicitors, Sytner BMW and Thomas Recruitment Group.

Carol Vorderman MBE, who chaired the judging, said:

“I’ve spent 20 years sitting on the judging panel for the Pride of Britain, which is difficult. The same applies to the Child of Wales Awards. There were many truly remarkable entries about incredible children and young people. We debated and discussed at length, but, in the end, we had to pick a winner for each award. I know that their stories will touch everyone and make us feel so proud. The first Child of Wales Awards will be one of the most wonderful nights ever.”

Blanche Sainsbury, chair of the Bluestone National Park Resort and founder of the National Children of Wales Awards, said:

“We are extremely grateful to all the judges for giving us the time to complete what was a nearly impossible task. We were overwhelmed by the number of entries we had and so many of them contained details of truly inspirational stories from remarkable young people. We now look forward to meeting all the winners on the night of the awards and hearing more about their remarkable lives.”

The prestigious event will feature male voice choir Only Men Aloud, the winners of BBC talent show Last Choir Standing; Angelicus Celtis, a choir of Welsh schoolgirls who reached the semi-final of Britain’s Got Talent in 2017; and performances from Motionhouse, a world-class dance-circus production company.

Anyone interested in sponsoring the awards, buying a table or donating an auction prize, please contact Mark Hillary at: mhillary@bluestonewales.com