Category: Spreading the jam


Specialist Further Education College celebrates student successes

By Raspberry Jim,

A table of Awards at Beechwood College


The success of young people with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) has been celebrated at a specialist Further Education college in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Beechwood College in Sully, a specialist day and residential service for young people over the age of 16 with an Autism Spectrum or Asperger’s Syndrome has hosted its annual Students’ Awards Day.

The families of 57 day and residential students travelled from across Wales and England to watch the presentation of certificates in a marquee in the College grounds.

Unlike mainstream Further Education establishments, Beechwood College measures success based on completion of learning programmes which incorporate a range of goals set with the students, their families and their existing support workers when they arrive at the College.

These goals can include both achievement of formal qualifications but also the attainment of essential life skills, which are aligned to their current and future needs such as home management skills, as well as their own goals which reflect personal interests such as sport activities.

This year, 63 qualifications were achieved from the awarding body Agored Cymru which were made up of accreditations in Art, Music, Enterprise, Creative Media and Drama and all 57 students achieved non-accredited learning in home cooking skills and leisure activities.

Awards presented this year included an Eco Award for students that have done the most to promote ecological projects, an Entrepreneur Award for students who have run an enterprise scheme and shown the most entrepreneurial skill, and a Work Experience Award for students that have shown the greatest commitment to their work experience opportunity.

Students finishing at Beechwood College this year have met more than 95% of their learning programme goals. 


Angela Kent, Director of Education and Care at Beechwood College said:

“Our Awards Ceremony is a much-anticipated annual recognition of our student successes.

“Our integrated learning approach, which involves the active participation of the education, clinical and residential teams, aims to provide each student with a 24-hour learning environment tailored to their specific needs.

“Our goal is to provide a very broad range of experiences and skills for each individual, preparing them for later life and developing their skills in their areas of interest.

“It is a tribute to the hard work of our students and the efforts of the Beechwood College team that the students have achieved such a broad range of qualifications.

“Our largest ever student group completed Duke of Edinburgh Awards aimed at building confidence and team working skills this year. 9 completed their Bronze Award and 4 completed their Silver Award.

“Learning even the simplest of skills needed to build independence can be challenging for young people with Autism, so we are extremely proud of everyone.”


A parent of one of the students at the College, said:

“Beechwood College staff are keen for students to develop and that is reassuring for us as parents.

“What is very important to us is that Beechwood is a very transparent organisation and we feel our son is in safe hands with them as safeguarding is the number 1 priority for us.

“We see Beechwood as an extension to our house and we are all part of the same family.

“It is so reassuring to find a placement that is so motivated and wants to really help our son progress and be happy and safe.

“Beechwood truly care. As parents that is more important to us than anything.”

Opened in 2004, Beechwood College is a specialist day and residential service for young adults over the age of 16 with a formal diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Condition or Asperger’s Syndrome.

The College is registered with the Welsh Government as a Further Education (FE) College, and with Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) as a care home for younger adults and students typically attend the college for between 2 and 4 years.

Based upon the principles of TEACCH, PECS and Makaton, the College’s goal is to provide opportunities and experiences for each individual, regardless of ability, to prepare them for later life. The integrated approach to learning has qualified lecturers, residential and clinical teams partnering together so that each student’s personalised education programme is developed and reinforced consistently as a 24-hour learning environment which can lead to formal accreditation.

Beechwood College is part of the South Wales-based Ludlow Street Healthcare Group. Employing more than 1100 staff including extensive clinical teams, Ludlow Street Healthcare is a provider of tailored care solutions for adults over the age of 16 who have a range of complex mental health, personality disorder and physical health needs.

Watkins & Gunn founding key partner in “ground breaking” veteran owned business portal

By Raspberry Jim,


Welsh law firm Watkins & Gunn has become a founding partner in an online portal designed so that the public can specifically find veteran owned businesses.

Veteran Owned UK is the largest UK Online Business Directory for veterans founded by Scott Johnson, a former Royal Engineer Bomb Disposal Engineer, after seeing many similar directories online in the USA.

