The Argus' Pride of Gwent awards were held last week, in which a plethora of dedicated volunteers were hailed for their hard work during the pandemic. Here we highlight just one of them.

RACHEL Lawrence and the Blaneau Gwent County Borough Council’s Inspire2 Achieve Project have won the Special Recognition Award, sponsored by Tovey Bros, after being nominated by a grateful mum for “going above and beyond” in supporting teenagers and their families when the young people are having difficulties.

“They don’t get the recognition they deserve,” explained the mum. “Even when the teen is reluctant to engage, they continue to support and hold in there, thinking outside the box and winning the trust of these teenagers even when they have lost trust in everyone.”

South Wales Argus:

Youth Worker Rachel’s team supports vulnerable secondary age pupils across the county borough, not only to learn new skills but develop personally and emotionally too.

Her days are spent inspiring, encouraging and supporting young people to reach their full potential.

Rachel works with young people on a one-to-one basis, as part of a group and more recently through online sessions. She and the team have delivered a wide range of projects, including physical and emotional health, arts and crafts and cooking. These provide young people with an opportunity to learn new life skills, develop social skills and grow in confidence and self-esteem.

This vital work has continued throughout the pandemic, when it has been more important than ever to support vulnerable young people with their mental health and well-being and remote learning. The team routinely supports over 600 young people aged between 11 and 25.

Rachel says she’s extremely proud of the team’s work and for it to receive recognition for its dedication in improving lives.

For more information on Blaenau Gwent Youth Service go to: or @BG-youth service on Facebook.

Family-owned funeral director Tovey Bros has been serving the people of South East Wales since 1860.

The Newport-based company is proud to have been working closely within the community for 160 years and of its family-based approach, which is underpinned by its team of long-standing and caring professionals, many of whom have been there for several decades.

“Seven generations of our family have been helping families and loved ones through some of the toughest times they will ever face,” explains James Tovey, who owns the family business alongside his father Humphrey.

“We are fiercely passionate about looking after the needs of those who have suffered a loss and are going through the most difficult of times. We know the effort and sacrifices that are made by those people who work in the NHS and care sectors, and the work within communities to help those who are struggling at this time.

“On a daily basis, we encounter those whose lives are enriched by the communities around them and this has been clearly evident during the pandemic.

“We are proud to work so closely with people within South East Wales, providing the people of this area with a strong shoulder to lean on.”

South Wales Argus: Tovey Bros