Archive for Awards and Honours

14 Jul 2016

National Volunteers’ Week 2016

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1st – 12th June 2016 marked this year’s National Volunteers Week. The annual celebration of the day was held on Friday 3rd June, hosted by the Lord Mayor of Swansea at the Swansea Bay REC offices where volunteers were thanked for their immense contribution tot he work of Swansea Bay REC. The volunteers, in turn, shared their experiences with all staff and guests present.

The Lord Mayor awarded Volunteers Week certificates of recognition to each of the volunteers in attendance. The day was a fulfilling experience with a lot of positive feeling coming from volunteers and staff as well. Cakes and other variety of foods from around the world was shared. The day concluded with a formal ‘thank you’ from Swansea Bay REC Chair, Mr Nick Tregoning and Board Trustee, Mrs Gwenda Jones .

The staff and Trustees of SBREC would like to say a HUGE thank you once again to all volunteers who have contributed to SBREC for the last year. It has been a pleasure working alongside you all and we hope to continue working with you in the future weeks, months and years ahead.

06 Jun 2016

Another Achievement for an SBREC Employee

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The VQ Awards recognise and celebrate individuals and employers who have achieved notable success thanks to technical, practical and vocational qualifications.

The VQ Awards (7 June) and VQ Day (8 June) raise the status of technical, practical and vocational learning.  They are organised in Wales by ColegauCymru / CollegesWales, the National Training Federation for Wales and the Welsh Government. For more information about this year’s finalists please visit their website.

Swansea Bay Regional Equality Council (SBREC) is delighted that one of our members of staff has been selected as a finalist at the VQ Awards. The winner will be selected at the Award Ceremony which is going to be held on 7 June 2016 at St David’s Hotel & Spa, Cardiff.

On the night of the Award a short film of me will be shown. This will also be available on the VQ Day website It is a prestigious award and as such highlights the efforts made by the student, her tutor from Gower College, Swansea and the support that was provided in the workplace to the nominee by SBREC.

Here is an excerpt of a statement given by Dorota who works as the Volunteer Coordinator for the VHS Team at SBREC:

I am Dorota Orzeszek. I have worked for Swansea Bay Regional Equality Council (SBREC) since 2013. When I came to Swansea and discovered that my qualification in “Teaching Education Facility” specialising in social work degree from Poland was not recognised in the UK, I commenced English lessons at Gower College Swansea to improve my language skills. After completing Entry 3, I decided to apply for various roles, eventually volunteering at SBREC. Now an SBREC employee, I help others facing discrimination, and other issues relating to the six mandates and nine protected characteristics of equality. Having completed a Level 3 and 4 QCF in Advice and Guidance as an SBREC employee, my dreams of becoming a social worker are also in sight again as I am seriously considering entering higher level education at Swansea University and plan, one day, to complete a PhD.


10 May 2012

SBREC Receives Equality & Diversity Award

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Bonymaen Community Partnership held its AGM and Awards Evening on 9th May 2012 at Cefn Hengoed Comprehensive School in Swansea. As part of the event, The Deputy Lord Mayor of the City and County of Swansea Councillor Dennis James presented Community Champions Certificates to acknowledge the hard work and achievements by individuals and organisations for the benefit of the Bonymaen community. Swansea Bay Regional Equality Council was recognised for helping mainstream equality and diversity in Bonymaen. Chief Executive of Swansea Bay REC, Taha Idris, OBE, JP received the Equality & Diversity Award on behalf of the organisation.

There were a number of other dignitaries from School Governors to Community Group Leaders as well as key Community Volunteers present at the Ceremony. There were performances from the school Choir, Drummers, Soloists as well as Bonymaen’s very own ‘Only Women Aloud’ Ladies Choir.

08 May 2012

Newly Elected Councillors

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Swansea Bay REC would like to extend its congratulations to two newly elected members of local authorities in our area. Councillor Saifur Rahman has been elected from Port Talbot Ward of Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council and Councillor Pearleen Sangha was elected from Uplands Ward of City & County of Swansea.

Saifur Rahman has been on the Executive Committee of SBREC for a number of years, whilst Pearleen Sangha joined the Executive Committee last year.

We wish them well for the next 4 years (and beyond) whilst they endeavour to fulfil their electorates’ dreams about council services as well as representing their electorates in all spheres of life. We have every confidence that these two will do their utmost for their electorates in the years to come.

25 Apr 2012

Mister Wales 2012 – Arnold from Dance Group A3

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We are proud to learn that one of the newest members of our communities has been selected as Mister Wales 2012. It is an honour and a matter of pride that Arnold Matsena, 22 of Swansea has received this coveted title. It was only two years ago that Arnold with his two younger brothers, originally from Zimbabwe but now permanently resident in Wales, impressed Britain’s Got Talent Judges when their act, called A3, stormed through to the final.