It was created to support veterans owning businesses by providing the public with a user-friendly directorate to locate businesses supplying products and services specific to the customers’ needs, and now boasts over 950 members. 

The portal is designed to provide veteran owned business with greater exposure to the public and to build closer working relationships within the veteran owned business community.

Watkins & Gunn which has offices in Cardiff, Newport and Pontypool were “eager” to support veteran owned businesses in the UK and to partner with the first directory in the country.

The law firm already support veterans by offering a service to help ex-armed forces personnel claim compensation for noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) and tinnitus and felt they could build on this and do more to help by becoming partners in this new venture. Through the directory they are also offering discounted rates for their legal services to ex-servicemen and women. 

By using the new portal, veterans can enter the directory free of charge but the portal also offers paid membership for a more “bespoke” service where businesses can add additional features to their listings.

Sir Mike Penning M.P, an official supporter of the venture says:

“Veteran Owned UK are breaking new ground by supporting veteran owned businesses through their online directory.

“They saw the UK needed a means of easily finding veteran owned businesses and created a website to solve that issue.”

No portal of this nature existed in the UK before Veteran Owned UK, despite the concept being popular in the US.

Scott Johnson (left) and Clive Thomas (right) stand side by side in front of a Veteran Owned UK sign and a Watkins & Gunn sign.
Mr Johnson (L) of Veteran Owned UK and Mr Thomas (R) of Watkins an Gunn


Mr Johnson of Veteran Owned UK said:

“When we started this website, one veteran told us that he loved the idea as he didn’t want to be treated as a victim or to be seen as “broken” because he was a veteran.

“There are lots of charities doing amazing work for veterans who need support.”

“What we at Veteran Owned UK want to do is encourage those working to make their own mark in the business world and boost to their chosen markets.

“Ex-military are often driven, focused and adaptable.

“Many use these skills in “civvy street” to become great employees, some decide to start their own business, and these are the people we want to support.”

Clive Thomas, Managing Partner of Watkins & Gunn, said:

“At Watkins & Gunn we are keen to support ex-military personnel.

“When we met Scott Johnson and he explained the concept of Veteran Owned UK, we saw an opportunity to support veterans in a new and innovative way, so felt we had to get involved.

“There is a huge gap in the market for veteran businesses to advertise themselves. By using the businesses showcased in Veteran Owned UK Directory, you can directly support veterans, whilst utilising a service or purchasing a product that you need.”

Watkins & Gunn offers a wide range of legal services including Accident Claims, Medical Negligence, Wills and Probate, Employment and HR services, Education Law, Public Law, Business Law, Divorce and Family Law, Childcare Law, Criminal Law, Road Traffic Law and Property.

Inspirational young Cub wins the hearts of North Wales Scout group

By Raspberry Jim,

A group of children posing for a group photo in the Snowdonia mountain range


A young Cub with complex learning difficulties has won the hearts of his leaders and fellow Scouts in Conwy.

9-year-old, David Hughes, from Betws-y-Coed has Autism & Dyspraxia, but this hasn’t stopped him from living life to the fullest and taking every Scouting opportunity in his stride.

A recent mountain activity weekend saw David stun his group with his can-do attitude and determination. 

Nine Cubs from 1st Gwydyr Scouts headed deep into the heart of Snowdonia for a weekend of exploring the abandoned slate mines.

Accompanied by two leaders and two members of the recently formed Conwy District Adventurous Activities Team, the Cubs explored the underground tunnels of the quarries and learnt about the history of slate mining.

A young boy and his friends posing for a photo is an old slate mine in the Snowdonia Mountain range


David, who has been with the group since joining as a Beaver at six years old, was not deterred by any of the activities, including the two and half hour walk through the mine to the surface of the mountain, he revelled in the experience.

The weekend was packed full of tasks that many of his fellow Cubs would have found challenging and David completed them all with a smile on his face.


Hazel Barclay, Group Scout Leader of 1st Gwydyr, who was one of the Leaders on the weekend said:

“Each and every Cub there faced big challenges, it was tough for them all. David truly stunned us with his steadfastness, courage and determination. He always wore his bright and positive attitude.  It is an absolute pleasure to take him on these trips.

