Category Archives: Cymraeg

Public Health Wales Youth Forum – Jessie Hack

Jessie Hack from Public Health Wales’ Youth Forum has blogged for us about being involved in the young person AQS and the Young Wales Youth Summit ahead of our ‘Young People Influencing Decisions about What Matters to Them’ event.

The young person Annual Quality Statement (AQS) was such an experience. I’ve had so much fun creating the AQS, from improving my photography skills to seeing a cartoon version of me on the middle page of the booklet. I specialised in promoting the help me quit programme. Public health Wales were hoping to reduce the amount of smokers in Wales. I also wrote about passive smoking and how it does and will affect you just as much as an actual smoker. We put lots of time into the AQS. We went out into Cardiff City centre and took photographs of the problems we believe could talk about in the AQS. We also had a question and answer session with the chief executive of Public Health Wales; Tracey Cooper, we asked her questions to enhance the information we wished to include in out statements. We then wrote our statements and attended a design workshop for the AQS.   We decided on cartoon faces, colourful writing and photos and large, easy to read text.

Another memorable time involving Public Health Wales was the youth summit with Young Wales. It was a great opportunity for young people to learn more about different area of health and talk about issues that matter to me personally. There were workshops to take part in throughout the day. Firstly there was a how can I get where I want to in life and how can I achieve that session, then a session on what is being successful and finally a session on Adverse Childhood Experience and Resilience. I thoroughly enjoyed those sessions and am so grateful for this wonderful opportunity to learn so much and be part of such an educational day. I would love to do it again!

Thank you so much Public Health Wales for giving me the chance to do such amazing things in the past year or so.

Senedd yr Ifanc – Wrexham

It’s easy to want change, its bloomin’ difficult to make a change

Toby Jones from Public Health Wales’ Youth Forum has blogged for us about his experiences representing young people in a variety of roles ahead of our ‘Young People Influencing Decisions about What Matters to Them’ event.


My Youth Forum experience has been life-changing.  Local consultations, research and presentation of findings to decision makers in an attempt to adjust specific topics like the area we live in or bullying in schools to benefit young people better has set the foundation for many national projects I have taken part in.  Although I take extreme pride in regional and national experiences like representing my home county of Wrexham in the House of Commons as part of the UK Youth Parliament and representing North Wales young people as part of an intercounty advisory group.

However, out of all the work I’ve done, none have been able to display immediate change quite like the work with Public Health Wales.  To have the full backing of an organisation right from the first day of my involvement writing the inaugural young person’s annual quality statement in April 2017 which was fully designed and published to be young person’s friendly was an incredible sign of things to come.

At the youth health summit in the early winter of the same year, a speech from Chief Executive Tracey Cooper was the most passionate I’d ever heard an official of a non youth focussed business or organisation truly believe that young people’s voices matter.

Availability of resources aside they have set the perfect example of facilitating young people to change access to their product, in this case health information, for the future and for the better.

Too many times I’ve seen a youth group used only as a tick box exercise or a youth group allowed to chase their own tails without professional input for too long, getting the right balance is absolutely key. A group has to tackle issues step by step and you have to prioritise issues to tackle appropriately.

It’s easy to want change, its bloomin’ difficult to make a change.

But it’s overcoming that challenge and the intricacies involved that keeps me loving youth work and ensures I maintain my connections with Public Health Wales.



Why are we investing in the next generation?

Georgina James from Melin Homes has blogged for us ahead of our ‘Young People Influencing Decisions About What Matters to Them’ event. 

melin homes

Here at Melin Homes we have a dedicated school program that is a core part of the business. FACE which stands for Future, Active, Career and Elevate, is designed to help the pupils in the schools of the areas we have develop their employability skills and widen their career aspirations whilst giving them experiences and opportunities that help them grow personally and professionally. It’s hit the ground running with over 1000 pupil engagements since April last year.

Why do Melin commit to working with schools I hear you ask, what benefit does it give us?

The pupils in those schools are the next generation right? They’re the next generation of our residents, our staff members, our board members, our contractors, our supportive councillors and our Welsh assembly workers. It makes complete sense for Melin to work with this generation from a young age. These young people will grow up knowing who Melin are and what we do, and whilst it helps with our business needs it directly impacts the lives of our younger residents and their communities.

By knowing Melin, they’re less likely to play up on the street corners, because they have a level of respect for the staff they’ve worked with. By doing workshops with Melin on money and finance, they are more likely to be better with money which ensures our rents are paid if they become one of our residents. By helping create positive mindsets we are showing them they can achieve whatever they want to, no matter what their background or life experience. By giving them interview and employability skills we are opening up opportunities for them to get into employment. By doing litter picks with local schools we are showing that everyone has responsibility to look after their environment around them – no matter what age or status. The list could go on and on and on.

