Amgueddfa Blog: Community Engagement

The Carers Wales report State of Caring 2019 estimated that last year there were 400,000 carers in Wales. The 2011 Census gave the overall figure as 370,000 or 12% of the population, with 30,000 of those carers under the age of 25 and it noted that Wales has the highest proportion of carers under 18 in the UK. These figures all refer to unpaid carers, who are supporting an adult or child with a disability, physical or mental illness, or affected by substance misuse. It does not include those working in paid caring roles.

It is estimated that most of us, three out of five, will become a carer at some point in our lives.

Given these huge numbers and the fact that most of us are, or will be, affected why don’t we hear more about carers? One reason could be that carers are too busy being carers. I have been a carer myself and before joining Amgueddfa Cymru I spent 30 years working in health and social care services, in which time I would estimate that I worked with a few thousand carers. My experience and extensive studies show that many carers experience loneliness and social isolation, poor mental or physical health themselves, and financial pressure, as a result of their caring role.

So what does this mean for Amgueddfa Cymru? One of the goals for our 10-year strategy, due to be published in spring 2021, is that we are relevant to everyone and accessible to everyone; another is a focus on health and wellbeing for all. Our community engagement programme has a very wide range of ways for people who have support needs (due to health, disability or other circumstances) to get involved in museum activities as a visitor or through our volunteering and learning programmes. We certainly welcome carers via these initiatives and there are many carers who have got involved, but as yet we don’t have very much that is specifically designed around the needs of carers.

Looking ahead to next year, the Volunteering team want to provide some opportunities designed specifically for carers. This may involve recruiting volunteers who can support carers in visiting our museums, or, it may mean designing volunteering opportunities for carers that work around caring demands. At the moment we imagine a mix of attendance options – some opportunities for carers to attend or join something on their own, others where carers can do so with the person they provide care for. 

The usual image of carers is of someone older, caring either for an elderly parent or for their spouse or partner. There are many who fit that description, but there are also more young adult or child carers than most people realise and the demands of caring risk an adverse impact on their education, development, and overall quality of life. We are therefore planning to include some opportunities that are specifically aimed at young carers.

People from all communities face caring responsibilities, which may in some cases be made even harder by systemic discrimination and disadvantage. My own experience of caring for my Iraqi grandmother was that the support services available genuinely intended to welcome everyone but were nearly all set up around the habits, lifestyles and life experiences of a White British population. The food and activities offered, and life events discussed (for instance in Reminiscence therapy), held no relevance or comfort for her whatsoever. I’m not suggesting this gives me any insight into another person’s experience, it doesn’t, but it does give an insight into the limitations of a single approach. 

So we know we will need a nuanced and varied approach, and this is where we would like your help. We have created a survey which sets out some of our ideas so far, but we also need to hear from you if you are a carer or have been a carer in the past. If you’re not, we’d be grateful if you could help us by sharing this with carers you know.

The survey launches on Carers Rights Day, 26 November, and on the same day we’re also planning a live online discussion (with a free event ticket for every carer who joins us). You can find the details of how to participate, and also the ‘taster’ sessions on the same day, via this web page: https://museum.wales/getinvolved/carers

How a Distanced Professional Training Year Can Still Be Enjoyable and Successful

As an undergraduate, studying biosciences at Cardiff University, I am able to undertake a placement training year. Taxonomy, the study of naming, defining, and classifying living things, has always interested me and the opportunity to see behind the scenes of the museum was a chance I did not want to lose. So, when the time came to start applying for placements, the Natural Sciences Department at National Museum Cardiff was my first choice. When I had my first tour around the museum, I knew I had made the right choice to apply to carry out my placement there. It really was the ‘kid in the candy shop’ type of feeling, except the sweets were preserved scientific specimens. If given the time I could spend days looking over every item in the collection and marvelling at them all. 

The 'candy shop' moment of seeing the museum's collections

Jars of preserved specimens in the collections at National Museum Cardiff

Of course, the plans that were set out for my year studying with the museum were made last year and, with the Covid-19 pandemic this has meant that plans had to change! However, everyone has adapted really well and thankfully, a large amount of the work I am doing can be done from home or in zoom meetings when things need to be discussed.

Currently, my work focuses on writing a scientific paper that will be centered on describing and naming a new species of shovel head worm (Magelonidae) from North America. Shovel head worms are a type of marine bristle worm and as the name describes, are found in the sea. They are related to earth worms and leeches. So far, my work has involved researching background information and writing the introduction for the paper. This  is very helpful for my own knowledge because when I applied for the placement I didn’t have the slightest clue about what a shovel head worm was but now I can confidently understand what people mean when they talk about chaetigers or lateral pouches!

Part of the research needed for the paper also includes looking closely at species found in the same area as the new species, or at species that are closely related in order to determine that our species is actually new.

