Pave the Way on Radio Cardiff 8th June 2017

Just a short time after joining Pave the Way, on the 8th June, our inspirational volunteer, Karen spoke live on our Art of Being Well show about her experience of living with bipolar.  Karen has an amazing story and her passion for all things wonderful is infectious. You can listen again here:

Karen on air with Jay and Jen – Cassie and Jo are in the studio listening in

Diffusion Festival Pave the Way

Revolution April 2017

James and the Diffusion team welcomed us to a recruitment session at the Ffotogallery studio at Chapter. We went along with colleagues from Pave the Way in the Vale. The festival ran throughout May 2017 across many venues in Cardiff. The Diffusion team offered lots of different volunteering opportunities. There was something for everyone: public facing; behind the scenes; admin and marketing; construction; social media, all sorts.

The festival exhibited works by photographers from across the globe and attracted visitors from far and wide – its theme was Revolution. You can find out more here:

Pave the Way, Sherman 5 and BBC Get Creative Event April 2017

In April, Pave the Way volunteers joined Guy O’Donnell, the Sherman 5 team and lots of other organisations to Get Creative.

We went behind the scenes and onto the stage which was set up for City Road Stories, and we got to sit in the Studio which was showing Killology. It was very hard to resist touching the props ……

City Road Stories was there, we got to add comments on a huge map of City Road. Needless to say the section around Poets’ Corner / PC’s / Tut & Shive was full of interesting memories …



The amazing Made In Roath Collective was at the event with a poetry booth. Lit bombing? We loved it. We got to choose a subject and the poet in residence at the booth composed  express masterpieces. Here are two, one called Freedom and one called The Sherman.


Everyone signed up to join Sherman 5, some PtW volunteers signed up to be Sherman 5 reps.To top off a fantastic morning, refugees in Cardiff, through Cardiff City of Sanctuary, served up a stunning array of traditional dishes from a number of African Nations. This is Jo’s plate with Eritrean, Ugandan, and Congolese food.

Diolch Pawb!

Pave the Way – wellbeing through volunteering

Contact Jo for more information:

Jo Harry
07387 577390
02921 322 627

If you want to find out more about Sherman 5:


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Pave the Way: Forest Farm with Green Days


We had sunshine and fun when we hitched onto a Green Days volunteering session at Forest Farm on Friday 30th June. We were pulling balsam and crushing bracken. Forest Farm is beautiful, a real hidden gem. If you haven’t been there, check out this link for more information:

Rangers explaining what balsam and bracken are – just as well as Jo was clueless

David, Kevin, Jo and the Green Days team who let us join them







David looking cool and working hard

This beautiful wildflower meadow was a patch of scrub land not so long ago. Green Days project volunteers cleared the land earlier in the year and planted it up, it’s near the rangers’ hut for everyone to enjoy







If you want to find out more about volunteering with the Green Days you can via this link: or if you are a Pave the Way volunteer, contact Jo (


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Student Volunteers making a difference at Stroke Centre

Student Volunteers Week (22 – 28 February) is a national celebration of the positive impact students have on their communities through volunteering.

The Stroke Rehabilitation Centre (SRC) at University Hospital Llandough (UHL) has recently recruited 16 student volunteers to assist as it develops its services to include seven day rehabilitation.

The 45 bed consultant led unit has a multidisciplinary team to offer on-going management and rehabilitation to patients who have had strokes.

The SRC reviewed its resources to enable its patients to receive seven day rehabilitation while they are on the unit. This includes the appointment of new rehabilitation assistants as well as the time of student volunteers to help support activity on the ward.

The volunteers will work in partnership with staff to assist and organise activity sessions for patients at the SRC. Activities include arts and crafts and quizzes, with some activities organised around individual needs.  A key role as a volunteer is befriending, where volunteers can support patients at their bedside by simply reading or speaking to them.

Here three students tell us about their experiences of volunteering at the SRC.

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Reused clothing to keep homeless warm this winter

Homeless people in Cardiff are to benefit from warm clothes collected just before Christmas by the Grangetown Community Action group.

In total over 50 sacks of clothing were passed to the Salvation Army’s Bus Project which is a drop-in centre in a bus, which serves tea, coffee and sandwiches to homeless people every night in the city centre. The clothing collected was also weighed and put towards City of Cardiff Council’s current reuse target.

Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Bob Derbyshire said: “I’d like to thank the public-spirited volunteers who collected this clothing for homeless people in our city. I am sure the clothes will be gratefully received and it underlines the importance of allowing others to reuse unwanted items. I’d much rather an old jumper provided warmth for somebody in need rather than lie untouched at the bottom of a drawer.”

