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Ceredigion Youth Service awarded Gold Quality Mark Award

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(1st left) Chairman of Ceredigion County Council, Councillor Hag Harries with Ceredigion Youth Service Team; (3rd from right) Elen James, Corporate Lead Officer for Lifelong Learning and Culture; (2nd from right) Leader of Ceredigion County Council, Councillor Ellen Ap Gwynn; (3rd from left ) Cabinet Member for Learning Service, Councillor Catrin Miles and (1st from right) Eifion Evans, Chief Executive, Ceredigion County Council

IN MARCH, Ceredigion Youth Service has achieved the prestigious Gold Quality Mark for Youth Work in Wales. The Gold Quality Mark of Youth Work in Wales has only been achieved by two other Local Authority Youth Services to date.

In 2017, Ceredigion Youth Service was awarded the Bronze Award. At the beginning of 2019, the Service progressed in achieving the Silver Quality Mark. Soon after, the Service was assessed again and awarded the Gold Award.

Lead Assessor and Director of Atkin Associates, Louise Atkin, said how she was “particularly impressed with the way in which the Youth Service has grown and developed since achieving the Bronze Award in 2017.”

The final report identified that Ceredigion Youth Service offered a high quality youth work offer covering 16 core areas including; Recognising Young People’s Achievement and Progress, Management Information and Partnership and Resources.

The report also highlighted that the ‘determination and creativity of the Ceredigion Youth Service team puts young people at the centre of what is a vibrant and creative youth service, valued by young people who are supported and challenged to be positive and move forward in their lives.’

The report noted that there is ‘very good leadership and management within the service and that partnerships are a particular strength, with assessors experiencing the largest support across Wales from partner services and organisations during their visit meetings. The assessors felt that there is a strong culture of celebrating young people’s achievements in all aspects of the service.’

Ceredigion County Council’s Corporate Lead Officer for Lifelong Learning and Culture, Elen James said, “To have been awarded the Bronze, Silver and Gold Quality Marks for Youth Work in Wales is a tremendous achievement for the Service. It’s great recognition for the commitment and hard work of the team in supporting and providing opportunities for young people across the county, well done to all of the team. This award shows that Ceredigion Youth Service continues to deliver an outstanding service to young people every year.”

The Welsh Government launched the Quality Mark for Youth Work in Wales in October 2015 to provide a robust, independent, external assessment of the quality and performance of organisations that deliver Youth Work in Wales.

On 28 June 2019, both the Silver and Gold Quality Mark Awards will be presented to Ceredigion Youth Service by Kirsty Williams, Minister for Education at the National Youth Excellence Awards.

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Ceredigion Youth Service’s Summer Activity Programme

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THIS YEAR, Ceredigion Youth Service’s Summer Programme offers a wide range of activities over a period of four weeks during the summer holidays. There are 19 different projects, activities, workshops and events planned for young people aged 11-25 from across the county.

Activities this year focus on topics such as employability and upskilling, health and wellbeing, participation, sport and leisure and the environment. Young People will have the opportunity to develop new and existing skills including self-esteem, confidence, communication and problem-solving. They’ll all be held in fun environments where they’re able to meet new people, gain accreditation and participate in a range of activities.

Activities include a summer camp, an adventure residential stay, mountain biking, trips, taster workshops and more.

Gethin Jones is Ceredigion Youth Service’s Principal Youth Officer. He said: “The Summer Programme has been a big success for a number of years. It is of great importance to us that we continue to offer both targeted and open access opportunities for young people during school holidays, as well as term time so that support and engagement is available to young people throughout the year.

“The program offers a range of fantastic opportunities for young people from all across the county to get involved with, providing them with valuable opportunities and experiences that educate, build skills and develop confidence and esteem.”

Councillor Catrin Miles is the Cabinet member responsible for Learning Services, Lifelong Learning & Leisure. She said: “The Ceredigion Youth Service is providing a quality service which is clearly beneficial to our young people over the summer. The activities are great opportunities not only to enjoy but also to develop educationally, personally and socially.”

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Ceredigion Autism Conference 2019

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ON JULY 5, 2019, Ceredigion Autism Spectrum Team and Aberystwyth University Accessibility Services hosted the Ceredigion Autism Conference at Aberystwyth University.

At the sixth annual conference, autistic people focused on what is important to them about how other people think about autism. They also looked at how they are supported if and when they need support, and how other people can help them to build self-esteem, confidence and identity.

The conference was attended by over 130 people, bringing together autistic people, parents, carers and professionals from health, education and social care services and the voluntary sector. The agenda promoted our shared ethos and vision of understanding autism as a different way of thinking, learning and being; different but equally valuable.

Councillor Alun Williams, Ceredigion County Council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for Adult’s Services and Champion for people with learning disabilities co-chaired the conference with John Harrington Head of Accessibility Services, Aberystwyth University. The conference was opened by Carys James, Corporate Lead Officer for Children and Adult Services.

Councillor Williams said: “This was the sixth autism conference to be held in Aberystwyth and once again was very well attended. Whilst the audience was a healthy mix of autistic people, friends and carers alongside professionals working in related fields, the speakers and panellists were all autistic people. This allowed them to set the agenda and provided a unique learning opportunity for professionals to better understand the kind of support that can make a positive difference and to further improve the services we provide in Ceredigion.”

John Harrington said: “It is always an immense privilege to co-host the Ceredigion Autism Conference at Aberystwyth University. This year’s line-up of key note speakers were all inspirational and thought provoking about their autistic journeys through life.”

Key notes speakers this year were Chris Bonnello, who gave his 11 top tips for building autistic adults and children; Marianthi Kourti, who spoke about the challenges of being an autistic autism professional; and Kieran Rose, who gave a moving and insightful presentation about the effects of ‘masking’ and about what needs to change for autistic people to be fully accepted and supported.

For the closing session of the day, local autistic individuals joined the key speakers to form an expert panel, giving their experiences and perspectives of support services and answering questions from the audience.

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Ceredigion Leisure Centres Summer holiday programme

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A BUSY TIMETABLE of inclusive summer holiday activities for children has been organised across all Ceredigion County Council-run leisure centres in the county.

From football to bouncy castle sessions, from cycling skills to archery, there’s a wide variety of activities to choose from over the course of the summer.

There will also be day camps and multi-skills activity days available at some of the leisure centres, for children to attend for the whole day. There’s even a day trip to the beach with Teifi Leisure Centre!

A range of learning to swim programmes are available at Lampeter Swimming Pool and Plascrug Leisure Centre across the summer holidays. A week of swimming lessons will be delivered solely through the medium of Welsh in Plascrug Leisure Centre starting on 5 August.

Councillor Catrin Miles is the council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for Leisure Services. She said: “Ceredigion Actif is once again providing a busy timetable of fun activities during the summer. It’s a healthy and worthwhile way for children to spend their time during the summer.”

Booking for sessions is essential and staff at leisure centres reserve the right to cancel any session if attendance is too low.

For further information on the summer holiday activities planned, visit the Ceredigion Actif website.

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