Rhodri Morgan, a reflection

Our founder, Robert Davies has taken some time to reflect on the news of Rhodri Morgan’s passing.

Rhodri Morgan who was Vice-President of Voluntary Community Service from 1997 has died.

At a local, national and international level he was known and admired by many. Great people are praised by the great for their great work But many ordinary folk will also be aware of his closeness to their everyday concerns. Typical of this was his involvement with VCS and many similar organisations.

His first contact with our work was in 1966 shortly after VCS was founded. It was to plan the construction (by a UNA International workcamp) of an adventure playground at the former Ely Hospital School for Handicapped. Together we discussed the proposal with the Headteacher, Grace Edwards and her daughter Julie ( who he was to marry soon after). This happened to be the year when George Thomas, MP, became Pesident of VCS Cymru. Rhodri became Honorary Vice-President in 1997 at the death of George Thomas (with Robert Davies as Hon. President).

VCS Cymru now runs Radio Cardiff, which Rhodri officially opened in 2007. Subsequently he was a frequent guest for broadcast interviews until his retirement.

He attended the VCS Cymru 50th Anniversary although not “officially” and his wife Julie Morgan, AM, gave an address at the main celebration meeting.

Over the years of our organisation’s long history we are grateful for the significant and continuous support and influence of such a person.

Our thoughts are with those closest to him at this time.

Co-op Community Fund

Today’s been a busy day in the office. Not only have we been celebrating Radio Cardiff being named the Best Radio Station in Wales and the South West, but we’ve also began our six month stint as one of the Co-op’s chosen community charities.

Our work means collaborating with some of the most disatvantaged people in our communities. This is sometimes a hard-sell to funders as we’re often working with the people on the fringes of society. But we belive in giving everybody a chance, so it’s worth it.

In 2017 we went it alone, going back to our roots as a social action charity with a greater focus on people. We handed over the Volunteer Centre to C3SC and refocused our efforts on three core strands of work; heritage, media and supported volunteering. This transition has meant us needing to find new ways of raising funds. We no longer recieve funding directly from government and now wholly rely on grants and donations. Asking for money is never easy, harder still in today’s tough times, but we belive in what we’re doing, and see the effects of our work on a daily basis.

In our 50 year history we’ve been through quite a bit. We’ve gained and lost staff and faced closure sevral times, yet we are still here, and today are stronger than ever.

The Co-op Local Community Fund is one way we are raising funds for the work that we do. Members who’ve signed up can donate 1% of their shop to us without it costing them a shiny new £1! Even a propotion of the 5p spent on carrier bags goes into the pot. It’s really easy to sign up to the scheme, it will cost you a £1 but for that you get 5% back on all co-op branded products (including funerals)!

To become a meber click here.

You’ll need to choose us as your charity, but you can do that later. There are some great charities on there already, so if you wanted to you could spread your generosity acorss them all!

I’m going to be addicted to the website over the next six months, hopefully seeing our total rising, thinking about all the ways we can use that money to help people locally.

If you’d like to get involved in fundraising for VCS Cymru, or have any new ideas for us then get in touch. We’re always looking for new ways of raising funds for our work!

Thanks for reading.

Mike – Development Manager

 

Meet ups with Pave the Way

Last Thursday saw the first of our weekly Pave the Way meet ups where a steady flow of around 30 people dropped in for a cuppa and a chat. It was a lovely couple of hours where new volunteers, existing volunteers and guests from our Art of Being Well show came together to talk more about the project and their experiences. Thank you to everyone who came along, especially to new volunteers who stepped out and came to find out more.

If you would like to find out more about Pave the Way and the ways you can get involved, come along to the Radio Cardiff Studio any Thursday between 1.30pm and 3.00pm and say hello. If you would like a chat beforehand you can email me at jo.h@vcscymru.org.uk telephone 029 2132 2627 or 07387 577390.

The Art of Being Well #4: Pave The Way and Poet Guy Fletcher

Jay Walker returns with the 4th edition of ‘The Art of Being Well’, and is joined by new regular co-host Kim Reeves.

From this week ‘AOBW’ has taken over the Thursday lunchtime slot on Radio Cardiff in a live format. In this edition Jo Harry from VCS talks about the supported volunteering scheme ‘Pave The Way’, poet Guy Fletcher discusses his work, and there is information about services which offer support to people experiencing mental health or substance dependency issues. Plus ‘Steady Jay’s Reggae Mix’, and great music to uplift the spirit.

The Art of Being Well is part-funded by Cardiff Council Neighbourhood Fund, and is produced for Radio Cardiff by VCS Cymru.

Listen live every Thursday 1.30-3.00pm on Radio Cardiff 98.7FM or catch the cloudcast on Mixcloud.

 

Why I do what I do

This project often leaves you with a lot of sadness when you hear people’s stories and come to understand more about their circumstances. However, this week, we have received some lovely news which has strengthened our resolve to keep on keeping on.

A client who has suffered homelessness and ill health for much of his life and has never really had a penny to his name has finally been awarded his Personal Independence Payment. Thanks to our friends at Rainbow of Hope, he won his tribunal and is now in a much more secure position than he has ever been in before.

