Thursday, 17 September 2009

Red tape strangling voluntary groups

Voluntary groups are facing "unacceptable delays and extra costs" because of bureaucracy and red tape.
 That's the view of Plaid Cymru North Wales AM Janet Ryder, who has spoken out against the delays and added costs facing voluntary workers who have to apply for multiple Criminal Records Bureau checks.
 Janet Ryder said:
"Of course CRB checks are needed to safeguard young people and vulnerable adults, but I fail to see why the same person has to get multiple police checks. For example, a volunteer with an after-schools club who then goes to work in a homeless hostel has to apply twice for a CRB check - this can take weeks and means a hold-up in terms of employment, meaning the charity or voluntary group is stretched for staff and also that the service provided to vulnerable people is diminished.
 "With hundreds of thousands of volunteers across Wales, it's important that we strike the right balance between safety and common sense so that voluntary groups aren't drowning in a sea of red tape."

Pres loteri i hybu cylch meithrin Treuddyn

O'r chwith i'r dde/ left to right: Glenys Jones (arweinydd Cylch Meithrin Terrig), Riley Griffiths, Steven Rogers, Emma Wilson, Gruffydd Thomas, Janet Ryder AC, Marian Antrobus (Swyddog datblygu), Diane Morris, Aled Morris. Yn y cefn mae'r cynghorydd lleol Carolyn Thomas.

Roedd hi'n braf iawn cael mynychu Cylch Meithrin Treuddyn yn Ysgol Terrig ddoe gyda'r cynghorydd lleol Carolyn Thomas er mwyn cyflwyno siec am £500 oddiwrth gronfa'r loteri.

 Mae'r siec wedi helpu prynu offer cyfrifiadurol a pheiriant DVD, fydd o help yn y meithrin sy'n dathlu penblwydd yn 35 mlynedd oed eleni. Llongyfarchiadau mawr i'r staff, gwirfoddolwyr ac i'r plant.

Inspirational young volunteers praised

From left: Rhian Morris of Conwy council, Rhys Morris, Janet Ryder AM, Ioan Charlton and Llio Morris.

A group of young volunteers have been described as "truly inspirational" by North Wales AM Janet Ryder.

The Plaid Cymru AM met three young volunteers from the Conwy area during a meeting to promote volunteering in Llandudno and said they totally contradicts the negative perceptions about young people in our society.

 Llio Morris, a 17-year-old pupil at Ysgol y Creuddyn, started volunteering with her local Brownies and has since become part of a team presenting a weekly programme on Tudno FM community radio station. Llio, who lives in Llandudno, said: "I want to be a Welsh teacher and I have gained a lot of confidence through my volunteering experience."

 Ioan Charlton, also 17, volunteers at his local Young Farmers' Club at Eglwysbach. He said: "Sport is my passion and I help coach youngsters with football. If I can share what I've learned from my coaching, then I'll be happy."

 Rhys Morris, aged 21, a former Ysgol y Creuddyn pupil, is now at university and believes volunteering helped him get on. He said: "To get into university it looks a lot better if you can show you've helped other people. The same applies when you're looking for jobs."

 He and the others were full of praise for the Gwirvol project run by Conwy Council, which encourages youngsters to volunteer in their community.

Janet Ryder said: "We hear so many negative things about young people in the media, so it was truly inspirational to meet these youngsters and hear directly from them about the good work they're doing in their communities. Colleges and employers are increasingly looking for people with something extra on their CVs, people who contribute and volunteering certainly gives youngsters an edge when it comes to having that something extra."

 The meeting was organised by the Rathbone charity, which promotes volunteering among young people throughout Wales, and Janet Ryder thanked them for their work.

Digital television switchover 'must not threaten Welsh programmes'

The coming digital television switchover must not mean fewer people in north-east Wales receiving Welsh channels, says North Wales Assembly Member Janet Ryder.

The Plaid Cymru AM (pictured with BBC Wales digital expert Melfyn Clwyd Roberts) raised her concerns after being contacted by many constituents who rely on the relay New Broughton transmitter near Wrexham for their signal.They have been told by installers that there is no guarantee of Welsh channels being available after the digital switchover.

Janet Ryder said:

"Getting Welsh channels in certain areas of the north east has been a problem for years and the New Broughton relay transmitter has been vital to providing S4C, BBC Wales and ITV Wales in the area surrounding Wrexham and Rhos. I was concerned to hear of elderly people in particular being told that the switchover would mean no Welsh channels - something many people feel passionate about, whether it's to watch the football and rugby, Welsh-language programmes or get the news about their area rather than Cumbria or the West Midlands.

"Since then, I have approached both S4C and BBC Wales, which is running the information and help service for over-75s in Wales, and have been given assurances by both that people currently receiving Welsh channels will continue to receive them after the digital switchover. I have stressed that perhaps that message is not being taken up by some of their contractors who are telling people that they will have to tune into Winter Hill in Lancashire.

"As the switchover takes place next month, this is something we will continue to monitor to ensure that people aren't left stranded without their favourite programmes and channels."

She asked people who were being told they wouldn't receive Welsh programmes to contact her directly on 01824 704 625 or

She added that the switchover was a wider opportunity to ensure that people in this part of Wales were able to finally access Welsh channels and would be campaigning with the broadcasters to ensure that everyone who wanted Welsh channels had the chance to get them.

She said: "All broadcasters are competing for viewers and I want to make sure that all viewers have the maximum choice. I know many people feel very strongly that they can't watch their own football and rugby teams or get Welsh news programmes because they don't have access to a signal. We will be campaigning for equal access for all."