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Future Generations Commissioner marks end of seven-year term by recognising Wales’ changemakers

Pictured: Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, Sophie Howe, with co-creators at The Democracy Box, who join the Future Generations Changemaker 100 alongside names including actor and activist Michael Sheen

Climate activists, public sector workers, influencers, schools and a Hollywood actor join a list of some of the people highlighted by the first Future Generations Commissioner, Sophie Howe, for making a positive difference to Wales’ present and future.

Wales is the only country in the world with a Well-being of Future Generations Act and Ms Howe is coming to the end of her term as the world’s first statutory Future Generations Commissioner. 

To date, some of the achievements of the Act and commissioner’s role include helping to put a basic income trial on the agenda, interventions in transport that lead to the M4 relief road being scrapped in favour of more funding for public transport and a new transport strategy, a new purpose-driven curriculum and an emphasis on preventative healthcare.

Now the outgoing commissioner, who will finish her role at the end of January 2023, wants to highlight just some of the changemakers from all across society working for a better Wales. 

Poets, public sector workers, activists, influencers, businesses, schools and volunteers helping to embed the well-being goals across Wales appear alongside actor and campaigner Michael Sheen on the Future Generations Changemaker 100 list – which is being published for the first time today [Tuesday, January 24] at an event at Wales Millennium Centre. 

Individuals on the list include Amanda Davies, who developed the Bed Poverty Relief Scheme at Swansea Bay University Health Board, which donated surplus Covid-19 beds to a children’s hospital and refugee camps in Moldova for Ukrainian people fleeing the war trans activist, Zoey Allen, and actor Michael Sheen.

Natalie Hodgkinson is former maths tutor using coffee to tackle unemployment who founded Boss & Brew Academy in lockdown and has since offered free barista training and employability programmes to young people primarily in Butetown and Grangetown, Cardiff, the majority of whom are Black, Asian or of minority ethnicity. 

The event at WMC will include performances by changemakers on the list – Taylor Edmonds, the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales’ Poet in Residence 2021-2022; Welsh musician Blankface, one of the young co-creators at The Democracy Box, who are creating a movement for change, raising awareness about our democracy and how to get involvedand Cardiff’s Radnor Primary School choir. There will also be reflections by Sophie Howe and by the First Minister, Mark Drakeford.  

Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner

Sophie Howe said: “Wales’ well-being legislation puts an obligation on public bodies to act outside of the status quo, but there are also thousands of people making positive change every day. 

This event is about recognising just some of the people demonstrating what happens when we put well-being first, work together and consider the long-term implications of our actions, and highlights the need to support changemakers so that they can improve society for everyone.  

“The Future Generations Changemaker 100 is merely a snapshot of Wales’ brilliant changemakers, and we want others to share the people who inspire them, and keep the momentum going for now and for future generations.” 

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “Recent years have brought to the fore the scale of the global challenges we face. Chief among these is the pressing need to work towards a more sustainable future. To deliver on our ambitions for a stronger, fairer, and greener Wales we need to continually ensure that the way we work in government is driving forward the positive vision we have for the future shaped by the Well-being of Future generations Act. 

What helps set Wales apart is the work of the independent Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, in supporting this change and keeping the focus on the long term. 

“The Future Generations Commissioner has been a driving force, and I want to pay tribute to the impressive and long-lasting contribution Sophie Howe has made to public debate and policy in Wales.” 

Noel Mooney

Noel Mooney, CEO of the Football Association of Wales, takes a place on the list. Mr Mooney worked with the commissioner on FAW’s sustainability strategy, Cymru, well-being and the world, which outlines the association’s vision for a global, local Cymru, using the power of football to improve Wales’ well-being. Following the launch, the FAW announced an agreement for equal pay for the Cymru Men’s and Women’s national teams. 

He said: “Sustainability is a key focus for the Football Association of Wales and so I’m delighted that the Future Generation’s Commissioner has recognized the work we’re doing towards our goal of becoming a world leader in football. Were a progressive organisation in tune with the values and culture of the communities and characters that make up our beautiful game.  

Thinking and acting sustainably means that the decisions we make today will also have a positive impact on generations to come. With this strategy, in line with the Well-being of Future Generations Act, we have a plan of action to develop sustainable and stronger clubs, leagues and initiatives in order to achieve this.