Community groups, schools and organisations who have gone the extra mile to improve their local environment have been celebrated at a national awards ceremony.

Supported by The Helping Hand Company, the annual Tidy Wales Awards recognises groups who work tirelessly to make Wales a better place.

Groups from across Wales were honoured at a prestigious award ceremony held in Cardiff on Monday (21 November 2016), hosted by S4C presenter, Sian Thomas, and rugby champion, Tom Shanklin.

Cabinet Secretary for the Environment and Natural Resources, Lesley Griffiths, attended the ceremony and presented the trophy to the overall winner of the Tidy Wales Awards, Pontsticill Community Group.

Pontsticill Community Group has gone from strength to strength since it was established in July 2015. The group now has around 30 regular volunteers taking part in a range of community projects – from monthly clean-up events to transforming an overgrown burial ground into a place where people can explore their family history.

Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths said:

Clean, safe, communities benefit everyone. Everybody has a part to play in looking after their local environments so that they are conserved and enhanced for future generations.  The groups shortlisted for this year’s Tidy Wales Awards are all worthy finalists that have improved the quality of life for people in their communities and I’d like to thank them for their hard work.

Ann Williams from Pontsticill Community Group, said:

We are delighted to have been chosen as the Overall Winner of the Tidy Wales Awards.  The project brings people together and has generated fantastic pride in the village.  We are a rural community, and the feedback we’ve had from everyone involved is that they no longer feel so isolated and volunteering has given them a real sense of purpose.

Other Tidy Wales Awards winners included:

  • Top of the Woods Camping and Glamping in Pembrokeshire won the Green Key Award – a brand new category for tourism businesses in Wales, sponsored by Wybone. Top of the Wood care passionately about sustainability and always promote green activities to their guests. The team has also worked hard to improve the local envrionment – planting trees, improving access to the local Ffynnone Woodland and managing wildflower meadows.
  • Hay Community Woodland, from Hay-on-Wye, received the Cleaner Communities Award sponsored by Brecon Carreg. The group was originally formed to carry out woodland management activities, but as their work progressed, the extent of fly-tipping, litter and dog-fouling became clear. Since April 2015, they have set up various initiatives to tackle these issues, including regular clean-ups and spraying dog fouling to encourage owners to make the right decision.
  • Friends of Morgan Jones Park and Community Allotments in Caerphilly won the Sustainable Futures Award sponsored by Redrow Homes. The project helps people to become more self-sufficient by teaching them how to grow their own produce. They have also boosted biodiversity in the area by creating a new wildlife and pond area, and planting pollinator-friendly wildflowers. It’s been a successful year for the Allotments, which also received a Green Flag Community Award in July.

Lara Bryant, Vice President Sales and Marketing, The Helping Hand Company, said:

We believe the success of our business today is powered by our people and our partners – and what defines our uniqueness. We are delighted to announce another partnership year with Keep Wales Tidy, a joining together of two organisations who share principle values in protecting our environment for the future. As official headline sponsors of Tidy Wales Awards 2016, our community support programme is so much more than just giving money. For 2017 we have a full packed calendar, getting our hands dirty, being actively involved with community initiatives across Wales; volunteering, fundraising and donating to the charity. We are committed to help Keep Wales Tidy - together we will make a difference.

Lesley Jones, Chief Executive of Keep Wales Tidy, said:

The Tidy Wales Awards celebrates people of all ages taking part in a wide range of green initiatives, all with the common goal of making Wales a better and tidier place. They are an inspiration and a great example in their community. We would like to thank them for their hard work as well as thanking The Helping Hand Company for their support with this year’s awards.

Our Tidy Wales Awards 2016 winners:

Green Key Award sponsored by Wybone

  • Top of the Woods Camping and Glamping, Pembrokeshire

Biodiversity Award sponsored by The Vale Resort

  • Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council

Best Staffed Station Award sponsored by Arriva Trains Wales

  • Prestatyn, Flintshire

Best Unstaffed Station Award sponsored by Arriva Trains Wales 

  • Chirk, Wrexham

Rivers and Coast Award sponsored by Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water

  • Groundwork Wales Healthy Rivers Programme, Caerphilly

Sustainable Futures Award sponsored by Redrow Homes

  • Friends of Morgan Jones Park and Community Allotments, Caerphilly

Cleaner Communities Award sponsored by Brecon Carreg

  • Hay Community Woodland Group, Powys

Community Transformation Award sponsored by Valleys 2 Coast

  • Pontsticill Community Group, Merthyr Tydfil

Eco-Schools in the Community Award sponsored by Western Power Distribution

  • Caerphilly County Borough Council

Volunteer of the Year Award sponsored by John Lewis

  • Stephen Smith, Anglesey

Tidy Wales Awards 2016 Overall Winner

  • Pontsticill Community Group, Merthyr Tydfil

Dathlu grwpiau eco mewn gwobrau cenedlaethol