Photos for the paper were taken by attaching a camera to a microscope and using special imaging stacking software which takes several shots at different focus distances and combines them into a fully focused image. While ideally, I would have taken these images myself, I am unable to due to covid restrictions, so my training year supervisor, Katie Mortimer-Jones took them.

Camera mounted on a microscope used to take images of the worms

Then I cleaned up the backgrounds and made them into the plates ready for publication. I am very fortunate that I already have experience in using applications similar to photoshop for art and a graphics tablet so it wasn’t too difficult for me to adjust what I already had in order to make these plates. Hopefully soon, I will be able to take these images for myself.

Getting images ready for publication

My very first publication in a scientific journal doesn’t seem that far away and I still have much more time in my placement which makes me very excited to see what the future holds. Of course, none of this would be possible without the wonderful, friendly and helpful museum staff who I have to express my sincere thanks to for allowing me to have this fantastic opportunity to work here, especially my supervisor, Katie Mortimer-Jones.

Shovel head worm 

Keep Wales Tidy has unveiled this year’s Green Flag Award winners – the international mark of a quality park or green space. 

The National Waterfront, Swansea has achieved the prestigious Green Flag Community Award in recognition of its dedicated volunteer involvement, high environmental standards and commitment to delivering great quality green space.

The Green Flag Community Award is designed to help promote quality green spaces that are accessible to all.  They are a great way to highlight the work that the fabulous volunteers have done, and to show that we are using the museums garden to grow produce that is donated to groups in need across the city. 

GRAFT volunteers taking a break from harvesting at the gardens at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea

In 2018, the National Waterfront Museum transformed the Museum's once industrial courtyard into a beautiful, sustainable, organic growing environment; creating an edible landscape to encourage participation and conversation around land use, food and sustainability in an accessible and empowering way. It was created and continues to be managed by GRAFT, the Museum’s land and educational project, and it forms a permanent piece of green infrastructure within Swansea City Centre. The project is also a socially engaged work of art by artist Owen Griffiths, and was originally commissioned as part of Now the Hero / Nawr Yr Arwr in 2018 funded by 1418NOW as part of a huge UK wide cultural project commemorating the first World War. Today, GRAFT works with community groups from a wide range of backgrounds across the city, who came together, to garden, grow, share food and conviviality.

Speaking on behalf of the Waterfront Museum’s GRAFT team, Senior Learning, Participation and Interpretation Officer, Zoe Gealy said: “The GRAFT team at The National Waterfront Museum are delighted to have received this Green Flag, it really highlights the fabulous work our amazing volunteers have put in since we started in 2018 and is such a great accolade during a particularly challenging year for us all.  We look forward to many more years of growing and developing our green space and will continue to create learning and volunteering opportunities, as well as donating produce to the fantastic charities across the city who are providing services for those in need”.   

The National Waterfront Museum is one of a family of seven museums and collections centres under the banner of Amgueddfa Cymru  - National Museum of Wales, which offers free entry thanks to the support of the Welsh Government. Together, they house the nation's art, history, heritage and science collections, which will continue to grow so that they can be used and enjoyed by present and future generations.

127 community managed green spaces across the country have met the high standards needed to receive the Green Flag Community Award. This means that Wales still holds a third of the UK’s community Green Flag sites.

The Green Flag Award programme is delivered in Wales by environmental charity Keep Wales Tidy, with support from Welsh Government. Independent green space experts volunteered their time in early autumn to judge applicant sites against eight strict criteria, including biodiversity, cleanliness, environmental management, and community involvement.

Lucy Prisk, Green Flag Coordinator at Keep Wales Tidy said: "The pandemic has shown just how important high-quality parks and green spaces are to our communities. For many of us, they have been a haven on our doorstep, benefitting our health and well-being. The success of National Waterfront Museum in achieving the Green Flag Community Award is a testament to the volunteers who have maintained excellent standards under the most challenging circumstances this year. I’d like to congratulate and thank them all for their outstanding commitment.”

A full list of award winners can be found on the Keep Wales Tidy website www.keepwalestidy.cymru/greenflag

 

 

 

Keep Wales Tidy has unveiled this year’s Green Flag Award winners – the international mark of a quality park or green space. 

The National Wool Museum in Carmarthenshire has achieved the prestigious Green Flag Community Award in recognition of its dedicated volunteer involvement, high environmental standards and commitment to delivering great quality green space.

The museum tells the story of one of Wales' most important and widespread industries, wool. Drefach Felindre in the beautiful Teifi valley was once a thriving center for the woolen industry supplying fabrics to the world. While sharing the fascinating history of this industry, the museum also plays an important role in keeping alive its traditional skills, as well as promoting wool as a sustainable material for our future: for fashion fabrics, home goods and as building and insulation fibre.

National Wool Museum Volunteers Pixie Harcourt and Maureen Bibby.

