ScoutsCymru appoint two new Deputy Chief Commissioners

By Raspberry Jim,

ScoutsCymru has appointed two new Deputy Chief Commissioners to help drive the movement forward in Wales.

Joseph Murphy and Daniel Lyons have been appointed to support the development of ScoutsCymru and the implementation of a new strategy that focuses on giving young people in Wales skills for life.

The new Deputy Chief Commissioners will be working as part of Team Cymru, a dedicated panel responsible for the management of Scouting in Wales.  

Under the leadership of Chief Commissioner Rhian Moore, the duo will support in leading and managing the 6,500 volunteers in Wales who run the 300 groups across the country.

Joseph Murphy, 35, from Cardiff, is a Senior Business Manager for digital innovation company Simply Do Ideas and co-founder of Global Choices at the University of South Wales, a series of high-profile public talks, and TEDxNeathPortTalbot. As an experienced leader and growth expert, Joseph joins ScoutsCymru with a wealth of business experience, which he hopes to use to grow and diversify the ScoutsCymru membership and volunteer base.

On his appointment, he said:

“Scouting sets challenging expectations of its members, and these are values that I share, particularly trust, loyalty and courage. I want to invest in organisations that nurture these values holistically and for the long term.

“I’m a proud Welshman with an outward looking perspective. I have benefited from a robust education system, excellent employment opportunities and a supportive community and I’m now in a position to give back so that others may benefit too.

“In business, with people, for projects and programmes, growth is my passion. Through personal drive and professional expertise, I hope to support the growth of ScoutsCymru and in turn, grow as a person also.”

Daniel Lyons, 31, from Newport, brings over 15 years’ experience in leading and innovating impactful projects for children and young people in the statutory and charity sectors on an all Wales level. After volunteering for St Johns Cymru since the age of nine, he joined the organisation as its National Youth Development Manager in 2011 where he is responsible for developing and leading the National Youth Team, Programmes and Senior Regional Youth Officers. He plans to use experience in volunteering, alongside his experience of developing and delivering diverse, impactful young people and community centred programmes, to add value to ScoutsCymru. He said:

“Having worked in the youth work sector for a long time, I’ve witnessed the positive impact that Scouting has on young people, adult volunteers and communities across Wales. The leaders and staff are all an inspiration, full of passion and ideas and fully committed to delivering the highest standards.

“I was excited by the latest strategy and felt I had the skills and experience that could help make it a reality.

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to help lead and support ScoutsCymru in growing Scouting in Wales. The active and meaningful participation of young people and the commitment and skills of our leaders are key in delivering an inclusive and growing offer.

“I’m keen to ensure that we have systems, plans and support that enable our young people and leaders to deliver on the full potential of Scouting.”

Rhian Moore, Chief Commissioner for Wales, said:

“We are at a critical time for Scouting in Wales and we have an amazing opportunity to do things differently so we can support even more young people and help them to develop skills that will set them up for life.

“We are thrilled to welcome two new experienced and enthusiastic individuals to Team Cymru. Both Joseph and Daniel come from two different professional backgrounds but have a common goal of supporting young people and creating a Wales-wide inclusive Scouting movement. Together they will be a great asset to ScoutsCymru, and we are extremely excited for the future.”

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.

New conference strives to improve mental health and wellbeing in Wales

By Raspberry Jim,

Healthcare professionals from across Wales will come together in Cardiff in October to attend the Together for Mental Health 2019 conference organised by GovConnect, which aims to improve mental health and wellbeing in Wales through partnership working.

With the overall cost of mental health issues in Wales estimated at £7.2 billion a year, the conference will consider the progress of Together for Mental Health – the Welsh Government’s cross portfolio strategic response to mental health – and examine options for future improvements and innovations.

Following a keynote address from Ken Skates AM, whose policy interests include mental health, the conference’s packed agenda includes speeches, case studies and panel debates with specialists including Sara Moseley from Mind Cymru, Dr Kate Chamberlain, Chief Executive, Healthcare Inspectorate Wales, and Hazel Powell, Nursing Officer for Mental Health and Learning Disabilities, Welsh Government.