“Of course, some challenges are bigger for David than for some of the others, but he just gets on with it, grinning his lovely big smile all the way, never uttering a word of complaint and enjoying every single moment! To the other Cubs he is just one of the pack.

“David was at his best on the mountain weekend – he loves being outdoors, exploring places and learning about nature.  He’s full of knowledge and his different view of the world makes us see things in a different light.  He always asks amazing questions – the curiosity and interest he has in all sorts of things is incredible.

“When he first joined Beavers, our Beaver leader and her team worked really hard with him to help him join in the activities. We usually dedicated one leader just for him.  As he’s got older, he manages the activities better but sadly does struggles sometimes as he finds the acoustics in the hall quite distressing.

“We’re currently talking to the Church who own the hall to see if we can fundraise and apply for grants to have some sound-reducing work done on it, not just for David, as we have a number of other autistic children and children with different needs who really suffer because of the noise.”


Ray Barnett from ADC Activities who led the weekend, said:

“David is no different when given the chance. He took part in everything and completed all the activities with good humour alongside his Cub friends. David and all the Cubs kept their promise and “did their best”. We are so proud of them.”


David’s mum, Gemma, knows that his disabilities have never held him back, she said:

“He just needs to be given the chance to try, and that is exactly what ScoutsCymru have given him. He absolutely loves going on the weekend trips and taking part in the various activities. The leaders don’t see him as a task, he is just another one of the Cubs and it has created an environment for him to thrive in.”


ScoutsCymru gives over 14,000 young people in Wales the opportunity to enjoy fun and adventure while developing the skills they need to succeed, now and in the future. Open to all young people in Wales regardless of faith, gender, sexual orientation, race or social background, the movement encourages its members to do more, learn more and be more.

Children with life-limiting illnesses enjoy first family camp out

By Raspberry Jim,


Children with life limiting illnesses, including Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and Goldenhar Syndrome, have enjoyed their very first family camp out.

The Ty Hafan Scout Group, which was the first hospice Scout group in the UK, took six Scouts and their families to Miskin Mill Scout Village on Saturday where they stayed until Sunday afternoon.

Ten-year-old Seth Burke who has Duchenne muscular Dystrophy attended with his two brothers, Reggie and Elyah, eight-year-old Christopher Jones who has Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome was also joined by his sister Bethan. Two-year-old Matilda Philpott who has Stickler Syndrome was joined by her 2 brothers, Oliva and Alfie, four-year-old Alice Haswell who has Goldenhar Syndrome camped out with her sister Scarlet, and 13-year-old Daisy Stacey who has Vacterl Association attended with her sister Molly.

Child and Adult with happy faces enjoying the Ty Hafan Scout Group family camp out


The weekend saw the families take part in a range of activities from archery, crafts and pop rockets to laser shooting, fire lighting, bush craft and raft making.

Child playing with a hoola-hoop enjoying the Ty Hafan Scout Group family camp out
Child smiling and enjoying the Ty Hafan Scout Group family camp out

The weekend saw the families take part in a range of activities from archery, crafts and pop rockets to laser shooting, fire lighting, bush craft and raft making.

The camp was a real Scouting first – the first time the referred children have been on a Scout Camp, something leaders have been hoping to achieve since the start of the Group.


Ruth Weltch, Group Scout Leader of the Ty Hafan Scout Group said:

“The opportunity to regularly set up camp in the great outdoors is one of the main reasons young people enjoy Scouting so much and we wanted to give our children, who would not normally have the opportunity, the chance to take part in a weekend of outdoor activities and to sleep under canvas with their families. 

“We have been overwhelmed and humbled by the amount of help offered by Leaders, not just from Cardiff and Vale Scouts but from other Scouting Areas in Wales. This reflects the scope of the hospice itself which is open to all children with life limiting illnesses throughout Wales.

“We have been able to give these children the opportunity to take part in activities not usually accessible to them and that we take for granted. It was an absolute joy to see them and their families take part in the weekend’s activities, seeing them smile and forget about their worries for a while was heart-warming.”


