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WCVA’s “Be the change” call to action for Wales

Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) is calling on the people of Wales to be the change they want to see in their communities, in the face of feeling powerless and isolated due to unprecedented social and political change in society. 

This call to action comes at the launch of the photography exhibition, ‘Being the Change’, at WCVA’s flagship event, gofod3, in Cardiff City Stadium, visited by the First Minister Mark Drakeford and Deputy Minister and Chief Whip Jane Hutt.

WCVA commissioned the Bafta Cymru winning photographer Warren Orchard, who predominantly works in the media and advertising sectors, to showcase 11 charities and social enterprises – all WCVA members – in order to draw attention to the powerful contribution of charity workers and volunteers across Wales.

Chief Executive Ruth Marks says: “Our exhibition by the talented Warren Orchard really does reflect the humanity and good in all of us. These images represent just a fraction of the thousands of people up and down the country who make life better for their respective communities. 

“The cold, hard reality is that we’re living in unprecedented times. We are having to make sense of atrocities of the like seen in Christchurch last Friday, or getting to grips with potentially radical developments – both economically and politically – that are really disheartening.  

“Many of us feel powerless and isolated. Yet, there is one way to take back control, right here, right now – in Wales. By getting actively involved in issues that are close to your heart, in your community. Whether paid or voluntary, you can help heal our much-divided society.”  

In its third year, this highly anticipated gofod3 is shining a spotlight on the value of the third sector across Wales – and its ability to counter what is proving to be an increasingly difficult and divisive period.Though trust in charities is at an all-time low across the UK, this exhibition seeks to demonstrate that these groups will be needed more than ever in these trying times.

 The Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, Jane Hutt, said:

“It’s great to see WCVA putting the spotlight on the integral work of volunteers and charity workers across Wales. The ‘Being the Change’ photography exhibition is very inspiring and showcases the diverse range of charities, social enterprises and other third sector organisations on offer in Wales and the great opportunities available to us, wherever we live.

“I highly recommend volunteering; I myself am a mentor, including with EYST who are one of the charities highlighted in the exhibition. It’s both personally and professionally rewarding to give back to my community and to support unrepresented groups to come to the fore in public life.”

Echoing the words of Mahatma Ghandi, the exhibition represents the extraordinary work of third sector staff and volunteers the length and breadth of Wales. It is estimated that over 32,000 third sector organisations work in Wales.

WCVA believes each and every person in Wales could ‘be the change’ and find at least one charity or social enterprise that they could get involved with. Volunteers already undertake £757m worth of unpaid work, many of whom prop up struggling public services.

All images were taken by photographer Warren Orchard who predominantly works within the media and advertising sectors, for the likes of Netflix, Channel 4, Universal and Warner Brothers, recently winning a Bafta Cymru for his title sequence for the TV series Hinterland / Y Gwyll.

gofod3, the flagship event of WCVA, is the biggest third sector event of its kind in Wales, providing a platform for over 900 charity workers and volunteers to discuss the latest issues facing charities in Wales, including Brexit.

The ‘Being the Change’ exhibition will travel to Llanrwst for the National Eisteddfod of Wales between 3 and 10 August 2019 and will be serialised, from 21 March, on the Institute of Welsh Affairs’ Click on Wales: https://www.iwa.wales/click/

There is still time to attend gofod3 and you can register on the day to have a sneak peek at the exhibition: www.gofod3.cymru.