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Posted by on in general

mhw 2016logo

Do you have a hazardous waist?

That’s the theme for this year’s Men’s Health Week campaign which runs from 12th – 18th June 2017.

Each year the Men’s Health Forum selects a particular theme for their week long campaign to raise awareness of men’s health issues, and this year it’s all about belly fat.

Why belly fat?  The belly is the single most dangerous place for excess weight and men are more likely to have it.

Belly fat is a problem because it lurks not just beneath the surface but also gets down deep and surrounds your vital organs.  

Regardless of your overall weight, a large amount of belly fat increases your risk of:

·         Cardiovascular disease

·         Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes

·         Colorectal cancer

·         Sleep apnoea

·         Premature death from any cause

·         High blood pressure

So, this week men are being encouraged to get their measuring tapes out and check their waist measurements.

If you have a waist measurement over 37 inches (94cm), you are at increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, stroke and erection problems.  If it's over 40 inches (102cm), you're at a considerably increased risk of all these.

Top Tip: - Your waist measurement is not the same as your trouser size.  Get a tape measure and measure around your stomach at the belly button.


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Posted by on in general

World War I Bunker Tours

A new community play called The Last Post is being promoted through a replica World War 1 bunker.  Filled with artefacts and information, the mobile bunker will be visiting towns across the Eastern Valleys, encouraging people to talk about their families’ experience of the home front during World War 1.

“The idea is to invite people to help us devise the story and create the characters through attending workshops taking place throughout June and July”, said director Stuart Bawler. 

Members of Head4Art’s team are on hand at the bunker to tell people how they can get involved right at the beginning.  Many of the roadshow locations will also feature an accompanying exhibition in a local venue – the result of previous WW1 themed community projects developed by Head4Arts. 

Head4Arts Manager Kate Strudwick said of the project; “People don’t need to have any previous experience of doing a play.  There are lots of different ways that you can join in. For example, we’re looking for people who can sing some of the well-known songs, and people to gather costumes and make props.  So, you can get involved as an individual or as a group.”

The story of The Last Post will be about a postman who is too young to sign up but delivers telegrams and parcels to people in his Valley’s town.  The play will use both real and fictitious letters to bring to life the joys and heartaches of this pivotal time in our history.

Regular rehearsals are taking place in Theatr Soar, Merthyr Tydfil on Saturdays in June, July and September with additional workshops in locations throughout the Valleys.  All ages and abilities are welcome (including families) but under 14s need to be accompanied by an adult.

The play will be performed in October 2017 at the following venues:

5 October: The Metropole Theatre, Abertillery

10 October: Congress Theatre, Cwmbran

24 October: Red House, Merthyr Tydfil

30 October: Blackwood Miners’ Institute

For more information about how you can get involved go to, email or phone 01495 357816

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VW Jordan Harford

Jordan is 18 years old and currently a Year 2 student at Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone.  He started his volunteer and leadership journey when he was 14 years old by completing the Level 2 Sports Leader award.

Jordan is a talented football player who has been signed by Bristol City, Newport County and Forrest Green Rovers as well as playing for the Welsh Schools U15.

Throughout this busy period Jordan has remained committed to volunteering, whenever his footballing commitments allowed.  He has over 400 volunteer hours to his credit, an achievement which resulted in him being awarded in 2016 with the Blaenau Gwent 5/60 Volunteer of the Year award as well as being named Young Volunteer of the Year.

Jordan showed amazing strength of character when his dream of becoming a football player was curtailed due to continuous injury issues, and despite the disappointment he has thrown himself into volunteering, gaining as much experience as he can.  His can do attitude and positive mind-set is an example to all, he has also enrolled in the local college on a sports course.

Jordan was selected for Gold Ambassador in September last year when he returned to live in Blaenau Gwent, to date; he has helped organise the BG Inspire Volunteer awards, delivered a disability workshop for new Silver Ambassadors, helped deliver Bronze Ambassador training to over 60 pupils also attended many CPD workshops.