Dr Kate Chamberlain, Chief Executive of Healthcare Inspectorate Wales said:

“Supporting positive mental health and wellbeing is of importance for all of us. I am looking forward to taking part in day of discussion on how we can improve and transform services so that they can meet people’s needs.”

Conference sponsor Ludlow Street Healthcare, a specialist provider of care for adults with complex mental health problems in Wales, is hoping the conference will provide an opportunity for everyone to share their experiences of delivering against the Welsh mental health strategy and vision for future mental health provision.

Dr Andrew Hider, Clinical Director at Ludlow Street Healthcare said:

“We are proud to be the main sponsor of this significant conference.

“If we are going to improve the mental health and wellbeing of the people of Wales, a collaborative approach is essential. This conference is important as it is bringing together senior leaders from many of the key organisations and stakeholders around mental health and well-being in Wales.

“Mental health impacts on so many people, at so many levels and in so many spheres. Addressing this growing problem in a cohesive way requires involvement from a broad-range of organisations so it is crucial to bring everyone together to create and communicate a shared vision. I’m looking forward to the day and planning what we can achieve together in Wales.”

Hazel Powell, Nursing Officer for Mental Health & Learning Disability at Welsh Government, who is one of the guest speakers said:

“I am looking forward to joining the discussions and hearing about some of the innovative approaches being taken forward to improving mental health and well-being in Wales.”

Together for Mental Health 2019 will take place on October 16th in the Radisson Blu, Cardiff.

To find out more about the conference please visit

Workers balloting for strike action following “unfair” treatment at Burtons Biscuits’

By Raspberry Jim,

Workers at the Burton Biscuits factory in Cwmbran are balloting for strike action in light of a dispute over the use of Agency workers following a long running dispute over the “unfair” calculation of holiday allowances and holiday pay. 

The bakery, well-known for making the world famous Jammie Dodgers and Wagon Wheels, has been baking biscuits in the UK since 1935 and opened its Llantarnam factory in 1939.

The factory, which has been running at its Llantarnam site for over 80 years has recently come under fire from the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union for the “unfair” treatment of its workers by bringing in agency workers, despite what they state has been a long standing verbal agreement to the contrary, and for paying “unreasonable” holiday allowances and pay.

John James, Organising Regional Secretary for Number 2 Region of the Bakers Food & Allied Workers Union, has been leading negotiations on behalf of the union along with the local union branch committee.

Mr James says:

“Burtons Biscuits introduced a flexible working contract to its workers some seven or eight years ago. This consisted of placing employees on a 16-hour contract which allowed the company to flex the employee up to 39 hours per week and to change their shift pattern on a weekly basis.

“The union has been stating that the way in which the company paid holiday pay was wrong and unfair and after many years of the company denying this, we finally got to challenge them.

“We have established that the company have not treated the flexi contract employees fairly, over holidays and holiday pay.

“We are currently in the process of taking the company to the employment tribunal.”

Seemingly as a result of this issue Burtons Biscuits have informed the union that they would now be using agency workers at its Llantarnam factory, which has caused “great upset” among the staff as they feel that this is “undermining them” and it would lead to lower wages in the long run.

Mr James explains:

“They called us to a meeting and informed us that they have spoken to various agencies and intend introducing agency staff at Burtons.

“This goes against a long held verbal agreement that this would not happen.

“As a result, we have now raised a collective grievance and notified the company that we are balloting for industrial action.

“If agency staff come on site, union members will walk off site.”

Clive Thomas, Managing Partner of local law firm Watkins & Gunn, who have represented the Bakers Food & Allied Workers Union for over 30 years, said:

“Our clients, the Bakers Union, are balloting for strike action, with our legal support.

“They have always strongly objected to agency workers being introduced to the site. They believe that, as well as the health and safety issues this can create, workers deserve decent jobs and full rights at work. 

“A flexi -contract has been in place for eight years which is not fit for purpose. Rather than beach their long held agreement not to introduce agency workers, Burtons Biscuits should work with the union to amend the current contract so that it will operate fairly and then be in a position to offer proper jobs to new workers at the bakery going forwards.”

