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Urdd welcomes new Chair and Young Trustees

Urdd Gobaith Cymru, Wales’ largest youth organisation, has confirmed Nia Bennett as the new Chair of its Board of Trustees and Management. Two new members have also been appointed as Young Trustees of the Urdd, namely Deio Siôn Llewelyn Owen and Emily Pemberton.

Siân Lewis, Chief Executive of the Urdd, said: “We are delighted to welcome Nia Bennett to chair the Urdd Board and to build on the huge contribution made by Dyfrig Davies, who has steered the organisation through significant Governance changes. I would also like to extend a warm welcome to Emily and Deio as new members of the organisation’s Board of Trustees.

“As the Urdd continues to grow, these new appointments ensure we continue our journey of becoming a forward-thinking organisation. A range of perspectives, agility in our decision making and a wide range of relevant skills are essential to delivering our ‘Urdd for All’ strategy.

“Following 18 months of discussion, consultation and reform the Urdd’s new Governance structure is already in place. By casting a wide net, we have welcomed over 70 new members to our Strategic Boards, to ensure we have the necessary expertise to support the organisation’s work going forward.

“Respecting the voices of our young people is at the heart of our new structures. As well as appointing two new Young Trustees, 38% of our Board members are now aged between 18 and 25 and are central to the Urdd’s future discussions and direction.”

Urdd welcomes new Chair

Nia Bennett succeeds Dyfrig Davies, who is stepping back after six years as Chair.

On her appointment Nia Bennett said: “I want to ensure that the Urdd is fully inclusive, extends its reach and continues to develop and act on the ideas of our young people. By providing opportunities for everyone – whatever their background – to broaden their skills and experiences, we are contributing to the development of future Welsh generations, and thereby the future of Wales.”

Nia was born in Bolton and brought up in Llanfairpwll, Anglesey. After periods of living in Aberystwyth, Felinheli and Brussels, Nia settled in Cardiff where she raised three children and worked in Inclusion and HR before being appointed Corporate Director. Nia is a Director and Chief Consultant at effectusHR and undertakes HR and Senior Management Coaching project work.

Nia does not rest on her laurels. She took on several voluntary roles at Cylch Meithrin Nant Lleucu in Roath and was Chair of Governors at Ysgol y Berllan Deg. She has been a member of the Urdd’s HR Panel since 2011 before becoming Chair in 2018. In 2020, Nia was co-opted by the Trustees as a member of the Urdd’s Executive Committee and was elected as a Trustee in 2021.

Two young people appointed to the Urdd’s Board of Trustees

The Urdd received 22 applications from 18–25-year-olds from across Wales who were keen to sit on the Organisation’s Board of Trustees. Following a formal interview process, Emily Pemberton and Deio Siôn Llewelyn Owen have been appointed as the Urdd’s new Young Trustees.

Emily Pemberton is from Grangetown, Cardiff and works as an Equality, Diversity, and Anti-racism Coordinator at the Coleg Cymraeg. A member of the Urdd since school days, she contributed to the 2023 Urdd Peace and Goodwill Message and visited Alabama on the 60th anniversary of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, to build on the relationship between the city and Wales.

Emily said: “Thanks to the Urdd, we were offered unique experiences in Alabama and became campaigners for anti-racism at an international level. As a Black Welsh woman, I can’t think of any other experience more valuable to a person from my background.

“I’m inspired by the Urdd’s work and would like to continue to work towards a Wales where our young people are global citizens, experience a better nation, and thrive.”

Originally from the outskirts of Pwllheli in Llŷn Peninsula, Deio now lives in the Welsh capital. He is Cardiff University Students’ Union’s first VP of Welsh Language, Culture and Community, where he is also a trustee. His experiences of being a member of the Urdd range from after school clubs, sports competitions, competing at the Urdd Eisteddfod through from primary school to university.

Deio said: “Being a member of the Urdd over the years has been invaluable to me, and in stepping into its second century of existence, I want to see the organisation continue to thrive and broaden the horizons of as many children and young people as possible.”