On Tuesday 2nd March, an online Community Star Awards evening was held by The Bedwas, Trethomas and Machen (BTM) Community Council to recognise the efforts of those who have gone above and beyond to support the community over the last year amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic. The Parish Trust received significant recognition at the event for its contributions to the community.
A number of awards were given to both the charity as an organisation and to individuals involved with the work of The Parish Trust, which has focussed its energy on the running of the CARE Project. The CARE Project helped 9222 people with food parcels, prescription collections, and emotional/pastoral care to those in need over the course of 2020.
Awards were also given to other individuals and organisations in the BTM Community Council constituency who had demonstrated incredible acts of kindness through 2020, many of whom supported the CARE Project in addition to the other work they achieved. News about the awards have spread to media outlets including the Caerphilly Observer who have picked up on the good news stories coming out of the area.
The Parish Trust received a Certificate of Appreciation and the Chair’s Trophy for the work of the CARE Project throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The CARE Project has required a significant amount of work to be undertaken, and has needed the help of over 350 volunteers since its inception. The volunteers at The CARE Project are all dedicated and extremely hard-working, but four volunteers in particular received awards of recognition, which they truly deserve.
Rhys Griffiths and Karen Watson joined the CARE Project as a mother-and-son team. Karen has not only helped at the food hub, she has also delivered food parcels and has collected prescriptions. She often arrives early for her shifts, and invariably stays behind after everyone else to ensure the building is clean and locked up safely.
Throughout lockdown, Rhys has given up the majority of his free time to volunteer. Rhys packs food parcels and ensures the building is kept in tip-top condition. Throughout all this time, Rhys has volunteered alongside studying for his A-Levels. He has been instrumental in welcoming new volunteers and training them up to do the various roles required for the project to run smoothly
Karen John is a call handler for The CARE Project and has worked remotely from home throughout her volunteering. Karen’s help is highly appreciated and volunteers weekly, on a Monday.
Karen’s volunteering role encompasses taking calls from the service users who are able to request a food parcel or prescription over the phone. Karen is also able to talk to service users about their concerns and worries, ensuring that they feel supported and able to call on the Parish Trust for friendship. Many of the service users recognise Karen and look forward to speaking to her, often requesting her in particular due to her friendliness.
Speaking about her award, she said,
“It has been a very rewarding experience working with the other team members of the CARE Project. The thanks and feedback from the people we help and staff makes it all worthwhile. The recognition of my small contribution to this fab and friendly team is much appreciated. Thank you.“
Darren Shaughnessy is a delivery driver for the CARE Project. He is extremely motivated and has delivered food parcels in the CARE Project Van in all weather conditions, and over special holidays such as Christmas.
Rev. Dean Aaron Roberts, the Chair of Trustees of The Parish Trust, set up The CARE Project at the very beginning of the initial lockdown in March 2020. For this endeavour, he was awarded the Chair’s award of Excellence and Achievement.
Speaking about his award he said,
“It has been a humbling experience to have the privilege of leading The Parish Trust and forming the CARE Project. I feel honoured to receive the Chair’s Award for 2020, but want to put on record that the success of the CARE Project has been the result of the sacrificial efforts of the hundreds of volunteers who have given of their time, their talents and their money for the sake of others. I also have an amazing team of staff who work tirelessly alongside me to support me and my role as the Chair of Trustees. I accept this award recognising that it represents the work of countless others, and thank those who nominated me, and the BTM Community Council for giving such recognition to The Parish Trust.
As a Christian, my faith has been the unshakeable bedrock through what has been a bleak and difficult time for our communities. My faith in Jesus and his teachings challenged me to do something to practically support those who have been struggling the most throughout the Pandemic, because I believe that my faith should be demonstrated in practical ways.
I’m forever grateful for the opportunities I have been given, and I’m expectant that The Parish Trust will grow from strength to strength in the future, always being on hand to meet a challenge with courage, and to provide faith, hope, and love to all those we come into contact with.”
Over and above the support the CARE Project has been to thousands of households in the area, The Parish Trust has been able to offer employment, an Apprenticeship Programme, and the opportunity for community cohesion in the face of global crisis.
The work of the CARE Project will continue as a staple outreach of the charity, and new projects are currently being developed that focus on bringing the community closer together, relieving loneliness, addressing mental health challenges and helping to equip, teach and train people of all ages new life skills as society looks beyond COVID-19 and life after the pandemic.