Lynne Phelps, from Ty Hafan, said:

“The hard work, time and effort put in by the Scout Group since its inception has been truly amazing. The Group has brought so much happiness to the hospice and given the children referred to us an opportunity to take part in activities with their families that they wouldn’t have had access to if it wasn’t for Scouts.

“The group has had a really positive impact not just on the children in our care, but also their families and our staff. We really can’t thank the Ty Hafan Scout Group enough.”


The Ty Hafan Scout Group was set up on the Scouting Centenary in 2007 for any child referred to the hospice along with their siblings, parents and family, to spend time together having fun and making memories.

A growing need for sibling involvement was soon recognised and so the Group began to run regular sibling camps. The sibling camps have given the young people who have brothers and sisters in the care of the hospice the opportunity to attend events such as Scarefest and the Jurassic International Jamboree, as well as the chance to spend quality family time with their loved ones.

ScoutsCymru gives over 14,000 young people in Wales the opportunity to enjoy fun and adventure while developing the skills they need to succeed, now and in the future. Open to all young people in Wales regardless of faith, gender, sexual orientation, race or social background, the movement encourages its members to do more, learn more and be more.

Construction company Troika appointed to transform former Royal Mail Building in Newport

By Raspberry Jim,

Computer generated imaged of the competed work of the former Royal Mail building


A Cardiff-based construction company has been appointed to redevelop the former Royal Mail building in Newport.

Troika Construction has been appointed to transform the building on Mill Street, after its success working on Chartist Tower in the city.

The internal demolition has already taken place at Mill Street and Troika Construction are now starting on site in a project that is expected to be completed in 35 weeks.

The building will be redeveloped into quality office space, which the owners Garrison Barclay Estates hope will attract businesses based within out of town business parks to relocate back into the city centre.

The new office spaces will offer a spacious layout with high ceilings, natural light and a quirky design – something new and exciting for Newport’s workforce. 

The site has already received a huge amount of interest from prospective tenants. The modern and flexible office space has attracted a range of businesses from legal firms to a London-based cyber security company.  

The location of the building also offers an affordable solution against its neighbouring cities of Cardiff and Bristol where headline rent is considerably lower. Along with this, the building is ideally located next to Newport Train Station.


Mark Cotter, CEO of Troika Construct Limited, said:

“We are extremely proud to play a role within the mass redevelopment of Newport. This project, coupled with Chartist Tower, are huge projects that will make a real difference to the city when completed.

“At Troika, we endeavour to deliver projects within deadlines, budgets and to the highest quality. The former Royal Mail Building will be a fantastic space with modern and flexible workspace that will attract businesses back to the city centre and become a hive of activity.”

A Cardiff-based construction company has been appointed to redevelop the former Royal Mail building in Newport. Troika Construction has been appointed to transform the building on Mill Street, after its success working on Chartist Tower in the city. The internal demolition has already taken place at Mill Street and Troika Construction are now starting on site in a project that is expected to be completed in 35 weeks. The building will be redeveloped into quality office space, which the owners Garrison Barclay Estates hope will attract businesses based within out of town business parks to relocate back into the city centre. The new office spaces will offer a spacious layout with high ceilings, natural light and a quirky design - something new and exciting for Newport’s workforce. The site has already received a huge amount of interest from prospective tenants. The modern and flexible office space has attracted a range of businesses from legal firms to a London-based cyber security company. The location of the building also offers an affordable solution against its neighbouring cities of Cardiff and Bristol where headline rent is considerably lower. Along with this, the building is ideally located next to Newport Train Station. Mark Cotter, CEO of Troika Construct Limited, said: “We are extremely proud to play a role within the mass redevelopment of Newport. This project, coupled with Chartist Tower, are huge projects that will make a real difference to the city when completed. “At Troika, we endeavour to deliver projects within deadlines, budgets and to the highest quality. The former Royal Mail Building will be a fantastic space with modern and flexible workspace that will attract businesses back to the city centre and become a hive of activity.” Troika Construction work across South Wales and South West England on projects for the commercial and industrial sectors specifically government, hotel, office and residential schemes.

Troika Construction work across South Wales and South West England on projects for the commercial and industrial sectors specifically government, hotel, office and residential schemes.