With offices in Cardiff, Newport and Pontypool, Watkins & Gunn is an experienced trade union law firm representing unions including The Bakers Food & Allied Workers Union and the Community Union 

Law firm donates over £45,000 to 12 local charities

By Carys Bryant,

Award winning South Wales law firm, Watkins & Gunn, has been giving back to the local community by donating over £45,000 to 12 different local charities. 

Through ‘Watkins & Give’, the firm’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) arm, it has so far surprised 10 charities with a mystery donation. There are 2 further mystery donations to go over the coming weeks as part of its ’12 days of Giving’ initiative.

With offices in Cardiff, Newport and Pontypool, the firm (with input from the staff) chose 12 local charities – Alzheimer’s Society, City Hospice, Kidney Wales, MIND, Richmond House (Diabetic Centre), Shelter Cymru, Sparkle, Tenovus, The Silverlining Brain Injury  Charity, The Wallich, Wooden Spoon the Children’s Charity of Rugby and Wales Air Ambulance – to receive donations ranging from £2,500 to £5,000.

Staff at the firm have been visiting the charities over the past month taking balloons filled with confetti and a golden ticket to reveal the mystery donation amount.

Natalie Corten, the solicitor at Watkins & Gunn who is championing the charity donations, said: 

“We wanted a different and fun way of making the donations, instead of just handing over the standard large sized cheque. 

“We came up with the idea of going to each of the charities with an extra-large confetti filled balloon containing a surprise golden ticket (think Willy Wonka!) with the amount of the donation written on it 

“As there are 12 charities in total, we have named the project ’12 days of Giving’

“We asked those of our staff with a particular affiliation to the charity concerned to go along to the presentation. We then asked someone from the charity to pop the balloon and read the amount written on the golden ticket to reveal the size of the donation.”

“We chose not to disclose the amount of the donation in advance so that we can capture the moment of surprise!

“This is my first ‘project’ for the firm, and it has been one that I have thoroughly enjoyed. As they say, it is “always nice to be nice”!

Through its ‘Watkins & Give’ initiative, the firm is committed to supporting the local community by fundraising, volunteering, attending charity events and giving pro bono legal advice.

Watkins & Gunn offer 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.

Pupil coding numbers at Sony UK Technology Centre estimated to hit record high

By Raspberry Jim,

The number of Welsh schoolchildren taking part in coding workshops at Sony UK Technology Centre has soared in the last year, according to latest figures from the manufacturing giant to coincide with National Coding Week.

In July, the Pencoed-based manufacturing facility, which produces thousands of high-specification broadcast cameras for worldwide distribution, celebrated welcoming 4,159 students through its doors. The team in Pencoed have now revealed that so far this year 1,268 pupils have taken part in their coding -specific workshops, with an estimated 1,688 to participate in total by the end of 2019.

Numbers have soared since the programme’s inception in 2017 where just 548 pupils took part. 

Thanks to the success of its Digital Competency Programme, Sony UK TEC launched its specialist ‘Learn 2 Code’ Workshops in 2017.

This tailored one day workshop, led by a qualified coding instructor, encourages children to use their creativity across a variety of digital platforms in a bid to boost STEM learning.

The factory, which produces the industry-leading Raspberry Pi computer, has spoken out about the importance of coding to mark National Coding Week from September 16th.

Director of professional services Gerald Kelly said incorporating coding into early education was absolutely vital for enhancing the future employment prospects of tomorrow’s workers, but also for the Welsh economy as a whole.

He said: “With the increasing development of and dependence on technology in all industries, we need the innovators of the future to be equipped with the skills to match. Coding introduces the pupils to various programming languages including Scratch and Python, an invaluable language that is used universally in the technology industry.

“In this digitally driven age it is fundamental that the next generation are able to recognise and utilise coding technology and use this not just for the betterment of their careers, but also to enhance the development of the Welsh economy.

