Judges complete ‘impossible’ task of judging National Children of Wales Awards

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

The National Children of Wales Awards are thrilled 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 has funded The Tanyard Youth Project. This Project was established as a charity in 2005, and aims to provide a safe, welcoming and supportive environment for the children and young people of Pembroke and its surrounding areas.

Situated in an area that is high on the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivations, the Project provides five drop-in sessions a week, aiming to allow young people to make positive and constructive use of their leisure time.

Those working in these drop-in sessions also provide young people with information, advice and support on a wide range of issues that affect them.

The Tanyard Project provides young people with the opportunity to develop a variety of skills, including arts and crafts, sports and games, drama, cooking, music, film making, and the opportunity to achieve a Duke of Edinburgh Award.

Practical help is also provided, offering assistance with IT skills, CV writing, job applications, revision, and homework.

When school is in session, the Project helps pupils in years five and six with the tricky transition to senior school. This is done through classes centred on confidence and improved social interaction.

The Tanyard Project also helps teenagers by offering work experience placements. This is excellent experience, gives young people a chance to update their CVs, and provides them with something valuable to do with their time.

A successful application to the Bluestone Foundation has secured an Autistic Spectrum Condition Youth Outreach Worker to plan and lead weekly sessions for children and young people with extra-curricular education and leisure activities.

This will help children with learning difficulties fully engage with the fun and games at the Project.

The Bluestone Foundation, founded in Pembrokeshire, works with several children’s charities to support children and their families in Wales. It offers respite for the families of children that need intensive caring, and supports families going through incredibly difficult times.

The National Children of Wales Awards are proud to be supporting the NSPCC (National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children) Cymru/Wales, helping it continue its work supporting children, young people and their families throughout Wales.

One aspect of this work is its service to schools. Every week of the school term trained volunteers and staff from the Schools Service at NSPCC Cymru/Wales deliver free ‘Speak out. Stay safe’ assemblies and workshops to local primary school children. The sessions empower children, aged 5-11, to understand how to recognise and report abuse in an accessible, interactive, and age-appropriate way.

Offered free of charge to every primary school, in the last academic year the children’s charity delivered the safeguarding sessions at 436 primary schools across Wales, reaching 80,257 children with the help of its popular mascot, Buddy.

In the average primary school classroom, at least two children have suffered abuse or neglect. That’s why it is vital that children are equipped with the knowledge and skills to speak up if something doesn’t feel right, assured that a trusted adult, such as a teacher, will act to keep them safe.

“It can be difficult for teachers and parents to know how to tackle this sensitive but incredibly important subject,” said Candia Crosfield, Schools Manager – South West and Wales Region.

“Through our Speak out. Stay safe. programme we talk to children about the different types of abuse and let them know there are people out there who can help them.”

NSPCC Cymru/Wales is able to offer this important service to primary schools thanks to donations, which the charity relies on to fund 90% of its operations. A donation of £3 can help the Schools Service team reach one primary school pupil, giving them the knowledge to know what to do when something isn’t right. A £90 donation will cover the costs of delivering an assembly to 30 primary school pupils, and £580 will help reach a whole school of children.

Tailored workshops are available for SEND schools, and assemblies and workshops can be delivered in Welsh and English.

Schools can request an NSPCC school visit via the NSPCC Learning website at nspcc.org.uk/speakout

Anyone interested in volunteering for the Schools Service in Wales can contact 0121 227 7577 or email volunteerrecruitment@nspcc.org.uk. The service is currently appealing for more Welsh-language speaking volunteers.

We are thrilled to announce that Gower College Swansea is sponsoring the Outstanding Charity Award at the inaugural National Children of Wales Awards.

Gower College Swansea offers almost 40 A-level subjects and 40 vocational subject choices, providing a suitable course for everyone. In 2019, its A-level results significantly outperformed the Welsh national average by 8% at A*-A grades.

The College recognises that many adult learners lead very busy lives, so it offers part-time and flexible courses. It also offers apprenticeships, including: Level 2 Foundation Apprenticeship, Level 3 Apprenticeship, and a Level 4/5 Higher Apprenticeship.