A3 are a well established group of street dancers who combine modern British music and dance with that from their Zimbabwean heritage. Arnold and his brothers have also appeared in Move Like Michael Jackson where they proved the brothers have individual talent which, when put together, forms a mesmerising act. They are not new to fame having won many competitions including medals at the 2009 World Street Dance championship.

Said Swansea Bay REC’s Chief Executive, Taha Idris ” I wish to congratulate Arnold on having received the Mister Wales Accolade in 2012. Arnold has worked with SBREC in delivering Schools’ Diversity Days where his performance has enthralled all the pupils. Arnold has a great heart as well as some oratory skills and it’s been interesting to hear him give his message of hope to the pupils during our Diversity Days”

Organisers of Mister Wales had this to say about the title:

“Mister Wales is an annual competition for young Welsh men aged between 18-29. The event runs annually alongside the Miss Wales competition to generate funds for our chosen charity The Joshua Foundation.

Each year, the new titleholder wins a trip to either Manhunt International or Mister World to represent Wales on this international stage. Arnold, having won the title will also get to judge the regional heats of Miss Wales title in 2013 and may receive a number of personal appearance opportunities. He will also receive (subject to fundraising) a series of overseas trips with The Joshua Foundation including three weeks in Australia.

It’s not a body building competition – but a good body helps of course!”

Congratulations Arnold. You have not just got the talent but also the grit to be Mister Wales 2012.

06 Jan 2012

Queen’s Police Medal for Chief Superintendent Mark Mathias

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Chief Superintendent Mark Mathias, the Divisional Police Commander for Swansea and Neath Port Talbot has been awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in the New Years Honours List 2012.

Mark Mathias started life in South Wales Police in 1980 as a Police Cadet enrolling to become a full Constable, working in the Swansea area, in 1982. He progressed on to become a Sergeant, Inspector and finally a Chief Inspector in 1997.  Mark then transferred to Police Headquarters on promotion as  a Superintendent in 2002.  He rose to the rank of Chief Superintendent and posted to Swansea Division, a role which was later expanded to cover the political boundaries of Swansea and Neath Port Talbot .

It was evident from his very early career that Mark was destined to bigger and better things within the Police Service. He spent most of this time as a detective responsible for investigating some of the key cases in the area. He also spent some of his career as the person responsible for change management at Police Headquarters whilst he was a Superintendent. During his time at Police Headquarters, he became responsible for changes that were brought about to streamline the communications set-up that South Wales Police currently use. Mark is very much noted for his no-nonsense practical attitude to some of the key crime and disorder  issues facing the Swansea Bay area.

Swansea Bay REC’s Chief Executive, Mr Taha Idris, OBE, JP, who has known Mark since his days as a Detective in Swansea complemented him for having been awarded the honours.  He said, “the QPM could not have gone to a more deserving serving Senior Police Officer than Mark. I am pleased for him as he has served our communities so well during his four years of being at the helm of Swansea and Neath Port Talbot Police under some of the most difficult circumstances faced by the Police Service”.

02 Dec 2011

Swansea Bay REC Annual Dinner 2011

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The Leader of Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, Cllr Ally Thomas and Cllr Mary Jones of City and County of Swansea received framed pictures depicting the Swansea Bay area to thank them for the respective Council’s support for the Swansea Bay REC (SBREC) over the last year. These pictures were part of the photographic  work of Mr Taha Idris, OBE, JP, the Chief Executive of SBREC .

The gifts were presented by the organisation’s Chair, Mrs Angella Gullam at SBREC’s annual dinner which is held in December of each year. This year the Annual Dinner was held in a Neath restaurant, The Plaza Indian Cuisine, which won the ‘Best Curry Awards’ two years ago. Said Mrs Gullam, “We like to thank everyone who has helped us to achieve our goals during the year in allowing SBREC to tackle a whole host of equality, diversity and discrimination issues. We are grateful for all the help and support that the two local authorities had provided to us even in an extremely challenging financial atmosphere”.

Attendees to the annual dinner include members of staff and members of the Executive Committee. This year the invited guests included some key figures from society including the Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayoress of Neath Port Talbot, Cllr Jeff Dinham and Mrs Brenda Dinham along with the Leader of the Council Cllr Ally Thomas. There was also representation from the Police by Superintendent Joe Ruddy and the Clerk of Swansea and Neath Port Talbot Magistrates, Jim Hehir Esq.

An award was also presented to an SBREC employee who, it was felt, had contributed most to the efficient running of the organisation over the year. Abu Miah was singled out for this accolade. He received a cheque which was presented by the Deputy Mayor, Cllr Jeff Dinham. Abu had not expected this and his excitement and appreciation showed when he was asked how he felt about it. Abu had this to say, “Wow, never in a million years would I have believed when the award was being announced that my name would be called out to come and receive it. I feel so humbled.”