“Part of our commitment to the local community is to inspire the next generation of engineers, entrepreneurs and creative talent and our coding workshops are one way of doing this.” 

Steven Lewis, a fully qualified coding instructor who runs the coding workshops at Sony UK TEC said:

“I’ve found the workshops give the children an insight into their own creativity by using a variety of platforms to teach STEM skills outside of the classroom environment.

“It’s fantastic to see the excitement and thrill that the children experience when they go from their first beeps to a complete soundtrack using Sonic Pi in only a few minutes, or when they ask if they can add another component to their circuit ‘to see what happens.

I bumped into a parent whose child attended one of the first Raspberry Pi coding days and found out that her daughter is now studying Computer Science GCSE. This is the kind of impact we want to see.”

Sony UK TEC also partners with regional rugby side Ospreys to deliver a Schools Programme for children from the authorities of Swansea, Neath and Port Talbot and Bridgend.

Thomas Matthews, whose role in the Sony Wales Academy in Pencoed focuses on ensuring the educational programmes run smoothly, has also been learning coding in order to deliver new Ospreys Coding Workshops to schools across the region.

He said: “The Ospreys coding sessions are such a great way to deliver interactive learning to pupils across the region and I’m really pleased I can be a part of it. Learning to code has been a fantastic experience and enabled to me learn a new skill and it will be extremely beneficial for pupils opening up future career paths that they may not have known existed. I’m really looking forward to seeing the success of this new scheme.”

Traveline Cymru keep students on the move

By Raspberry Jim,

As university students gear up for this year’s university Freshers fairs and festivities, Traveline Cymru is touring Welsh universities to help keep students up to date on travel discounts. 

This month, the public transport information service will make its way around universities in Wales to help new students get to grips with their surroundings in new towns and cities. 

The Traveline Cymru team will be making appearances at over 20 colleges and universities across Wales throughout September; including Bangor, Cardiff, Aberystwyth and Swansea. 

As new students adjust to life in new surroundings, they will have access to bespoke travel services such as myunijourney and mytravelpass. 

Filled with transport information and essential travel tips, myunijourney is a helpful online guide which includes a journey planner from their local campus, bus stop information and student ticketing.  

Traveline will also be promoting mytravelpass- a discounted bus travel scheme entitling young people aged 16-21 to at least a third off bus fare prices anywhere in Wales.

Jo Foxall, Managing Director of Traveline Cymru said:

“Starting university is one of the most exciting and stressful times of a young person’s life.  It can be incredibly daunting to be away from home, especially in an unfamiliar town or city.  

“We want to encourage students, both new and existing, to make the most out of the public transport services in their area, and we’re on hand to help them discover what options are available to them as they start to get their bearings. 

“We’ll be attending universities across the country over the next few weeks, which is the perfect time for students to come and chat to us and find out all about initiatives such as myunijourney and mytravelpass.” 

“For many students, it’s about knowing what transport options are available to them, and Traveline are there to help them find the information they need.” 

myunijourney information is available at and mytravelpass at

Miskin nurse shortlisted for Wales-wide award

By Raspberry Jim,

A nurse from Miskin working at a specialist hospital in Cardiff for adults with learning disabilities, challenging behaviour and/or mental illness is “over the moon” to have been shortlisted in prestigious Wales-wide Awards, which celebrate excellence across the Wales care sector.

Claire Wilson, Clinical Lead at Pinetree Hospital in Rumney, has been shortlisted in the Nurse of the Year category at the Wales Care Awards.

Mrs Wilson from Miskin outside Cowbridge, has been working at Pinetree Hospital since 2012 and progressed from Unit Manager to Clinical Lead within the last two years.

She was nominated for the Award as she has excelled within her role over the last two years and made hugely beneficial changes to the running of the hospital.

She has proved to be invaluable in the daily running of Pinetree Hospital, overseeing all the nursing, medication, first aid, training, and clinical standards monitoring which has helped the hospital to achieve the highest QAIT ratings.

She has fundamentally overhauled the hospital and set new standards of excellence in practice. She has been crucial in implementing robust clinical practices, training both nurses and doctors, and updating the recording of medication to create a more effective and efficient system.