Mythical Creatures made with LEGO® bricks have arrived at Mermaid Quay

By Raspberry Jim,


Cardiff Bay is home to mythical creatures and more now that the BRICKLIVE Fantasy Kingdom has landed at Mermaid Quay.

Nine fabulous models made with a total of nearly 750,000 LEGO® bricks have taken over Tacoma Square, in the heart of Mermaid Quay, until Sunday 1st September.

Free to view, the display features an 11ft fire-breathing dragon, a unicorn and two hunting wolves as well as a wizard, princess, knight and huntswoman. Collectively the models took over 2,000 hours to build. There are also cute dragon whelps (baby dragons) displayed in the windows of various businesses in Mermaid Quay.

At the heart of the display is a throne – laid out in shimmering silk and encrusted with the finest LEGO® brick rubies, emeralds and sapphires – on which visitors can sit and take selfies. Mermaid Quay is running a weekly photo competition to crown a Selfie King or Queen each week – with FREE ice cream for a year from Cadwaladers Mermaid Quay as the weekly prize.


In addition, Mermaid Quay is running a host of other competitions, including:

  • A colouring competition to win a £100 voucher to spend at wagamama Mermaid Quay for young people aged 11 and under to bring their fantasy land to life with their best ever colouring in.
  • story writing competition to win a dinner for a family of four worth up to £75 from Bill’s Mermaid Quay with the theme of myths and legends for anyone aged 12 or over.
  • A themed fancy-dress competition to win fabulous treats at The Crepe Escape Mermaid Quay – open to all ages, the ‘fantasy’ theme means that visitors can let their imaginations run wild with a rich array of possible costumes – from princesses and knights to mythical creatures and unicorns!

This is the first time BRICKLIVE’s Fantasy Kingdom have been be on display in Wales and follows the success of previous displays at Mermaid Quay including the Great Brick Safari, Santa’s Sleigh and Big Cats, which all attracted many thousands of visitors.

The display is visible any time, but the throne will only be available to sit on 10am – 6pm daily. Visiting the installation is free of charge.

Law firm gives back to client after “devastating” robbery

By Raspberry Jim,


A law firm with offices in Cardiff, Newport and Pontypool has donated a cash sum to a client whose mobility scooter was stolen from his back garden, leaving him with limited mobility.

Watkins & Gunn has donated a sum of money toward the replacement of a mobility scooter for Antoni Olszewski from Skewen, Neath.

The firm made the decision to offer Mr. Olszewski a contribution towards the replacement of his mobility scooter after he suffered a number of unfortunate incidents.

Watkins & Gunn first came into contact with Mr Olszewski when he approached the legal team as a Core Participant in the Infected Blood Inquiry having suffered with Hepatitis C for over 30 years.

Called the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS, the infected blood scandal saw thousands of people across the UK infected with HIV and Hepatitis C from contaminated blood products introduced through transfusions and other treatments during the late 1970s‐1980s.

Mr. Olszewski’s Hepatitis C eventually cleared through treatment three years ago, however earlier this year he began to feel unwell again and from his symptoms suspected that his Hepatitis C might have returned. 

Mr. Olszewski explains: “My GP firstly refused the test for Hepatitis C explaining that it was “too expensive” but when pressured the doctor relented and allowed me to take the test.

“I received the results of the test 10 days later when it was confirmed to me that the infection had returned. 

“My wife and I were absolutely devastated by this news and the diagnosis caused us terrible trauma.”

Keen for a second opinion, Mr. Olszewski underwent another test at a different hospital and thankfully the test came back negative.

Mr. Olszewski says: “To celebrate myself and my wife went for a short break abroad to stay with friends but when we came home thieves had entered our back garden and stolen my mobility scooter.

“When I approached my insurance company they said they would not pay out for the scooter as it was not covered by insurance. 

“We are struggling to afford to replace the scooter and without it I’m pretty much housebound and can’t get out and about to visit my family and friends, let alone do things like help my wife with the food shop.

“When Watkins & Gunn contacted us to say they were going to pay an amount toward replacing the scooter it meant the world to us.