It sounds good in theory right? Does it really work?

Yes without a doubt, investing in young people benefits Melin in the long run. I am one of many of the young people that Melin have helped and I now work for Melin. I volunteered with Melin from the age of 13 and continued to volunteer until I was 18. As a thank you Melin paid for my driving lessons and test and then gave me the opportunity to have a short term contract 5 years ago. Where am I now? 5 years down the line, I’m still working for Melin but I’m a permanent member of staff, rolling out the same help and support that I had, to hundreds of young people. I am living proof that when a company invests in young people, they reap the rewards. Melin isn’t just my workplace, it’s so much more, it’s an opportunity to give back the opportunities that Melin gave to me. I am so passionate about spreading the word about Melin, about helping young people, whether that is to understand their bills or improve their employability chances or boost their confidence. No matter where my future takes me I will forever be grateful to Melin for the head start in life they gave me.

One of our lovely volunteers that I have had the pleasure of working with, has volunteered with Melin from 13-18 too and now she’s preparing to do an apprenticeship with us here at Melin. It’s a ripple effect, when young people are made to feel worthy and like they’re given a voice and seen they will give you so much back. So what are you doing to ensure that the young people feel the same about you? Could you do more?

Melin have now committed to starting a youth empowerment project called YEP!, which is designed to give young people the opportunity to be part of Melin’s board and gain vital skills that will help them within their communities and professionally. It will also give them a chance to impact on the way Melin works, and how we need to adapt for the next generation coming through.

Rhondda Cynon Taff’s Youth Engagement and Participation Service

Kaitlyn from Rhondda Cynon Taff’s Youth Engagement and Participation Service has blogged for us about the most valuable lessons she has learned from being involved in many community and youth projects ahead of our ‘Young People Influencing Decisions About What Matters to Them’ event.


At least once I can guarantee anyone reading this has sat in a classroom and voted for their year group school council representative. From year 3 to my current position in sixth form, voting days were my time to shine! I’m Kaitlyn and in September of last year I became a proud member of my school’s Leadership Team, which in the same December lead me to my first RCT County Youth Forum meeting. Over the last year, I have worked A LOT with RCT’s Youth Engagement and Participation Service (Yeps) and have developed and accessed an impeccable amount of skills and opportunities that have allowed me to be in the position I am now, or should I say positions (there are multiple) – a Yeps volunteer, a Member of Youth Parliament, the Secretary of the CYF (County Youth forum) and Youth Inspector. Really I quite often lose track of all the titles I’ve been given, but it’s not about those. It’s about what I have learnt along the way…


One of, if not the most valuable lessons I’ve learned from being involved in many community and youth projects is the importance of social interaction. I have met a multitude of people who have taught me a number of things and each has impacted the decisions I’ve made moving forward since. My favourite example of this is my friends Kelly and Zoey. I met this loving pair through my admiration of theatre and writing. Through Yeps’ young person’s website I was asked to attend a press night for the ballet in Cardiff, Wales Millenium Centre and review the show. There I met Kelly and Zoey who encouraged me to start my own blog as it was something I had considered, but, did not have the confidence to do. After that I set up my own theatre blog which I love writing for alongside WICID, adoring every musical, play or performance I have seen since. It has introduced me to so many other female, Welsh bloggers who are constantly giving me advice, tips and 100% support.


Despite what I do outside of Yeps, I will always remember where I began my Youth aspirations. Mental Health was one of my main priorities going into my first Youth Forum as I knew it was one of the sub-committees I wanted to be a part of. I started out being trained up to be a Youth Mental Health first aider as part of a 6 week course (which works wonders on the cv) and most recently as part of a German exchange I was then able to run own Mental Health workshop. It’s extremely beneficial and refreshing for these activities to be organised by young people themselves as it brings them a sense of purpose and certainty that their voices are being heard. It also brings a whole new perspective having a person your age talking with you, on the same level, rather than at you with an egotistic sense of authority due to the number of years they’ve lived for! You can be ‘mature’ at 16, right?


The idea of maturity at 16 was an argument that was presented in front of myself and a further 300 hundred MYP’s (member of youth parliament) at the 2018 House of Commons annual debate when discussing the right to vote at 16. In November last year, Yeps, BYC and Youth Cymru took me to London! If I thought the youth voice was being heard in my local Youth Forum, it was definitely being heard on a much larger scale here and I was honored to be one of two from RCT to attend. We debated a number of topics voted for by over 1 million young people across the UK and came to a final conclusion on our top two issues for our 2019 campaigns. Those being Votes at 16 and tackling knife crime.