The College has campuses in Gorseinon, Tycoch, and Llwyn y Bryn, as well as a Broadway Centre and the Kingsway Centre, which offers employability programmes.

Of its involvement with the National Children of Wales Awards, Principal Mark Jones said:

“Gower College Swansea is delighted to be sponsoring the inaugural National Children of Wales Awards. We are committed to providing young people with support, encouragement and opportunities for a brighter future and see many overcome personal challenges to achieve great things.

“We are, therefore, keen to play a part in an awards ceremony where these children, and many other inspirational individuals and organisations, are recognised and celebrated.

“We are very much looking forward to the National Children of Wales Awards in April and wish all nominees the very best of luck.”

We are delighted to announce that Sytner BMW are sponsoring the Winners’ Live Story Package at the inaugural National Children of Wales Awards.

Sytner BMW is a private BMW dealership which currently operates 16 retailers nationwide, ensuring that there is a convenient location for almost everyone.

Its team of experts are passionate about every aspect of BMW ownership, which helps the company provide the best possible service to all customers on a daily basis. Whether a customer is looking for a brand-new BMW, an Approved Used BMW, or wants a BMW in for a service, they will be greeted by an experienced, friendly team.

The company recognises that BMW drivers have specialised needs, so it endeavours to tailor its services to each individual customer. Sytner is committed to maintaining the highest possible dealership standards at all times, which ensures that its excellent reputation continues to grow.

Of its involvement with the National Children of Wales Awards, Nigel Hurley, divisional managing director, said:

“The first event of its kind, the National Children of Wales Awards will recognise inspirational young people throughout Wales with awards in bravery, diversity, fundraising and more. The Sytner BMW & MINI team are in awe of the nominees and we hope that these powerful stories will inspire and encourage other young people around the country.

“We represent the BMW & MINI Brands with a number of dealerships in Wales and we always aim to support and contribute to the local community. To be involved in such an event is an honour; we would like to congratulate all of the children nominated and we look forward to attending and sharing this amazing evening with them”.

A bespoke design by acclaimed international fashion designer Jayne Pierson, the use of a super yacht for three days and a box at the Royal Albert Hall are just some of the prizes that will be available at the National Children of Wales Awards thanks to the generosity of the business community.

The National Children of Wales Awards will take place at the Celtic Manor on April 3, 2020. The organisers 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 – though opportunities remain for businesses to get involved by supporting other aspects of the event.

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, 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.

But the event hopes to add even more extraordinary auction prizes to the roster – giving it every chance of exceeding its £100,000 target for the evening.

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

“Companies from across Wales have demonstarted remarkable generosity in their support for the inaugural National Children of Wales Awards through both backing the event as sponsors and by offering some extraordinary auction prizes. We have been blown away by the support for this event so far and we are delighted to still be speaking to a number of businesses and individuals about additional prices and sponsorship opportunities.”

Some 15 children will be recognised at the awards. The categories focus on diversity, bravery, sporting achievements, and will recognise children who help others through championing causes, caring and fundraising.

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 the event will also feature 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

We are so excited to announce that DWJ Wealth Management are the Entertainment and Hosts sponsor for the inaugural National Children of Wales Awards.

The company is based in South Wales, and provides wealth management advice to clients in Wales, within the City of London, and throughout the South West of England.

DWJ Wealth Management has an approachable team of friendly professionals, as well as a long-term care specialist who assists with pre- and post- long-term care requirements. With over 65 years of experience, the company is equipped to help clients meet their financial goals.

The company provides a variety of services, catering to all ages. These services include investment planning, retirement planning, corporate services, and banking & mortgages. If customers require advice in more specialist areas of wealth management, the company has a strong network of professional connections.

Of its involvement with the National Children of Wales Awards, Danni Watts-Jones, managing director, said:

“DWJ Wealth Management Ltd have been truly inspired by NCWA. These awards are a way for us to give something back and shine a light on children who have done incredible things and shown true bravery! It is important for us to look after the next generation.”

The National Children of Wales Awards are proud to be supporting the NSPCC (National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children) Cymru/Wales, helping it continue its work supporting children, young people and their families throughout Wales.