And what’s the first thing he’s going to do with his back payment, you say? Book a holiday to Torremolinos? Some new clothes?  No. He is going to finally buy headstones for his parents’ graves. How lovely.

 

Blocked drains, stinky toilets and trampolines

The Release Project volunteers have been working hard for weeks painting and decorating and generally sprucing up our new premises. Their progress has been hindered slightly by blocked drains which have been causing issues here since Christmas.

Last week, two of the Release crew finally decided to take action. The biggest problem was the location of the manholes which are situated in a locked yard next door. So, after finally tracking down someone who had a key for the site, Dave made his way down from the Valleys by train and bus carrying a large length of pipe, caustic soda and other bits and pieces and with help from Phil, began the task of clearing away ten years’ worth of blockages. We won’t go into detail!

Two hours later and, after hearing several screams and hysterical laughter from the yard next door, Laura went to investigate to find poor Dave in a sorry state and covered in….um…. Suffice it to say, clearing the blockage resulted in a geyser effect between the manholes and poor Dave needing hosing down!

The good news is the drains are now very clean and thanks to Go Air in Llanishen, Dave and Phil were treated to a free trampolining session with their boys on Saturday for working so hard. The bad news is Phil got a toe trapped in one of the trampolining nets and has injured himself!

Get well soon Phil (we need the painting finished!)

Dipping into 2017

At midday on New Year’s Day 2017 our Volunteering Officer, Jo Harry and her colleague in the Vale of Glamorgan, Clare Humphreys went for an unseasonal dip at Barry Island Beach.  Jo and Clare joined hundreds of others to run into the sea, braving the wind, rain and cold temperatures. The weather did not dampen the amazing spirit of the event with dippers joined by hundreds more spectators.  Clare, dressed as Rudolph the red nosed reindeer, and Jo in her VCS t-shirt (and cheating wetsuit) joined daleks, superheroes and butlers amongst others. Volunteers from the local RNLI station manned the sea as people ran in three times and dipped underwater. There were smiles and laughs everywhere.

Jo said:
Having so much fun in the rain was an invigorating way to welcome in 2017 and paves the way for a positive year ahead.

51st Annual General Meeting and Gathering

VCS Cymru – or Voluntary Community Services Cymru Limited to use our full name – held its 51st Annual General Meeting last night in the impressive setting of the newly opened Cornerstone Centre in Charles Street.

A new Management Committee was elected for the coming twelve months, with four new Trustees joining the organisation:- Alan Vaughan Hughes -who is Head of Cardiff University Special Collections & Archives; Joanna Parry – Senior Volunteering Manager at Marie Curie Cancer Care; Rhys Phillips – Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths (STEM) Ambassador and Donna Zammit – Local Businesswoman and longstanding member of the Radio Cardiff management team. They join the four Trustees who return for another term:- Mary Newman MBE (Chair); Andrew Vicker – Cardiff Council (Treasurer); Ken Barker (South Riverside Community Development Centre) and Nasir Adam (Taff Housing). Two new sub groups will be set up this year – Community History and Community Media – and further members with specialist knowledge in these areas will be co-opted to join over the next few weeks.

Following the formal business of the AGM the Management Committee ratified a proposal which will see VCS co-locate with Radio Cardiff at their premises in Butetown from 1st December.

This year’s presentation was from the Chronicle Team, and was given by Klavdija Erzan (Project Co-ordinator); Lara Taffer (Apprentice Archivist) and 2 members of the growing team of Chronicle Volunteers – Eleanor Hill and Mike Hawkins.

Our thanks go to all the Trustees, Volunteers and VCS Staff who made the evening an enjoyable and engaging event; to Vina Patel our Advisor from Social Firms Wales; Daniel Binks – our Mentor from Lloyds Bank, and Laurence Cohen – our Accountant from Gordon Downs & Company for their contributions; and to the team at Cornerstone for their excellent service.

Our Annual Report for the year 2015-16 is available here:

Annual Report 2015-16

VCS will be moving to 5-6 Hayes Building, Curran Road, Cardiff/CF10 5DF from December 1st, with ‘The Release Project’ and our new mental health supported volunteering project ‘Pave The Way’ operating from there, together with our Community Media projects. ‘The Chronicle Project’ has relocated to Glamorgan Archives for a temporary period of six months.

The move to Hayes Buildings will also be temporary as the building is in an area of redevelopment and VCS, together with Radio Cardiff (the community radio station) will be seeking new permanent premises together in 2017, which promises to be an exciting year.

As ever, we want to thank our funders: the Lloyds Bank Foundation; the Heritage Lottery Fund (Wales); the Big Lottery Fund (Wales) and Cardiff Council for their ongoing support.

The Art of Being Well #2

This week’s Art of Being Well episode is presented by Jay Walker.

If you’d like to get into contact with the Hafal Cafe, please follow the link below:
http://www.hafal.org/

Frances Smith-Williams’s website:
http://www.francessmithwilliams.co.uk/

The Art of Being Well podcast can be followed on Mixcloud and Podomatic.

The Art of Being Well is supported by VCS Cymru and funded by Cardiff Council Neighbourhood Management.

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