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.

THE bringing together of a variety of organisations to develop and launch the innovative Newport Engagement Hub based at Malpas Fire Station has earned Nicola Wheten the Achiever Award, sponsored by Admiral.

This unique facility enables the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service to reach out to vulnerable young people, particularly those at risk of getting involved in anti-social behaviour. It allows information to be shared easily and supports collaborative and preventative work, such as established young programmes such as Phoenix, Crimes and Consequences, Fire Cadets and Momentum.

South Wales Argus: winner: Nicola Wheten

Nicola is credited with turning the vision for the hub into a reality, working tirelessly and using her passion, enthusiasm and drive to encourage a collaborative approach to achieve the best outcomes for those it helps.

She was involved in developing the business case to secure funding, developing working agreements between partners and converting the old breathing apparatus classroom at the station into a modern state of the art multi-agency office. In addition, the hub benefits from a multi-sensory room with mood lighting and soft furnishings to support local youth work and an AstroTurf area and newly refitted and technologically-enhanced classroom.

“The hub will benefit communities across South Wales for years to come and aims to strengthen community confidence through effective working,” stated the nomination for Nicola.

Since launching in 1993, Admiral has grown from a small start up to one of the largest motor insurance providers in the UK, and has expanded into other markets including home insurance, travel insurance and personal loans. It is Wales’ only FTSE 100 company, employing over 10,000 people worldwide. Outside of the UK it has a presence in eight countries and is proud to still have its headquarters and UK offices in South Wales.

Admiral’s Newport office opened in 2008 and in 2014 moved to a new building in Newport city centre, which currently employs over 1,000. It works hard to maintain its culture and is proud to have won several awards for being a great employer.

“Our communities, particularly where our offices in South Wales are based, are really important to us and an intrinsic part of our culture is making sure we play a positive role in them,” said a spokesman. “This was more important than ever when the Covid-19 crisis hit and heavily impacted so many people and organisations.”

The Admiral Support fund for Covid-19 is a £6 million commitment to help communities close to its offices in Wales and overseas, and to contribute to industry-wide funds.

“The support we gave was extremely varied” said the spokesman. “We helped charities, schools, hospitals, health boards, councils, foodbanks and care homes, and much of it was focused on supporting those working on the frontline.

Admiral also donated over £250,000 in total to 15 large charities including St David’s Hospice Care, based in Newport. It hopes its support helps those in need at this difficult time.

South Wales Argus: Admiral logo