Working with young people with different opinions, backgrounds and goals as a volunteer with Yeps has opened my eyes to so much more beyond, what my Dad calls my ‘little Kaitlyn bubble’. The skills I have developed, socially and mentally has shown me how capable I and any other young person can be to make change. The Youth Engagement and Participation service has provided me with numerous trainings – including public speaking – which have set me up for the real world. Never will I have to worry about entering an interview with no previous work experience or voluntary hours because I have had enough to last me a lifetime in just one year thanks to the support of Yeps.


I am blessed to have worked with the kindest and most caring Youth Workers who have encouraged me to push myself past my own mindset and achieve more than I thought possible.

Our Public Health Diary

Neath Port Talbot Youth Council has blogged for us ahead of our ‘Young People Influencing Decisions about What Matters to Them’ event.

What’s it all about?

This is a summary of Neath Port Talbot Youth Council’s journey with Public Health Wales. This includes the residential where the Youth Council and other young people wrote and designed the Young People’s Annual Quality Statement (AQS) – ‘it was a brilliant learning experience’.


Day 1 Summary

Junaid arranged a tour of the building and we met heads of departments so we could understand what their jobs were and how they manage. We could see the smoking cessation helpline ‘Help Me Quit’ going on.


We had lunch –too posh – give us party food anytime!! Not that we weren’t grateful.

After lunch we had a walking tour of Cardiff city centre taking photographs for health issues and our graphic design workshop – we really enjoyed this.

Day 2

We learnt a lot in the communications workshop with Dan the man Owens. We spent the afternoon putting this to good use reading news articles then developing our own stories trying our best to make them interesting and captivating. We also questioned Tracy Cooper CEO of Public Health – thanks Tracy for getting in our selfies – legend!

So we’ve been doing a lot since this residential like setting up our own health sub group on the youth council, we also told the Leader and councillors in NPTCBC all about the AQS. They made sure the document went out to all the schools. We’ve been asked to train as mental health mentors in schools so we can help our peers get help or signposted to services if they need it.

We also helped plan then attended the youth health summit #UGotSummittoSay so young people can shape health services. Two of our youth council members sit on local health boards. We also presented our work at the Public Health AGM. Please read the Young Peoples Annual Quality Statement we learnt a lot.


Seren, Hannah, Jodie, Erin & Corey

(Part of NPT Youth Council Youth – Youth Excellence Award Winners 2018)


Let your past, and our present, shape their future – Katie Hoddinott

#WAOYouth is taking place on 12th and 28th March in Cardiff and Llanrwst, respectively.

Katie Hoddinott is 17. She volunteers for Melin Homes, studies at High School and was keen to get some work experience. With our upcoming youth event we wanted to learn about what matters to young people today, and whether what matters to young people is being heard, understood and listened to, by “people in charge”. Katie’s personal experience of having uncertainty about what to do after finishing school led her to look at how the education system helps children and young people in seeking clarity on their future. Katie decided to look into the following:

In young people, she asked what job they want when they grow up; what challenges they face in getting the job they want; and what should school teachers, politicians and people in charge do to help them get the job they want. In the older generations, she asked what they wanted to do when they were younger, and whether they were in that role currently, and how they got there. She went on to ask what they thought were the challenges facing young people today, to look at whether the older generation understood and saw the issues that young people truly face today.

Katie will be blogging for us soon, to extend upon what she shares in this vlog.


Inspection Wales’ thematic reviews of Support for Young People

Ahead of our event ‘Young people influencing decisions about what matters to them’, Emma Giles, Inspection Wales Programme Manager, has blogged for us about collaborative working between the inspectorates and the reviews that are being undertaken around support for young people in Wales.

Collaborative working is challenging, and from my experience, being effective requires all partners to be equally engaged in setting the aims and the team needs to work to common goals, with a shared methodology, and be open to working across organisational boundaries. For me, there are several factors to consider when undertaking a joint project, from planning and resourcing the project to engendering the culture needed to successfully deliver a collaborative project.