Secretary of Grangetown Community Action Group, Ashley Lister said: “During the clothes drive a fantastic 51 bags of clothes ranging from hats and scarves, to jeans and jumpers was collected and donated to The Salvation Army’s Bus Project. I’d like to thank all those who donated clothing to the cause, Father David Morris and local Police Officers who helped to sort and deliver the clothing at the end of the drive. I’d also like to extend my thanks to Cardiff Council’s Neighbourhood Partnership Team, staff at Channel View Leisure Centre, Cardiff Youth Offending Service and The Buzz Information Shop for their support acting as drop-off points.”


Plans shaping up for VCS 50th Anniversary Week

We’ll be celebrating our 50th anniversary in June with a week long exhibition at The Cardiff Story (The Old Library) in The Hayes 2nd – 6th of June.

On Monday 2nd June we have a lunchtime launch event featuring the wonderful Tenovus ‘Sing With Us’ Choir’ and special musical guests with a 1960’s theme to remember our early days as Britain’s very first Volunteer Bureau.

We’ll also be welcoming Julie Morgan AM; Alun Micheal PCC; Peter Tyndall (Ombudsman) and VCS founder Robert Davies.

…..and we’ll be giving out  ‘Golden Volunteer’  long service certificates to volunteers nominated by some of our 350+ registered organisations.

The exhibition continues on Tuesday with photographs & memorabilia on display. Our own team of VCS Senior Volunteers Champions – led by the wonderful Lesley –  will be on hand  to act as guides.  On Tuesday our musical soundtrack will be from the 1970’s, on Wednesday its the 80’s, Thursday 90’s and we come up to date on the Friday with a special focus on Youth Volunteering.

On Wednesday 4th we’ll be launching our new project funded by the Lloyds Bank Foundation which will be supporting people with criminal convictions (& their families) into volunteering opportunities.

On Friday 6th June we end the week with our finale event – again taking place at lunchtime. This time the focus is on Young People and we’ll have live music from bands & performers from with some of our member organisations, including the Cathays Youth & Community Centre who are kindly helping us with the PA during the week.

Our confirmed guests on Friday include Jenny Willott MP; Stephen Doughty MP; Vaughan Gething AM; Jenny Rathbone AM and we’ll again be joined by VCS founder Robert Davies.

Luke Jones has been working tirelessly to organise this, and he is still very keen to hear from people who have been involved with VCS over the past half century who would like to get in touch to share their memories. Luke’s email is or phone 029 2022 7625.

Our story is very much the story of the charities and organisations that use volunteers in Cardiff, and we are welcoming all these to join us to help tell their story too – so if you are with an organisation that has not yet got involved, and you have some memorabilia that you’d like us to include please get in touch with Luke over the next week.

We are also looking for nomination’s for long service volunteering certificates which will be presented on the Monday event, there is still a week to get in touch with your organisations nominee. This is not a competition, but an opportunity to recognise the dedication and commitment of long term volunteering.

VCS at The Cardiff Story will be open to the public from 10am – 4pm from Monday 2nd June to Friday 6th June. The Volunteer Centre will be running from the exhibition during the whole week and so our Brunel House drop-in will be closed for that period.






Cardiff Foodbank: feeding Wales’ hungry

This article is re-posted with permission from Cardiff Community Couch. The original version can be found here.

It was never a secret that a huge proportion of supermarket food goes to waste. But when Tesco published its waste figures for the first time last week, it really put the problem into perspective.

The study, carried out in conjunction with the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), revealed 28,500 tonnes of food were wasted in Tesco’s stores and distribution centres in the first six months of 2013. Tesco stores and its customers threw away two thirds of its bagged salads, almost half its baked goods and 40% of its apples. 

Of course this is bad news for the company, but what is the extent of the impact on everyone else? Tesco’s research also revealed that food waste costs families in the UK about £700 a year.

Tesco has pledged to make changes to its policies, and has also recently announced it will be increasing its partnership with food charity FareShare. The corporation will donate about seven million meals worth of its fresh food a year to the charity, providing much-needed resources to services that have increasingly been put under pressure since the advent of the recession.

There are already many organisations who work tirelessly to help people who can’t afford to feed themselves. Cardiff Foodbank is just one of many food charities in Wales, but it’s also one of the most popular. I visited one of the food bank’s Woodville collection point on Crwys Road last weekend to find out just how much the local community relies on its services.

So far this financial year, about 1,200 people will have received almost ten tons of food via Woodville Christian Centre. Cardiff Foodbank’s Project Manager Ian Purcell tells me it is one of the city’s biggest food collection points.


There is a distinct atmosphere of warmth as I walk into the centre. Volunteers, who proudly wear their green polo shirts, emblazoned with the charity’s logo, offer me a warm welcome and a cup of tea.  I’m waiting to speak to Saturday’s team leader, Bruce Hurrell, who is chatting cheerfully with those who have come to receive food packages today.