Located close to Cardiff city centre, Pinetree is a specialist Learning Disability facility which provides individually tailored assessment and treatment for adults with learning disabilities, challenging behaviour and mental illness in need of intensive treatment, therapy and active rehabilitation within a safe and therapeutic environment.

The “highly prestigious” annual Wales Care Awards attracts 450 delegates from the care sector and recognises “commitment to the industry”. This year the awards will take place at City Hall, Cardiff, on Friday 18th October.

On being shortlisted, Mrs Wilson said:

“After starting as a Unit Manager at Pinetree Hospital in 2012 and becoming Clinical Lead it has been a privilege to work alongside wonderful members of staff and patients.

“Pinetree Hospital is a very important place to me, and the welfare of our patients is always at the forefront of my mind.

“I am delighted to be considered for the Wales Care Awards and hope that being shortlisted will raise the profile of Pinetree Hospital as an exceptional care facility.

“We reflect the Ludlow Street Healthcare belief that all those entrusted to our care are capable of progress and development and that positive change can be achieved for all.  

“We recognise how important quality of life is to a person’s recovery and we have worked hard as a team to create an environment which promotes rehabilitation and community integration.

“I’m looking forward to the Awards and am keeping everything crossed for a successful night.”

David Lawrence, CEO, of Ludlow Street Healthcare said:

“We are very proud of the work Claire has done at Pinetree Hospital and of what she has achieved in such a short amount of time.

“She has impacted every aspect of care throughout the hospital, with her expertise not only enhancing the daily needs of our service users but supporting the development of her colleagues and staff too.

“The Wales Care Awards are a celebration of excellence across the Wales care sector and Claire has truly set the standard for service provision in every respect and we as an organisation have thrived thanks to her innovative and determined attitude.”

ScoutsCymru helps children of prison inmates gain skills for life

By Raspberry Jim,

A pilot scheme launched in Wales sees Scouting take a lead role in the wellbeing of young people with family members in prison.

ScoutsCymru, alongside the family team at G4S, has established a group for young people who visit family members at HMP Parc Prison in Bridgend.

With the aim of giving all young people in Wales skills for life and removing the barriers to participation, the pilot scheme has seen more than 50 young girls and boys from across south Wales take part in activities including first aid, healthy eating, writing and performing a play, team building activities and learning about Scouting in other countries.

Most recently, a milestone for the group was the successful organisation of a series of sessions outside the prison itself that included shelter building, outdoor cooking and fire lighting.

Planning is now in motion for new children to join the group as those with parents who have completed their sentences have left. The group has also been granted use of the prison gym which will allow climbing sessions to be run as well as a sports day which will directly involve the prisoners.

Corin Morgan-Armstrong from HMP Parc Prison’s family unit, which was set up in 2006 to create an environment that encourages repairing, enhancing and maintaining positive relationships with family members left behind following a conviction, said:

“Young people visiting family members at HMP Parc Prison come from diverse communities across South Wales but are united in having a large part of their time devoted to visiting the prison on both weekday evenings and at weekends.

“For this, and many other reasons, they are less likely to participate in Scouting, a movement with the ability to change lives.

“As a team, we are committed to improving the lives of families and reducing reoffending, this is achieved by working with a wide range of outside organisations, such as ScoutsCymru. We’re delighted with how the pilot schemes have run and we’re looking forward to formalising the Group.”

From the initial pilot sessions, it was discovered that there is a genuine need and demand for Scouting within the community of young people visiting family members in prison.

Chris Matthews, Scouting Support Officer at ScoutsCymru, has been involved with the programme since its inception. He said:

“A key part of ScoutsCymru’s vision is to be inclusive and diverse. Every young person deserves the opportunity to take part in Scouting and there has been huge focus on removing barriers to participation, whatever they may be.

“Being involved with this project has been a humbling experience. The young people who have joined the group spend a huge part of their free time being security searched multiple times a week and only seeing their loved ones in a high security facility. It takes a huge toll on them at such a young age.

