THE YOUTH organisation was awarded the First Minister’s Special Award for everything it has achieved in a century of serving young people in Wales, sustaining Welsh as a living language, and in the most recent times exemplifying the Nation of Sanctuary approach to providing sanctuary, support and safety to people fleeing Afghanistan and Ukraine.

The St David Awards, now in their 9th year, celebrate the extraordinary achievements and contributions of people in or from Wales from all walks of life.

This year’s award categories are: Bravery, Business, Community Spirit, Critical worker, Culture, Environment champion, Innovation, Science and Technology, Sport, Young person and the First Minister’s Special Award. 

Congratulating the winners, the First Minister said: “It’s fantastic to be able to award this year’s St David Awards finalists in person once again. They are an inspiring group of people who deserve to be congratulated on their contribution to Welsh life.

“Many have courageously and selflessly served others, some are trailblazers in their fields, others have worked tirelessly to protect the environment, and we are lucky to have them all living and working in Wales.

“I’m particularly delighted to publicly commend Urdd Gobaith Cymru, in its centenary year, for working so hard to provide a warm and distinctly Welsh welcome for people fleeing trauma and humanitarian disaster. The Urdd truly demonstrated the ‘Team Wales’ approach we’ve developed along with other partner organisations, in going beyond their normal role and providing a vital catalyst for our efforts to welcome individuals and families seeking sanctuary in Wales.

We are committed to being a Nation of Sanctuary, and the Urdd have been an inspiring example of what this looks like in practice.”

Urdd Gobaith Cymru provides valuable sporting and cultural opportunities to Wales’ young people. Last autumn the organisation opened up its residential centre in the shadow of the Welsh Parliament to well over 100 children and families as part of the Afghan resettlement scheme. 

The Urdd’s best practice is now being implemented again, through use of a residential centre to support up to 250 people arriving from Ukraine.

The list of winners of the St David Awards are:

Bravery: Sargeant Geraint Jenkins and PC Thomas Scourfield, South Wales Police

Business: Jordan Lea / Deal Me Out

Community Spirit: Siop Griffiths

Critical worker: Michelle Jones and Catherine Cooper, Lansdowne Primary School

Culture: Berwyn Rowlands

Environment champion: Low Carbon Environment Group / Cardiff University

Innovation, Science and Technology: Luca Pagano, Graham Howe, Peter Charlton, John Hughes and Richard Morgan (University of Wales Trinity St Davids)

Sport: Hannah Mills OBE

Young Person: Daniel Lewis

First Minister’s Special Award: Urdd Gobaith Cymru