“It means I can get a bit of independence back so I am very grateful for that.”

At least 2,400 people have died in the UK as a result of the infected blood scandal and about 70 of those who died were Welsh, with more than 200 still living with debilitating illness in Wales.

As one of the law firms designated by the inquiry, Watkins & Gunn is providing legal guidance and support to victims and their families throughout the entire process, and with costs covered by the inquiry.

Michael Imperato, Head of Public Law at Watkins & Gunn, says: “Mr. Olszewski has had a lot of bad luck over the years. He has very painful joints as a result of the hepatitis and suffers very badly with his chest and other related ailments. He is therefore unable to walk long distances and is not very mobile. 

“He used the scooter to go to the local shops and to get himself out of the house.

“Mr. Olszewski is very much a family man with grown up children and grandchildren who he loves to visit. His son and one of his grandchildren, who is Autistic, live nearby so his scooter allows him to call on them for a visit should he wish.

“Life has not been easy for Mr. Olszewski by any means.

“Watkins & Gunn want to contribute an amount to the replacement of Mr. Olszewski’s scooter to give him back his mobility and some independence after so many years of distress and ill-health.  It’s the least he deserves after being through so much.”

Watkins & Gunn offers a wide range of legal services including Accident Claims, Medical Negligence, Wills and Probate, Employment and HR services, Education Law, Public Law, Business Law, Divorce and Family Law, Childcare Law, Criminal Law, Road Traffic Law and Property.

1500 Welsh Cubs gather to learn skills for life

By Raspberry Jim,


ScoutsCymru hosted it’s All Wales Cub Fun Day at the Royal Welsh Show Ground this month where 1500 Cubs came together for a day of fun and skills development.

The Cubs, alongside 500 adult volunteers, from across Wales enjoyed activities across four zones designed to encourage them to expand their skill set and work collaboratively with others.

The Adventure Zone activities ranged from high ropes to water games in a bid to get their adrenaline pumping.

The Outdoor Zone saw the Cubs learning how to fire light and cook while the Skills Zone had them taking part in an obstacle course which tested their teamwork and problem solving.

Finally, World Zone allowed the Cubs to experience a range of activities from Origami to Kung Fu inspired from countries around the world.

At the event, the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Sally Holland, also launched the Rights Challenge Badge.

This badge aims to inform children and young people of their rights and what the role of The Children’s Commissioner for Wales is. 

The Cubs taking part in the Rights Challenge Badge have been encouraged to lead their own learning. They have been set a list of activities which will result in each Cub being able recall by name a list of children’s rights, as well as knowing who Sally Holland is and the work she does.

Rhian Moore, Chief Commissioner for Wales, said: “Our All Wales Cub Fun Day was a fantastic opportunity for Cubs from across Wales to learn new skills, meet new people and have fun. We can’t thank all of our volunteers enough as the day wouldn’t have been possible without all of their hard work.

“We are extremely proud to have been a part of the launch of the Children’s Commissioner for Wales Rights Challenge Badge. The badge encourages the Cubs to learn about their rights and to be aware of the people who are there to protect them which vitally important.”

Sally Holland, Children’s Commissioner for Wales said, “It’s was a really well organised day and it was so great to be able to talk to children from all over wales in one day. “One child wrote on her kite ‘this is the best day I’ve ever had’ and I really think that is a great endorsement of the fantastic time the children had!”

Techniquest appoints local construction company for its £5.5m Science Capital project build

By Raspberry Jim,


Cowbridge company G. Oakley & Sons has been appointed to manage the build for Techniquest’s Science Capital project.

G. Oakley & Sons has over three generations of expertise to its name and specialises in the commercial and leisure building sectors. Notable clients to date have included David Lloyd leisure clubs, Premier Inn and Greene King pubs, restaurants and hotels across the UK.

The firm has commenced on site this month and it will take approximately 35 weeks to complete.

The Cardiff-bay based science centre will remain open during most of the build, however, will close in September for some internal works.

The Science Capital project will radically transform the UK’s longest running science centre, increasing its footprint by 60% to house brand new innovative content.