“Scouting has offered them an outlet to connect with other young people who are going through the exact same thing. They have also been able to spend time with their families taking part in activities and just having fun. It’s been great to see families come together and learn to connect again.”

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.

Cardiff Bus appoints new Operations and Commercial Director

By Raspberry Jim,

Cardiff Bus has announced that Gareth Stevens has been appointed as the operators new Operations and Commercial Director.

A well-known expert within the bus industry, Gareth Stevens has been promoted to the role after spending the last six years as the operator’s Commercial Manager.

On his appointment Mr Stevens said:

“I am delighted to have been promoted to this role. Having started in the public transport industry at a young age, I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to see and experience the improvements made to bus travel, and to be involved with developing and implementing these changes at different levels.

“I feel passionately about this role and I’m focussed on ensuring best practice delivery, alongside legislative compliance and the maximisation of efficiencies, effectiveness and quality.

Cynthia Ogbonna, Managing Director of Cardiff Bus, said:

“I am delighted that Gareth has been appointed our Commercial and Operations Director. Gareth bring exceptional skills, knowledge and experience of the transport industry. He will complement a strong executive team and will play a key role in driving forward our strategy.

Cardiff Bus is the major provider of bus services within the Cardiff area, with 700 employees and 220 vehicles.

Union “dissatisfied” with “sham” consultation over redundancies at Allied Bakeries’ Cardiff factory

By Raspberry Jim,

Three men stood infront of a factory with the Kingsmill logo behind them

The Allied Bakeries’ factory in Cardiff, which produces Kingsmill bread, is set to halt bread production in mid September and become a logistics depot, with a potential loss of 185 jobs.

The bakery has been running since 1971 at its Maes-y-Coed Rd site and the union representing its workers have fought “tirelessly” in the hope of keeping bread production open and saving jobs.

However Allied Bakeries have now announced that the consultation with the union is “at an end” and that bread production will halt next month on 13th September.

John James, Organising Regional Secretary for Number 2 Region of the Bakers Food & Allied Workers Union, has been leading negotiations on behalf of the union along with the local union branch committee.

Mr James says:

“We are very dissatisfied with the consultation.

“We believe that it has not been meaningful and has been a sham as the company did not enter into the consultation with an open mind.

“It was apparent that they had already made their decision.

“They have also failed to supply the union with the information that we need to assess the decision and consult with them on whether there are any other options available. It will be a very sad day for Cardiff if bread production is to finish at the bakery after so many years and more should be done to help to prevent some or all of the job losses.”

Mr James has since contacted ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service), and with support from Cardiff based law firm Watkins & Gunn, intends to take legal action on behalf of his members against Allied Bakeries.

Clive Thomas, Managing Partner of Watkins & Gunn, who have represented the union for over 30 years, said:

“Meaningful consultation and the disclosure of information to facilitate this is vital in any redundancy situation. The union need this information so that they can consult meaningfully with the company to find ways to avoid the redundancies or at least keep them to a minimum.”

“Due to the absence of any meaningful consultation due to Allied Bakeries’ refusal to provide the required information, we are instructed to issue a claim for a Protective Award, initially to ACAS under their early conciliation scheme, and, if necessary, to take it to the Employment Tribunal”

A company spokesman from Allied Bakeries has said:

“Earlier this year Allied Bakeries announced the loss of a major own-label bakery contract, following which we have undertaken a detailed review of our bakery network to optimise our production capacity, locations and routes to market.”

“If these proposals are accepted it will regrettably result in some redundancies and we understand that this announcement will be unsettling for our colleagues in Cardiff.

“If these changes go ahead we will provide support to anyone impacted to help them find a new job, either at another Allied Bakeries’ site, or elsewhere in the local community.

“Unfortunately, bread is in decline in the UK and an excess of bread manufacturing means that bakery closures are a consequence of that, coupled with the big retailers wanting cheaper products that are dictated to by cost rather than the quality of the product.”

Watkins & Gunn are experienced trade union lawyers and offer a wide range of legal services from their offices in Cardiff, Newport and Pontypool.