Two brave primary school children, a community podcast and a retired Olympic athlete are among the winners of this year’s Mayor’s Citizenship Awards 2022.
The awards, organised by Bridgend County Borough Council, recognise the outstanding achievements by local residents who have put their community on the map, or regularly go the extra mile to make a difference.
The past couple of years have been an incredible time for acts of kindness, bravery and phenomenal achievements.
We were inundated with nominations this year and deciding on our winners was no easy task. Bridgend County Borough truly has a wealth of amazing individuals and groups who will go above and beyond to help others.
I have been very lucky this year to have met many of our winners to present them with their awards and look forward to meeting more in the coming days.
Mayor John Spanswick
The winners of the 2022 awards are as follows:
Lads and Dads
A men’s mental wellbeing and support group operating out of Bridgend, Lads and Dads received a number of nominations from residents in the county borough. They were widely praised for the “incredible” work they did during the pandemic to help those struggling with their mental health. It currently has over 1100 members and is fully confidential.
Charlie and Harris Griffiths
Charlie, 7, and Harris, 4, have been commended for their bravery resulting in saving their mother’s life. The brothers took immediate action when their mother, Ria Griffiths, suffered a severe seizure.
Their prompt actions resulted in the emergency services being called and updated on the situation while the pair continued to reassure and comfort Ria who was unconscious and in a very poor, life-threatening condition.
Ria said: “On Saturday 6 November, I took a turn for the worse – I started to lose feeling in my left side, and I collapsed onto my sofa into a severe seizure.
“Charlie and Harris acted straight away, calling 999 to explain that I was sleeping and wasn’t waking up. Charlie didn’t know his address as we had just moved into the property so he told the call handler that he will call them back with an address.
“He then rang my best friend, my mother and partner, told them what had happened and asked for his address to tell the lady on the phone.
“Before he could ring back, my friend got here and took over to call 999. While she was on the phone, Charlie and Harris were constantly reassuring me, kissing my head, squeezing my hand and telling me everything is going to be alright.
“They are my real-life superheroes and saved my life. I’m one very proud mum.”
Currently Deputy Youth Mayor, G was awarded for his work towards improving accessibility and services for the LGBTQ community. He compiled a Trans Awareness training course that was delivered to a range of local authorities as well as a range of services, organisations and his peers. G was described as an “outstanding candidate” for the award following his “dedication to community outreach and equal rights for all young people”.
Voluntary group Bravo have received a Mayor’s Citizenship Award for their work which aims to enhance the village of Blackmill. Members paint bus shelters, plant flowers and had recycled seating installed. Bravo also arrange events for the community such as the turning on of Christmas lights with Ogmore Valley Silver Band in attendance.
Tremains Woodland Rangers
This group of volunteers have worked hard over the past three years to make Tremains wood more accessible to the local community. Their efforts resulted in a Green Flag award as well as recognition in this year’s Mayor’s Citizenship Awards.
Mrs Nik Dart
Nik is the co-ordinator of the Maesteg Community First Responders team, a group of volunteers to spend their free time attending appropriate 999 calls and providing first-hand emergency care to people in their community.
As well as responding to 999 callers on behalf of the ambulance service, Nik provides first-on-the-scene response for a range of patients including cardiac arrests, fits and diabetic emergencies.
Nik was also nominated for an award for her work as chair of the governing body at Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Ogwr where she leads the governing body in all strategic matters and volunteers her time to ensure the best for the school, its pupils, and the community.
10-year-old Jaxon, who has autism and ADHD, raised over £1,100 by riding his bike 100 miles during the September 2021. The money was raised for InclusAbility, a group who helped Jaxon and supports other children like him.
Mum, Sharon Trudgian, said: “This was a massive personal challenge and achievement for Jaxon as it took a very long time to ride a bike because of his coordination and balance.
“He fell off on numerous trips but continued every single day during the month to complete the challenge and raise money for InclusAbility.”
Volunteer group BAVO have received a Mayor’s Citizenship Award after stepping forward to assist vulnerable member of the community during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Around 600 volunteers answered a call to help those in the extremely vulnerable group which involved befriending and checking on the mental and emotional welfare of residents, collecting life-saving medications and taking patients home from hospital.
Olio Food Waste Heroes
This group of volunteers were awarded for collecting surplus food in their community and distributing to individuals and families in need.
The small team of volunteers collected food from a local Tesco store for UK-wide organisation, Olio. Olio’s main aim is to reduce food waste by collecting end-of-date products and then sharing them with people in the local community.