From its service centres in Cardiff, Swansea and Prestatyn, dedicated children’s service practitioners from NSPCC Cymru/Wales provide preventative programmes, therapeutic services to help children move on from abuse, and support for parents and families in caring for their children.

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) can happen online and offline, having a lasting impact on a young person’s life – but children continue to be at risk because of a limited understanding of what it is and how to tackle it.

This is why NSPCC Cymru/Wales offers its Protect and Respect service from all three of the children’s charity’s sites in Wales. Protect and Respect works with children and young people to help them recognise the signs that someone may be trying to exploit them, equip them to know how to respond, and teach them who to contact should they have a worry or a concern.

One strand of this work is an awareness raising group work programme with sessions already taking place in secondary schools across Wales, with young people who may have an increased vulnerability to exploitation.  The programme includes groupwork sessions for children and young people aged 11-19 who need a safe and reflective space to learn about healthy relationships and consent, and to explore topics such as internet safety, grooming, and self-esteem. It is designed to raise awareness about the potential risks both online and offline, and to increase young people’s resilience and have a clearer understanding of how to access support.

As part of the group work offer, there is also a mandatory workshop for staff from the school, to help increase their awareness of the topics covered, and how to support the children and young people they work with.  There is also a voluntary workshop offered to parents and carers of the young people who attend the group.  The teenage years are a time in a young person’s life where they want to be more independent and to explore, which is a normal part of growing up. However, the growth of technologies and the different ways that young people communicate means that they are all vulnerable to exploitation.  This is why parents and carers are being given the opportunity to help them learn how to support their child to stay safe in today’s world.

Protect and Respect also offers a 1-1 service with children and young people who are at high risk of or currently experiencing Child Sexual Exploitation.  Children’s service practitioners take a trauma-informed approach, working with children and young people to help them to understand what is happening to them, and to take steps support the child/young person to experience safer relationships and a safer environment.

Alongside this there is also the option for parents or carers to be provided with tailored 1-1 support that helps improve their wellbeing and resilience.   Parents can play a critical role in protecting children from forms of abuse, including child sexual exploitation.  This can include helping families improve their relationships with each other and build on their support networks, as well as having an increased awareness of risks which their child may be exposed to.

The efforts of NSPCC Cymru/Wales to ensure both children and adults feel safe are truly commendable. The charity has been operating for the past 100 years, relying on public donations for 90% of its funding. We are so humbled to have the charity involved with the National Children of Wales Awards.

We are thrilled to announce that Princes Gate is sponsoring the Young Sporting Hero award at the inaugural National Children of Wales Awards.

Princes Gate was established in 1991, on an organic farm in a remote corner of Pembrokeshire, with David and Glyn Jones and their parents bottling Princes Gate water by hand. The natural spring water came from the beautiful Preseli Mountains, and still does to this day.

In 2004, the demand for Princes Gate water began to increase dramatically, and eventually every farm outhouse and converted barn was full to bursting with staff and stock. The microplant couldn’t cope, so plans had to be made for a fully-fledged bottling plant.

In 2008, Princes Gate partnered with the Welsh Rugby Union – a partnership which has lasted over a decade. The company has also partnered with other sporting bodies, including Cardiff City FC and the Scarlets.

The environment is especially important to Princes Gate, and it is committed to reducing its environmental impact. It reduced the weight of its bottles, allowing it to save over 250 million grams of plastic every year and a huge amount of energy used in transportation.

Princes Gate also replaced its diesel generators with 3-phase electricity, and purchased a £1.5m bottle blower, which has dramatically reduced its raw material PET truckloads from 1,000 to just 50 per year.

Princes Gate is also the first soft drinks manufacturer in the UK to become completely self-sufficient due to its investment in a wind turbine and solar panels. This earned it a royal visit from The Queen, who praised its eco-friendly efforts.

Last year, Princes Gate was one of the first bottled water companies to start using recycled plastic from within the UK in its bottles. Now, it uses a minimum of 51 percent recycled plastic across its whole range. This has helped the company to minimise its carbon footprint and reduce waste.

