Nominated for Community spirit award
Dr Howell Edwards, originally from the Rhondda, trained as a probation officer and also worked in Children’s Social Services. He was the Chair of Valleys Kids, a charity, for 40 years until he stood down in 2018, and is still a trustee.
He is also Chair of Daerwynno Outdoor Centre, near Ynysybwl, and a trustee of Ategi, a not for profit organisation that delivers support services for vulnerable and disabled adults.
Valleys Kids began as a young people’s group set up by Howell, and is now an innovative and creative multi-site organisation, having attracted almost £38 million in funding since it began. This funding has enabled a significant contribution to the economic and social wellbeing of people in the area, and been driven by Dr Edwards’ visionary leadership.
The organisation now employs 50 experienced and qualified staff, many of whom begin as participants or volunteers. In 2017/18 there were more than 13,000 attendances across all projects, a number that is growing every year.
Projects and activities range from youth work and play, to art, drama and music, all developing and celebrating young people’s skills and achievements. The art project has an artist in residence, an art gallery and a collaboration with Tate Modern. Valleys Kids also developed the Mzansi Cymru project, as part of the Cultural Olympiad in 2012 with volunteers and performers in Cape Town, culminating in performances of ‘Torchbearers’ at the Wales Millennium Centre and at the Artscape Theatre in Cape Town.
Howell’s enduring contribution has had real impact on people’s lives, their families and their communities.