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Housing association is as good as gold

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A housing association has clinched a prestigious gold medal award for achieving the highest standards of health and safety in the workplace for the fifth year running.

The honour is being bestowed on Cartrefi Conwy by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

The accolade comes via RoSPA’s occupational health and safety award scheme in which it annually assesses the policies of companies nationwide, aiming to minimise the number of accidents at work.

Attaining a gold standard for five consecutive years means Cartrefi Conwy is eligible for an acclaimed RoSPA Gold Medal, given to only the most committed proponents of workplace health and safety measures in the UK.

It will be presented during a glittering ceremony at Excel, London, on June 21, an event which will also officially mark the 60th anniversary of the awards.

Considered the ‘Oscars’ of the health and safety world, they are highly regarded by business leaders across Britain.

Julia Small, RoSPA’s head of awards and events, said: “We offer Cartrefi Conwy our congratulations. To win at such a highly-regarded event as the RoSPA Awards is a great achievement. It recognises a commitment to maintaining an excellent health and safety record and raises the bar for other organisations to aspire to.

“This year was doubly special for our winners as their achievements were recognised as the RoSPA Awards marked their diamond anniversary, which is a ringing endorsement of the thousands of businesses and organisations that have committed to continuous improvement in accident and ill health prevention.”

Cartrefi Conwy’s health and safety compliance officer, Wil Pritchard, said the award was testimony to the dedication of staff across the company in making health and safety of the workforce a top priority.

He said: “We are delighted to receive this honour because it is recognition of the hard work and commitment to the very real benefits it brings to all our work colleagues in terms of preventing accidents and keeping them safe.”

Headquartered at North Wales Business Park in Abergele, Cartrefi Conwy manages more than 3,700 properties throughout Conwy, making it one of North Wales’s foremost providers of affordable, quality homes. More than a third of its properties are sheltered accommodation for the elderly and the vulnerable.

Wil said: “It is vital that health and safety awareness is a cornerstone of what we do. We are dealing with people all the time, in-house and on site in our properties, and we have to make sure that work colleagues are safe in whatever circumstances their job places them in, whether that be here in the main office, on a construction site or going out to one or our properties for a meeting with a tenant.

“Staff good health policies and accident prevention strategies have been at the heart of our organisation since it formed in 2008.

“Our success has come because everyone genuinely believes that being the best that we possibly can be when it comes to health and safety is a policy worth pursuing. Everyone is made aware of our accident prevention policies as soon as they join the company and we welcome ideas from all departments on ways of improving even further.”

Cartrefi Conwy strives to ensure that not only its own staff, but with contractors it engages with adhere to stringent workplace health and safety. That encompasses everything from wearing protective workwear, to following recognised procedures when working at heights, appropriate behaviour when undertaking  manual handling, working with asbestos, dealing with vulnerable people, avoiding confrontation or driving on the road, taking charge of company vehicles.

Chief executive Andrew Bowden was “immensely proud” of Cartrefi Conwy’s record.

He said: “From the moment every new employee walks through the door they are made aware of our health and safety procedures.

“It is done in an interactive way where everyone is engaged and genuinely interested so the message sticks with them throughout their time here and beyond.

“We run regular training courses and refresher sessions to reinforce the policies. I have myself attended courses on the safest way of lifting and moving parcels and boxes of documents so as not to cause a tendon or back injury.”

Wil added: “It’s about looking out for our colleagues, asking for and listening to their thoughts on improving the way we approach a task to make it safer for them. If we can re-think it to make something healthier or safer for all, then we will.”

For more details on Cartrefi Conwy visit www.cartreficonwy.org

Charity trek challenge for finance firm boss

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THE director of a Wrexham financial firm is swapping his briefcase for a rucksack to take part in a charity trek through a remote Spanish mountain region which is home to a native species of brown bear.

Medwyn Edwards, joint director of Hadlow Edwards Wealth Management, based in Regent Street, will don his hiking boots to take part in the three-day expedition through the Picos De Europa in Northern Spain where he will spend one night camping out in a remote mountain hut.

The trek has been organised by the St. James’s Place Foundation, the charitable arm of the FTSE 100 Company St. James’s Place which is one of the UK’s largest wealth management organisations and looks after client funds amounting to £62 bn.

Medwyn’s firm, which he set up in 2000 with fellow director Warren Hadlow, is a Principal Partner Practice of St. James’s Place and Medwyn had been considering taking part in one of their charity expeditions for some time.

Events and challenges are held every year to help raise money for the foundation which has been supporting those in need since 1992 by awarding grants to charities registered in the UK with more than £40 million having been raised to date.

Causes supported include Support Dogs, a national charity which trains and supports dogs to help people with a range of disabilities including autism and epilepsy, AfriKids which is London-based charity which works to improve the lives of Ghana’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged children and Worldwide Volunteering which helps disadvantaged young people through volunteering opportunities.

Medwyn, 55, a father-of-two who lives in Wrexham and is originally from Anglesey, said: “Every year, I have thought about taking part in one of the St. James’s Place Foundation events because I enjoy the outdoors and I like a bit of adventure!

“I am looking forward to the challenge of the trek, seeing the mountains, visiting a part of the world I have never been to before and trying the local food.

“I have always enjoyed being outdoors because of the fresh air and exercise. It’s a great way to escape from the day-to-day challenges of running a wealth management company.

“As a firm, Hadlow Edwards does a lot to support charities and this is very important to us so for me this is a great way to combine something I enjoy doing and raising money for important causes at the same time.”

Medwyn’s charity excursion through the limestone mountains comes three months after the wealth management company were the main sponsors of a ball staged at Chester Racecourse in aid of Nicola’s Fund.

The ball is organised every two years to raise money for the charity inspired by talented young performer Nicola Riley who was a pupil of the prestigious Chester Hammond School thanks to her natural gifts for dance and drama.

Nicola of Llay was five days away from her 15th birthday when she passed away on April 20, 2005, following a long and determined fight against a brain tumour.

The Hadlow Edwards sponsored ball raised £30,000 and was organised by Nicola’s parents Debbie and Steve, who works with Hadlow Edwards.

Medwyn has been training hard for his upcoming trek at high altitude by walking up to 15 miles carrying a rucksack through Snowdonia and on the local North Wales coastal paths.

His journey in Spain will start on June 3 when he arrives in Bilbao where he will be taken into remote mountain country to complete the three days of trekking through the Cares Gorge and into the higher mountain terrain of Naranjo de Bulnes.

The region is home to a range of plants and wildlife including the Cantabrian brown bear, also known as the Littlest Grizzly, and grey wolves are often spotted in some of the more remote areas too.

“I hadn’t thought too much about what I might encounter while I am out there,” laughed Medwyn.

“It would be pretty special to see a brown bear but I don’t suppose we will want to get too near but I should think they won’t want to get too close to us either!”

Medwyn was tasked with raising £500 but has already smashed that to reach close to £2,500 for the St. James’s Place Foundation.

“My aim is £3,000 so I don’t have too far to go. People have been very generous and raising this sort of total will have made the whole thing very worthwhile.”

To sponsor Medwyn visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiserweb/donate/indexerSearchCharityResults.action