Of its involvement with the National Children of Wales Awards, Endaf Edwards, general manager, said:

“We are delighted to be supporting the National Children of Wales Awards. Over the years, we have had the pleasure working with and supporting children across Wales from different backgrounds with different needs.

“When we heard that Bluestone and The Bluestone Foundation were developing an awards evening celebrating the lives and accomplishments of our children, many of whom have overcome so much to reach their goals, it was the easiest decision to be involved.

“We are lucky enough to have some great Welsh sporting partnerships and are thrilled and privileged to be sponsoring the Young Sporting Hero category. All the best to each and every nominee, they are all truly inspiring.”

Corporate social responsibility is becoming an increasingly vital concept for companies to adopt. Read on to discover how our two Headline Sponsors, The Trade Centre Wales and Bidfood, embrace their corporate social responsibility.

Corporate social responsibility is crucial for any business. It’s a way for companies to hold themselves socially accountable, whether that’s through partnering with a charity or sending employees to help at a volunteer litter-pick.

Participating in community orientated and environmentally focused events demonstrates that the business is trying to be as responsible as possible. Not only are these events excellent for the company’s image, they will also reassure the community that the company is doing its best for people and for the planet, as well as focusing on profit.

The Trade Centre Wales, one of the Headline Sponsors for the inaugural National Children of Wales, is no stranger to corporate social responsibility. The Trade Centre Group is actively involved with community initiatives, as well as fundraising. The company works with the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children), helping to raise thousands of pounds towards providing vital support to children in desperate need of it. Trade Centre Group also frequently engages members of staff in volunteer roles for local charity drives. Every Trade Centre Group showroom has its own Charity Committee, charged with organising or sourcing charitable events for the company to get involved in.

The company also engages with the community by supporting various local grassroots sports teams and clubs.

Sponsoring the National Children of Wales Awards is another element of its corporate social responsibility drive. Explaining the reasons behind it, Mark Bailey, Chairman, Trade Centre Group, said:

“When we heard about the amazing work made possible because of the National Children of Wales Awards, we wanted to get involved and do our bit to help make a difference.

“The causes that will benefit from these awards are very close to our hearts, and everyone here is honoured to help raise awareness of the National Children of Wales Awards and the causes it supports.”

The second Headline Sponsor for the National Children of Wales Awards, Bidfood, also takes corporate social responsibility seriously.

When Bidfood heard about the National Children of Wales Awards, they saw a great opportunity to give something back to the community. They also recognised that this is the first National Children of Wales Awards, and saw an opportunity to support a fantastic cause for years to come.

Nick Sullivan, Head of Freetrade Sales, said:

“When Blanche Sainsbury, founder of the National Children of Wales Awards, mentioned the Awards to us, we jumped at the opportunity. As a company, we are passionate about giving back to the community, and this is a fantastic way to do so.

“We are so excited about being a Headline Sponsor for the Awards, and we hope that we can continue to support the event over the upcoming years.”

Bidfood’s company motto is “Care, Share, and Dare”. Simply put, they encourage employees to care about what they do, work together to make great things happen, and take brave steps to deliver extraordinary results. When presented with the opportunity to be a Headline Sponsor of the National Children of Wales Awards, Bidfood saw their “Care, Share, and Dare” policy come to life. Their company values, which are nurtured under this policy, go hand in hand with the NCWAs, and they couldn’t wait to get involved.

They’re also the driving force behind plate2planet, a leading online initiative dedicated to creating positive change for sustainability in foodservice.

Plate2planet acts as a central hub, bringing organisations together to share best practice and to help take the industry’s sustainability agenda forward.

Bidfood also signed up to the WRAP Courtauld Commitment 2025, which aims to reduce the resources needed to provide food and drink in the UK by 20% in 10 years, and they are part of the Planet Mark sustainability certification programme, which requires evidence of measurable reductions in our carbon footprint.

Bidfood supports more than 260 local and national charities, as well as local community projects, through fundraising and volunteering opportunities, particularly in relation to food poverty and holiday hunger schemes.

The National Children of Wales Awards are so pleased to have such charitable, socially aware companies as Headline Sponsors. We are thrilled that the Trade Centre Wales and Bidfood want to be involved with the Awards, and we are so excited to see what these partnerships will bring.