Most of the volunteers make two collections a week with food then shared with a diverse selection of people.
SPLICE Child and Family Project
SPLICE are another charitable organisation who helped make a difference to people’s lives during the pandemic.
The charity supports parents and children aged 0-5 and introduced a drop-off service to deliver baby essentials such as baby milk formula, nappies, baby food and wipes to the doorsteps of families who were struggling financially.
SPLICE are continuing to run a baby bank along with emergency food parcels, and are now providing clothing and baby equipment such as prams to families in need.
This community group provides support and services to the Llynfi Valley.
Throughout the lockdown, they were involved in food dispersal and food delivery to people in isolation, those who were shielding and those who could not afford to buy provisions. The group also carried out voluntary gardening work in schools and at people’s homes.
At Christmas, Caerau Menshed built a grotto and organised visits to see Santa, and sold Christmas trees with profits donated to schools, playgroups, Flying Start and local organisations.
Caerau Social Centre
Caerau Social Centre have been awarded for the work undertaken in the community throughout the pandemic.
They ensured that the elderly and vulnerable, and those shielding were supported with hot, freshly cooked meals. They have continued to show good will by packing lunches for local children when there was no school to attend, provided sit-down roast dinners to the elderly and, at Christmas, organised a parade in Caerau complete with a Santa float.
Fr Jonathan Durley
Pandemic hero Jonathan was chosen as a winner of the award after working voluntarily to deliver hot meals and other services for vulnerable residents throughout Kenfig Hill, Pyle, North and South Cornelly, and Kenfig.
Gareth Edwards was another pandemic hero awarded for his hard work during the pandemic, delivering hot meals three times a week to vulnerable residents in Kenfig Hill, Pyle, North and South Cornelly and Kenfig.
Those Damn Crows
Bridgend-based band Those Damn Crows started an interactive podcast when the lockdown started to support people and keep in touch with fans.
Starting with just a small group of followers, the podcast went from strength to strength and is now well-known throughout the county borough.
In their weekly podcast, the band – whose members are Shane Greenhall, Ronnie Huxford, Ian Thomas, Lloyd Wood and David Winchurch – hosted virtual quizzes, free giveaways and had special guest speakers in addition to promoting and collaborating with local independent Bridgend businesses.
Richard is a winner of a Mayor’s Citizenship Award for his volunteer work for the Dog’s Trust in Bridgend.
Since joining in August 2005, he has worked hard to help fundraising efforts for the charity by helping as a car park attendant at open days, helping on stalls or even dressing up as the Dog Trust mascot.
A large group of people in the Bettws Community have been recognised for supporting vulnerable people.
Working from the Bettws Life Centre, members of the community helped provide hot meals to those less fortunate than themselves including over 250 Christmas dinners for the homeless, those isolating and the vulnerable.
The community also offered dinners to families sheltering from domestic violence across the county borough as well as 100 shoeboxes full of essential hygiene products suitable for distribution to homeless charities.
A community group of residents from North Cornelly, Marlas Greenspaces worked to improve underutilised land for the benefit of the local community.
They were supported and mentored by Space Saviours and Wild Spirit Consultants to produce a robust project plan that has influenced a number of stakeholders’ and partnerships’ contributions, which has resulted in a resident-led innovative project that is delivering measurable benefits to their community.
One project has seen the regeneration of an old compound area that was attracting fly-tipping into an inclusive community hub.
Three-time Olympic triathlete Helen added more silverware to her collection after scooping a Mayor’s Citizenship Award for using her success to fundraise for sports clubs and charity, Velindre.
Born in Scotland, but raised and residing in Bridgend, Helen is also an ambassador for the Halo Sport Foundation which supports and develops young athletes on their journey into sport.
Mr and Mrs March
This couple from Pencoed have devoted themselves to the community, delivering food to a local community centre each week before putting food parcels together to be taken out to the community.
Mum, Emma received a Mayor’s Citizenship Award after fundraising for various charities and volunteering her time to benefit others – all while working two jobs.
Emma volunteers at various places across the county borough including Tremain Primary School where she raised over £10,000 through various fund raising events, Alzheimer’s Society, McMillilan coffee mornings as well as the RNLI where she works in the RNLI shop.
Mr Ken Davies
Ken has been awarded for his commitment and work for the Boys and Girls Club at Nantymoel over the past three decades.
He has been an active volunteer over the years and has even put some of his own funds into the facility to ensure it remained open over the years.