Two men bundled up in heavy coats are having an animated discussion, despite their weary appearances, over steaming mugs of tea and a plate of biscuits. A timid-looking young couple are next to come through the door with their child in a pushchair, who looks about four or five years old. Their smiles suggest they are happy and relieved to be getting help from the food bank, although they are not confident enough to talk to me about their reasons for coming here. As volunteer Ann Roberts tells me, it takes courage to present yourself at a food bank as a last resort.

I ask her if she’s had any particularly memorable encounters with people who have used the food bank. She tells me she’s been moved to tears on some occasions.

The woman from Ann’s anecdote isn’t the only one to want to give something back when easier times come around. Leanne Mackay is just one of the food bank’s many returning users who says she would like to volunteer for the centre once her situation has improved.

When I finally get a chance to speak to Bruce, he emphasises that the food bank is primarily for emergency use, not a service people should rely on permanently. Each person or family can only exchange vouchers for food at the bank a total of three times, although he does say they never like to turn people away. As such, there are sometimes exceptions, as more and more people find themselves in long-term financial hardship.

He tells me food banks receive very little cash funding. Instead, they rely almost entirely on food donations from the general public and local businesses. Interestingly, he says Cardiff University is the biggest single donor to the food bank in the area.

Bruce says the busiest period for food banks is the run-up to Christmas. The severity of the problem truly struck me when Bruce told me people this winter may have to make a choice between warmth and eating.

Although most of the visitors to the food bank are individuals and families, other volunteering organisations depend on its services as well. Yasmin Khan is a volunteer at refugee charity Sova, and has come to the food bank today to pick up food for a group of refugees.

She says, although food banks provide an excellent service, many refugees and immigrants don’t know where to find them. Raising awareness of how to access these services is vital for people who have lost everything and who are struggling get by in a strange new place, she tells me.

My visit to the food bank collection point has motivated me to apply to volunteer there myself. But I, like many others, am concerned about whether I will be able to juggle volunteering alongside studying a full-time MA. Before I leave, volunteer Gavin Davis tells me he manages to fit in two hours a week working for the food bank even alongside playing in four bands and working two jobs! Food for thought indeed.

What inspired me to become a Volunteering Development Manager

This article is re-posted with permission from Cardiff Community Couch. The original version can be found here.

My name is Shelley Elgin. I work for Alzheimer’s Society as Volunteering Development Manager for Wales. I started with the Society in July 2012.

My passion for volunteering started when I was a trainee tutor at my local education centre, where I volunteered by helping the older generation learn computer skills. I also became a member of the school PTA and took part in lots of fundraising activities.

Now after 10 years of being a volunteer, volunteer trainer and volunteer coordinator I have my dream job.

So what does Alzheimer’s Society do? The Society is the UK’s leading care and research charity for people with dementia and their carers; providing direct support and care for people with dementia and their carers through our national helpline, respite care, day care, carer support groups and other local services.

Alzheimer’s Society invests in research into the cause, cure, care and prevention of dementia. We give vital information and help educate people with dementia, carers and healthcare professionals.

“Now after 10 years of being a volunteer, volunteer trainer and volunteer coordinator I have my dream job.”

1 in 3 people over 65 will develop dementia, there are 800,000 people with dementia in the UK, and that figure is set to rise to 1 million by 2021. It is estimated that there are over 45,000 people with dementia in Wales, only 39 per cent receive a formal diagnosis.

My initial thought on joining Alzheimer’s Society was how passionate and committed our volunteers are in helping people affected by dementia. They give up their time and go above and beyond. When I first joined, I took part in the Cardiff Memory Walk with my family and I was so impressed by this event it only strengthened my passion in working with the charity. This extended to my children who all went into their school proudly showing off their Memory Walk medals and talking to other children about dementia – they are dementia champions in the making!

Our work on the ground relies on volunteers to provide services and fundraise to over 30,000 people every week. My colleagues who provide our frontline services are really keen to recruit volunteers who will work with them on an ongoing basis so they can provide sustainable support for people with dementia. For example, you could help out in a dementia café for just a few hours each week, or you could volunteer to cheer at one of our runs or Memory Walks, or become an ambassador for the Society.

”My children all went into their school proudly showing off their Memory Walk medals and talking to other children about dementia – they are dementia champions in the making!”

Our volunteers are very important to the Society, and without them we would not be able to achieve everything we want to do for people affected by dementia. We are committed to giving a fully supported volunteering experience, from induction, training, and recognition to paid expenses. Our volunteers can really see a difference they are making, which is personally rewarding.

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