Planning the work

  1. From the outset, there needs to be a robust, clearly defined and well understood process for moving from identifying potential options for collaborative working through to developing detailed scope and methods and producing final outputs. All partners must be equally engaged in developing the process and ‘signed up’ to it.
  2. To be successful, collaborative working requires staff from across partners to agree and work to a common scope and shared methodology. Albeit, individuals should also where appropriate be enabled to work within their own area of expertise.
  3. Each partner does not need to contribute in the same way to a collaborative piece of work. Rather, the planning phase should identify the relative contribution each partner can make, and this might involve partners taking on different roles. For example, one partner might lead the fieldwork, and another be involved in sense checking emerging findings.
  4. It needs to be recognised that getting a collaborative piece of work ‘off the ground’ is time consuming due to its challenging nature. For example, securing agreement on scope across organisations that may well have different priorities, legislative remits and resourcing constraints. Therefore, planning for such projects needs to start well in advance of any scheduled fieldwork dates.

Resourcing the work – people and money

  1. Collaborative work should not be an add-on to the ‘day job’ but needs to be planned into the work programmes of relevant staff.
  2. Committing resources to all stages of the project lifecycle from identifying potential options for joint review to producing the final output (whether that is a report or other product) requires up front agreement from senior staff across the partner organisations.
  3. Continuity of staff is vital to ensure that momentum and understanding of the project is not lost through staff turnover. Where responsibilities must change hands, there must be effective handover arrangements.
  4. A steering group is likely to be prove useful but must comprise staff empowered to make decisions.

The culture underpinning the work

  1. All partners must be equally committed to the collaboration and individuals must be open to sharing their own expertise and listening to the views of colleagues from across all partners.
  2. From the outset, there needs to be honest conversations about respective organisational practices and resources and the constraints these might impose, together with a clear and agreed upon approach to addressing any such constraints.

But the key, it appears to me, is that successful collaborative working requires what have been called ‘process management skills’, ‘such as the ability to identify and develop a shared agenda and forge coalitions’, in addition to expertise in the topic area.

Notwithstanding the challenging nature of collaborative working, Inspection Wales partners have over the last 18 months or so been working together to review the support available for young people.  My August 2017 blog, Inspection Wales partners begin joint work on support for young people,  sets out the background behind why Inspection Wales undertook its first joint thematic review around the topic of young people, and the proposed scope of the four pieces of work on services for young people being undertaken by Inspection Wales partners.  Since then, Estyn has published its review of youth work. The Wales Audit Office, Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) and Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) will publish their respective reports in the spring of 2019.

I won’t pretend the journey has been straightforward, but we have now arrived at a good place with GPX events planned for March and discussions ongoing to identify and communicate common messages emerging from all four pieces of work.  Despite looking at different areas within the topic of support for young people, we have found several common threads.  We are now considering the most effective way to communicate those common messages.  Inspection Wales is also very much looking forward to the GPX events in March.   The partners have all been involved in the scoping for this event, and we are very enthusiastic about the theme of young people having influence over decisions about what matters to them.

Are Co-operatives the Future? with Rebecca Evans AM

Ahead of our Basque Country events we caught up with Rebecca Evans AM, the Welsh Government Minister for Housing and Regeneration. She had plenty of positivity about co-operative organisations and the Basque Country’s innovation. She mentioned how the leasehold sector could benefit from co-operative approaches, and that co-operative organisations are able to think more imaginatively about the problems that organisations are facing in modern society. She thought there was plenty of good practice over at the Basque Country, that we could learn from here in Wales, and also that we might be able to offer some insider knowledge to the Basque Country, too. Her message of co-operation and mutual benefits is exactly what Chris Bolton took from his trip to the Basque Country to learn more about their co-operatives.

Join us at our Basque Country events this December to learn more. Follow this link:

Are Co-Operatives The Future? With Derek Walker

We caught up with Derek Walker to chat about the Basque Country and co-operatives ahead of our conference this December. We’re really excited to be able to bring over some fantastic representatives from some of the region’s most successful, innovative and future-thinking organisations. In this very special event, public services are invited to learn all about their innovative and new approaches to challenges we have in common, and how the Basque Country puts future generations at the heart of their economy.

Derek Walker is the CEO of Wales Co-operative Centre. They’re partnering with us to bring you #WAOBasque, a conference dedicated to all things Basque Country. Register here:

Co-operatives: Are They The Future? With Leanne Wood AM

We caught up with Leanne Wood AM and had a chat about co-operatives and the Basque Country economy, ahead of our #WAOBasque event. She says that co-operatives offer communities stability in times of economic hardship, and allow people to have a stake in their work, incentivising productivity at work. If you’re interested in learning more about co-operative organisations, join us for our webinar on Monday 3rd December via the link:

We’d also like to invite you to attend our conference on Tuesday 4th December, in partnership with Wales Co-Operative Centre. Register here:

For subtitles, press “CC” (closed captions). Choose your preferred language by using the settings/cog button.