WILLOWS HIGH SCHOOL
Volunteers from Legal & General have been helping out as classroom mentors at Willows High School, Tremorfa, Cardiff for the last 13 years and have recently urged other firms to get involved in Cardiff's reading campaign, which is being supported by the South Wales Echo.
The campaign, encourages firms, training providers, schools and families to work together to help improve the reading ability of pupils in both secondary and primary schools.
Legal & General are backing Cardiff's Literacy Strategy after seeing children who struggled a little at the outset going on to grow and blossom in confidence and ability at Willows High School over the years.
As part of our support of this strategy we are not only continuing to provide volunteers for Willows High School's Better Reading programme but will also have volunteers going into Stacey Primary School, a feeder school for Willows.
Teacher Jane Jefferson, from Willows High School, is an avid enthusiast of the scheme and is backed by an extremely supportive Librarian at the school.
She said "It helps polish their reading and comprehension skills, boosting confidence in themselves and their communication skills and engenders a lifelong love of reading and literature.
"The partnership provides a forum where reading, discussion and time spent in the library is an enjoyable and informative experience. There is no question that companies, like Legal & General, who offer their support can really make a difference".
Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT) Unit Cardiff - Family Day
Six teenagers a day are diagnosed with cancer within the United Kingdom. The psychological challenges faced by teenagers and young adults with cancer remain amongst the most difficult faced by patients, families and health care providers.
The transition period between childhood and adulthood is fraught with challenges and the barriers to overcome the diagnosis of cancer in young people is both devastating and disruptive to normal life, compounding the dilemmas of young adulthood and family life.
Given these significant issues, the TCT Family Days are structured days which focus on support for the whole family including siblings, who often miss out on many normal day to day activities during their brother’s or sister’s treatment. The days are a chance for families of young cancer patients to get together with other families and meet staff in a more informal environment, whilst enjoying the chance to get involved in complementary therapies, art sessions and music therapy whilst having fun.
This year the TCT Unit in Cardiff's Family Day was supported by Legal & General. Over the last two years Legal & General has developed a close relationship with the TCT by supporting a number of local fundraising events for the charity.
UCAN PERFORM FESTIVAL
Over seventy visually impaired young people from across Wales enjoyed a fun packed day at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Bay, when they recently attended the UCAN Perform Festival.
Workshops in drama, jewellery making and playing the Ukulele were just a few of the activities on offer during the day, thanks to support from Legal & General and Arts & Kids.
Also lending a hand throughout the day were a number of volunteers from Legal & General who recently attended a 'Visual Awareness' training course run by the RNIB Cymru and UCAN, giving them an insight into some of the issues these young people face on a daily basis.
Professional Actor/Director Bernard Latham and his wife Jane, set up UCAN Productions so that children with visual impairments in Wales could be given access to the arts. They were inspired to get involved with visually impaired youngsters after being invited to Sierra Leone in West Africa to help out with a choral project with young blind children. The trip completely changed their own perceptions of what these children could achieve, and with the help of RNIB Cymru, they started to set up a project here in the UK. UCAN currently has over 600 members from across Wales.
Legal & General recently teamed up with Hijinx Theatre company to support their production of 'Old Hands'. The production was staged at the Weston Studio in the Wales Millennium Centre as well as touring across the community, performing in schools, local halls and theatres.
Included in the cast for this production were two young men with learning disabilities, Gareth Clark and Andrew Tadd, who toured with a team of professional actors with an understanding of working inclusively.
The play addressed attitudes in the 1930's towards people with learning disabilities and how two people with Down Syndrome, at that time, would have been excluded from mixing with the public. Following a number of the performances workshops were held to discuss these issues further with the audience.
One of the schools they performed at was Blackwood Comprehensive, with over 200 year 8 pupils, age 12 and 13 years old, attending. Some of the comments from the students who saw the production are below:
'The production made me think about people with learning difficulties because I didn’t realise they could act like other people. The actors were great and got the message out clearly all the way through the production. Throughout the production you could feel the actors feelings which was a great thing to do because you knew what had been happening and the storyline was brilliant. Although it was a sad storyline and a life changing decision, it was funny throughout.' Anon.
