Find out more about the award that celebrates those who provide care through the medium of Welsh
What is the Caring in Welsh award?
The Caring in Welsh Award is an annual award that recognises, celebrates and shares the work of those who’ve made a real difference to people’s lives by providing care and support through the medium of Welsh.
The award recognises those working in social care and childcare, play and early years from across the public, private, voluntary and co-operative sectors in Wales.
They can have any level of Welsh – fluent, some or learner. The important thing is that they use Welsh in their work with the people they care for.
2023 Caring in Welsh award winner and finalists
The 2023 Caring in Welsh award ceremony was held at the National Eisteddfod in Boduan, Llŷn Peninsula on 10 August 2023.
This year five workers from across the social care and childcare, play and early years sectors were chosen as finalists for the Caring in Welsh award.
Ross Dingle, Manager and Play Leader at Clwb Carco Limited in Cardiff
Ross was nominated by Jane O’Toole, Chief Executive of Clybiau Plant Cymru Kids’ Club.
Over the past eight years, Ross has developed the play quality and ethos of Clwb Carco, which runs seven Welsh-medium out-of-school childcare clubs in south Wales.
Ross has sourced funding from Welsh Government and Cardiff Play Services to run free, Welsh-medium play sessions for 80 children a day, to help support the children’s well-being, resilience and recovery. Many of the children come from English-speaking households and these play sessions support and encourage the children to continue to use their Welsh outside the school day and during the school holidays.
This summer, Ross will be running the Children’s Village at the National Eisteddfod, offering Welsh-medium play opportunities to children attending the annual cultural festival.
Ross is a second-language Welsh speaker and works part-time as a tutor to mentor and build the Welsh- and English-medium playwork workforce in Wales.
Ross attends careers days for sixth form pupils to encourage them to consider a career in playwork. He also mentors and encourages students from Welsh-medium secondary schools to train as playworkers. By offering placements in the clubs, he supports them to become the next generation of Welsh-speaking playworkers.
Highly commended finalists:
Nikki Taylor, Pre-school Practitioner at Rydal Penrhos Pre-school in Conwy
Nikki was nominated by her manager, Lucy Davies, who is Deputy Principal at Rydal Penrhos Pre-school.
Although she doesn’t come from a Welsh-speaking background, Nikki has made a huge effort to learn Welsh to help the children at the pre-school where she works improve their Welsh. Nikki understands the importance of speaking Welsh and English from an early age, so she and the children practise Welsh with one another to help them feel more confident using the language.
There’s a weekly Welsh conversation class at the pre-school, and a Welsh-speaking teacher says that Nikki’s enthusiasm and participation in these classes has helped the pupils’ Welsh improve quickly.
Nikki’s also encouraged her colleagues to speak Welsh, too, and has shown her colleagues you don’t have to be perfect when speaking Welsh, but you do have to give it a go and practise when you can. As a result, staff are now more confident using Welsh.
Because the service is no longer seen as English only, the number of Welsh-speaking families sending their children to the pre-school is now increasing. Rydal Penrhos Pre-school is also working towards the Cwlwm Welsh Promise bronze award, which is awarded after building foundations and implementing the Welsh language into a setting, and the Welsh Active Offer.
Lucy says that Nikki’s “enthusiasm and obvious love of learning Welsh underpins the positive changes” at the pre-school, and that “it’s a pleasure to nominate someone who has had such a positive impact on the lives of others. Da iawn Nikki!”
Ffion Hughes, Social Worker at Young Lives vs Cancer in Cardiff
Ffion was nominated by her manager Rachel Driver, a social worker at Young Lives vs Cancer.
Young Lives vs Cancer is a charity that specialises in providing support to children and young people who are diagnosed with cancer or a bone marrow condition.
Thanks to Ffion, Young Lives vs Cancer has been able to offer a bilingual service. Because there isn’t a principal children’s hospital in north Wales, children from the area have to travel to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool for treatment. So some children, whose first language is Welsh, are having to receive information about their treatment in their second language.
Over the past five years, Ffion has provided comfort, reassurance and support to Welsh-speaking children who have been diagnosed with cancer and their families by helping them understand the cancer journey in their own language. This gives the children and their families the opportunity to ask questions and express themselves in their chosen language.
Nurses who’ve worked with Ffion have said she helps the children “feel so much more comfortable and at ease when she’s there”, and that her efforts “have been hugely beneficial to the children”.
Ffion’s colleagues have also said that “during uncertain times where the children are receiving often painful and frightening procedures, it’s a huge source of reassurance to the child to talk to someone in their first language.”
Menna Evans, Support Worker at Min y Môr Residential Care Home in Ceredigion
Menna was nominated by her colleague, Nerys Lewis, Corporate Manager at Porth Gofal, Ceredigion County Council.
Menna usually works in Ceredigion’s learning disabilities service, but since the Covid pandemic she’s been the key contact for families at Min y Môr Care Home, making sure visits to the home take place safely.
At the height of the pandemic, Menna found some residents, particularly those who spoke Welsh, were finding it difficult to interact with their families. So Menna introduced activities to help with this, such as reading the ‘papurau bro’ out loud, reciting Welsh poetry and helping one daughter play and sing Welsh songs with her mother.
Menna also introduced ‘My Life Memory Books’ for each resident in the language of their choice, to help families and carers evoke emotions with the resident as they recall their memories.
These books have had a positive impact on residents and their families. One family member describes the memory book as “mantais mawr yn ystod cyfnod clo Covid gan iddo danio atgofion Anti ac yn help i’w chadw yn gysurus yn ystod adeg anodd i bawb.”
While one resident says: “Fi wrth fy modd yn creu fy llyfr atgofion. Mae’n hyfryd cael atgofion melys a’r cyfle i’w cofnodi.”
Jenny Thomas, Support Worker at Tyddyn Môn, a charity that supports adults with learning disabilities in Anglesey
Jenny was nominated by Yasmin Moore, Work Based Learning Assessor at Busnes@ at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai.
Jenny is from Scotland and is learning Welsh. Since moving to north Wales and starting to learn the language, Jenny has been proactive in continuously improving her Welsh language skills.
Jenny uses the Welsh she’s learned at work to better communicate with the residents she provides care and support to. Jenny often greets the residents in Welsh and provides a range of activities for them that can be understood through the medium of Welsh.
Jenny is inclusive in her practice and uses her active listening skills to respond to the various conversations she has in Welsh with the residents she provides care and support to. She also empowers the residents to use their Welsh language skills where she can.
Yasmin says Jenny “is always promoting the Welsh language” and “it’s refreshing to see how committed she is to learning the language and adapting it to her working practice”.
Yasmin describes Jenny as “enthusiastic, determined and a phenomenal learner and employee who empowers others to learn and speak Welsh in her workplace. Da iawn chdi Jenny”.