The scheme will also include a new vibrant public entrance, coffee shop and retail space.

Adam Oakley, of G. Oakley & Sons said:

“We’re thrilled to have been appointed by Techniquest for this project. To work with such an institutional brand is a big honour and we can’t wait to play a part in transforming this much-loved science discovery centre.  

“As part of our commitment to this particular scheme, we will be running an educational programme to help local young people understand what’s involved in a project of this scale. We will be looking to make the construction site part of the experience for school children visiting Techniquest by creating porthole windows to see our team at work. We will also be providing educational information prior to their visit so they know in advance what to look out for once they’ve donned their mini high viz jackets and hard hats.”

The appointment of G. Oakley & Sons is the latest in a line of local businesses contracted to work with Techniquest on the Science Capital project including architects HLM, planning consultants Wardell Armstrong, project managers Lee Wakemans and engineers Hydrock.

Lesley Kirkpatrick, CEO of Techniquest said:

“G. Oakley & Sons grasped our vision straight away and demonstrated how they would meet the timetable and deliver on budget which were vital elements to us. This project will be transformational in its scale but most importantly will open up the door to science for all.

“I’m absolutely thrilled that G. Oakley & Sons wanted to combine its live working environment with that of a learning experience for schools visiting us too.  Going above and beyond like this can only be a positive thing in helping to break down the barriers of STEM subject selection among school-aged children.

“The new Techniquest will enable us to increase the age range and diversity of our audiences and, in turn help us to increase our visitor numbers. This will provide vital additional income to ensure Techniquest continues to provide a first-class visitor experience in Wales for years to come.”

The £5.5m Science Capital project is being was supported by the Inspiring Science Fund, a scheme co-funded by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Wellcome. Techniquest has also received funding from the Moondance Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation and Welsh Government’s ‘Invest to Save’ fund.

ScoutsCymru support Pride Month

By Raspberry Jim,


June is Pride Month, a month to celebrate gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and asexual people, plus all other sexual orientations and genders.

To coincide with this, we have caught up with Louisa Shapton, a member the Apollo 7 Explorer Scout Unit, who attended her first Pride event earlier this year.

On May 4th, 17-year-old Louisa along with 12 explorers, leaders and support members attended Swansea Pride.

Carrying the ScoutsCymru banner through the parade before manning a stall at Swansea’s Waterfront Museum, Louisa decided to take to the surrounding crowd distributing leaflets and talking to people about the difference Scouting has made to her life.

Here Louisa reflects on the event and ScoutsCymru’s inclusive approach. She said: “I took a lot from attending Pride Swansea this year.

“I didn’t know what to expect and was a bit nervous as I am an ally and felt that I may not fit in.  I was soon proved wrong. It was a festival of acceptance.

“As a member of Glamorgan West Inclusive Scouting Team, I believe that having Scouting representation at the event showed people in the community that we, as an organisation are inclusive, and we don’t discriminate.

“I think it is really important for young people to learn about the LGBT community. Attending an event such as Pride shows how sexuality and gender identity is very normal in today’s society.  At Explorer age in particular, being part of or an ally of the community can be challenging and the Pride Event showed how supportive and accepting the LGBT community is.

“The whole day was so full of energy and bursting with colour. I think the other Explorers, some of whom are openly gay, really enjoyed and it was great to experience my first pride event with them.”

Scouts Cymru were joined by other large organisations such as the NHS and various political parties who all attended to celebrate and support the LGBT community.

Louisa believes that ScoutsCymru attending Swansea Pride was important for her peers as she says: “It was somewhere that everyone could really be themselves and not worry or care about being judged.”

Louisa is confident that next year there will be an even larger group of Scouts attending to celebrate the LGBT community.

ScoutsCymru is open to all young people and adults regardless of their sexuality or gender identity. We have a clear Equal Opportunities Policy and attend Pride events to demonstrate our commitment to equality. We openly welcome LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) members, have volunteers specialising in diversity (including our national team of Specialist Advisers) and even a national unit supporting LGBT adults in Scouting FLAGS.Members of ScoutsCymru will also be at Llanelli Pride and Pride Cymru later this year.