'… The storyline was very cleverly worked, to give a realistic view of what would’ve happened to a person with Down’s Syndrome many years ago. The play taught us about discrimination in a fun way rather than a lecture, classroom way. The plot of the story was very good and very creative..'. Nia.
' … it taught us that we should accept disabled people in our society because they are people just like you and me and we should not shut them out like people used to many years ago.' Niamh.
ST JOHNS WALES
Young parents from the area with the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Wales will be taught lifesaving first aid for babies and toddlers thanks to free courses delivered by leading first aid charity St John Wales.
As a result of the huge success of the charity’s BabySafe pilot project in Rhondda Cynon Taf, which saw more than 500 young parents trained in vital first aid skills, further funding has been secured from Legal & General to launch the project in Merthyr Tydfil.
And now the success of this vital course has reached the Royal Household as HRH The Duchess of Gloucester, Commandant-in-Chief for St John Ambulance in Wales, attended the official launch of the BabySafe project at the Gurnos Community & Health Centre in Merthyr Tydfil.
Statistics show Merthyr Tydfil has the highest teenage pregnancy in Wales and St John Wales believes skills learnt through the BabySafe course will enable young mums and dads to deal with everyday occurrences which are potentially life-threatening to their children.()
Earlier this year, young mum Charlene Evans, from Treherbert, learnt how to deal with choking through the BabySafe scheme and put those skills into action just minutes later on her toddler, Tyra, who began fighting for breath as she choked on a piece of toast.
She said the St John Wales training gave her the confidence to administer first aid which saved her 27-month-old daughter’s life.
The course, delivered by St John Wales first aid trainers, focuses on the prevention and treatment of accidents and injuries in children aged 0-5. The training covers how to deal with choking, fever, burns and scalds, non-breathing casualties, poisoning and head injuries.
RNID Action for Hearing Loss Cymru Awards Eight for Life Changing Voluntary work for Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Wales
The immense contribution of RNID Action on Hearing Loss Cymru’s volunteers across Wales was recently recognised at the charity’s annual volunteer awards ceremony in Cardiff.
Eight of RNID’s volunteers from all over Wales were presented with RNID Action on Hearing Loss Cymru’s Volunteer Champion award to mark their tireless commitment in contributing to the charity’s volunteering project work.
'We’re delighted to recognise the tremendous impact that our volunteers across Wales bring in providing essential support to deaf and hard of hearing people', said Director of RNID Action on Hearing Loss Cymru, Richard Williams. 'The volunteers, some of whom have a hearing loss themselves, not only show commitment in dedicating their valuable time, but bring a range of skills and an abundance of enthusiasm to support our work changing the lives of people who are deaf or hard of hearing', he added.
For the past four years, Financial Services company Legal & General has supported RNID Cymru’s volunteering programme. Adrian Clark, Legal & General’s Location Director in Cardiff, said 'As a local employer, we are committed to making a difference in our communities. Volunteering is a great way for people to have new experiences and to learn and develop important skills and put them into place, and we are delighted to support RNID Cymru’s work in making these opportunities available. All the volunteers here today continue to give their time, effort and inspiration to help others and it’s wonderful to see them being recognised for this'.
SILVER SURFER WEEK
To coincide with 'Silver Surfers Week', Age Concern Cardiff & the Vale of Glamorgan teamed up with Legal & General. In the UK 3 in 5 people over the age of 65 have never used the Internet. Many older people don't know where to start or think computers are too complicated - until they 'give it a go'.
Fourteen older people, from the local community, joined a team of volunteers from Annuities to take part in a free computer taster session for beginners. The best way to learn to use a computer and get online is having someone to explain things to you on a one-to-one basis. The volunteers, all from Annuities, acted as personal tutors and were able to guide the older people through the basics at their own pace.
Following the success of these sessions, Annuities are now planning to hold a six month course, on site, for 7 older people to obtain basic computer skills and use online services such as shopping, news and research. They hope to launch this in September.
Annuities also recently worked with Age UK to deliver innovative training to staff in it's Call Centre who deal with customers, ranging between the age of 50-100, with regards to their policies.