Jordan is a fantastic coach, and is the first Ambassador to go through the new Leadership pathway to go on to paid work. He delivers the multiskills programme around Primary Schools in Blaenau Gwent, as well as having his own Mini Kickers football class at Abertillery Sports Centre. 

Jordan has also mentored a Silver Ambassador for the last 4 months, and through his dedication has supported him through CPD and training, resulting in him also achieving paid employment.

Jordan is an excellent role model, who has come through disappointment and has developed through volunteering and the Leadership programme.  

For more information on volunteering opportunities with our Inspire Sports Development team visit the team’s facebook page at or email

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VW Libbie Dobbs
Sixteen year old Libbie began her leadership journey earlier this year by successfully completing a Level 2 Sports Leaders Award.

When Libbie joined the programme she had low confidence and a lack of self-esteem, she wasn’t really into sport either, but her willingness to learn and develop as a young leader was undoubtable.

As part of the sports leaders programme, participants were required to undertake a voluntary placement, volunteering 20 hours of their own time at local clubs and/or schools.  Libbie was signposted to the initiative Us Girls, a programme aimed at providing sport and fitness opportunities to inactive and hard to reach girls.
The initiative was perfect for Libbie, and she took to the role straight away.  She began by volunteering her time at the Us Girls multi-sport lunchtime sessions that were being delivered at her school, and later went on to help establish and shape what would be the first Us Girls community club in the area.

Libbie now attends the community club on a weekly basis, both as a participant and volunteer; taking the register and generally helping with the running and promoting of the club (she even designed a poster for the club!)

In addition to Us Girls, Libbie also volunteered at a Little Life Sports class as part of her Sports Leaders placement, where 4-7 year olds are taught fundamental movement skills through fun and games.  From teenage girls to tots, Libbie was a little taken aback to begin with but she soon found her feet and adapted her leadership skills accordingly.  She quickly gained confidence and was soon able to competently deliver activities within the sessions.

Libbie has recently become a Silver Ambassador, only 1 of 2 in Abertillery, and attended the Silver Ambassador conference at the University of South Wales earlier this month.  As an ambassador, Libbie will be expected to continue promoting and championing sport and increase participation opportunities to help encourage her inactive peers to become hooked on sport.  Libbie is more than ready for the challenge, and looks forward to the future as a young volunteer. She has grown both as an individual and leader in just a short space of time, and no doubt she will continue to grow and succeed in all that she does.

Libbie said of her experience; “I started volunteering with Us Girls last September, when I had to pick a placement for sports leaders. I wasn’t too familiar with any schools so I got directed to Hannah Winmill which led to helping with Us Girls.  I enjoy helping with Us Girls because it brings women and girls together to play sports that they enjoy without any boys being around, and also you get to make new friends.

My experience as a participant is brilliant, I feel welcome at every Us Girls event and the coaches make everything fun so no one is left out.  My experience as a volunteer is also amazing, I get to help out with a lot of girls and help them to begin enjoying sport a lot more.”

For more information on volunteering opportunities with our Inspire Sports Development team visit the team’s facebook page at or email

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VW BiW2 Voluntary Work Experience Gwent Wildlife Trust

Bridges into Work 2 provides opportunities for its participants to take part in voluntary work experience placements.   In recent months, the project has had a number of successful placements at Gwent Wildlife Trust, where volunteers have been able to gain experience of planting, ground clearing and given training to use specialist equipment such as petrol strimmers etc 

The participants enjoyed working outdoors and have gained knowledge of both plant and insect populations in the area.  There were opportunities for the participants to work at a number of locations including Silent Valley, St Illtyd’s Church and Festival Park. 

Feedback from Gwent Wildlife has been excellent, and they have highlighted how well the volunteers have worked together as a team. 

Feedback from the participants has also been really positive, with a strong theme running through comments stating how the opportunity has given them more confidence: 

“I have gained confidence and feel less anxious about returning to work.”

“I feel more confident with being able to interact with people, and more confident in applying for jobs.”

“Enjoyed the work and being part of the team, this has boosted my confidence as I have been out of work for some time.”

For more information on Bridges into Work 2 call 01495 355299 / 01495 355300 or email

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