Speaking about the award, Ann Whitall, National Wool Museum Manager, said: "We are delighted to receive this recognition of the work we’e doing to support local biodiversity and sustainable practices. We have a long history of working closely with our local community to ensure that our activities make a positive contribution to the local rural economy. That includes our role as a tourist attraction and educational center, but increasingly it also means that we are developing a role in supporting the renaissance of wool as a future fibre, and stimulating a revival in its use and value."

The National Wool Museum is one of a family of seven museums and collections centres under the banner of Amgueddfa Cymru  - National Museum of Wales, which offers free entry thanks to the support of the Welsh Government. Together, they house the nation's art, history, heritage and science collections, which will continue to grow so that they can be used and enjoyed by present and future generations.

127 community managed green spaces across the country have met the high standards needed to receive the Green Flag Community Award. This means that Wales still holds a third of the UK’s community Green Flag sites.

The Green Flag Award programme is delivered in Wales by environmental charity Keep Wales Tidy, with support from Welsh Government. Independent green space experts volunteered their time in early autumn to judge applicant sites against eight strict criteria, including biodiversity, cleanliness, environmental management, and community involvement.

Lucy Prisk, Green Flag Coordinator at Keep Wales Tidy said: "The pandemic has shown just how important high-quality parks and green spaces are to our communities. For many of us, they have been a haven on our doorstep, benefitting our health and well-being. The success of National Wool Museum in achieving the Green Flag Community Award is a testament to the volunteers who have maintained excellent standards under the most challenging circumstances this year. I’d like to congratulate and thank them all for their outstanding commitment.”

A full list of award winners can be found on the Keep Wales Tidy website www.keepwalestidy.cymru/greenflag

This award was awarded to the National Wool Museum's Dye Garden for which the National Wool Museum’s Gardening Volunteers are responsible. It is a wonderful sustainable garden filled with a variety of plants which have been traditionally used for their natural dyes. Flowers, leaves and roots are harvested as the season progresses and dried or frozen ready for dyeing, for example, fleece, yarn or fabric which usually happen in the end of season Autumn workshops. The Gardening Volunteers take an active role in the community, for example, they work with the local primary school eco group offering different activities including dye and sustainable gardening workshops. The National Wool Museum's garden volunteers are: 

Jilly Doe, Jo Taylor, Steve Rees, Verrinia Rees, Pixie Harcourt, Maureen Bibby, Susan Martin, Helen Fogden.

On Saturday 17th October, our museum marks 15 years since opening its doors. And as we’re all in lockdown around here, and probably in need of cheering up, we wondered whether you’d like to share in some of our celebrations? Birthdays need a cake, so we’re inviting you cake bakers and decorators to get creative and see what of our museum will inspire a delicious birthday cake! We’ve a £50 voucher to spend in our National Museums Shop for the winning baker!

National Waterfront Museum turns 15 on 17th October 2020

It could be inspired by our building, one of our exhibits or an event you remember well. Just let your creativity run wild, then get your aprons and your thinking caps on! Make, bake and decorate a 15th birthday cake for the National Waterfront Museum and send us a picture via twitter or Facebook by 3pm on Saturday 17th October. See details below.

Our museum captain these 15 years, Steph Mastoris will judge the entries and we’ll announce the winner on Tuesday 20th October. The baker of the best birthday cake will win a £50 National Musuems voucher to spend in our shops.

You can post pictures of your cake on Twitter, making sure to include @The_Waterfront in your tweet, or to our special Birthday Cake Competition Facebook Event site https://www.facebook.com/events/352694139397072

Good luck - ready....steady.....bake!!

 

Terms & Conditions
· The Promoter is: Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Cymru / the National Museum of Wales (Charity Registration number: 525774) whose registered office is at Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NP.
· Employees of the National Museum of Wales or their families, or anyone else connected in any way with the competition, shall not be permitted to enter the competition.
· There is no entry fee to the competition and no purchase necessary to enter this competition.
· The promoter will only consider one entry per participating Facebook or Twitter account.
· Entries which put entrants, staff or any other persons at risk will not be eligible for this competition
· The Promoter is not responsible for any physical injury or harm to entrants or any other persons in the course of participating in this competition
· It is the Entrant’s responsibility to ensure that they take necessary precautions to guard their own safety, and the safety of any other persons present, while participating in this competition
· Closing date for entry will be 17 October 2020 at 15.00. After this date no further entries to the competition will be permitted.
· No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for any reason. Proof of posting is not proof of receipt.
· The Promoter reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice in the event of any event outside of the Promoter's control. Any changes to the competition will be notified to entrants as soon as possible by the Promoter.
· The Promoter is not responsible for inaccurate prize details supplied to any entrant by any third party connected with this competition.
· No cash alternative to the prizes will be offered. The prizes are not transferable. Prizes are subject to availability and we reserve the right to substitute any prize with another of equivalent value without giving notice.
· Winners will be chosen on merit by a representative of the Promoter.
· The winners will be notified via Facebook or Twitter by 21 October. If the winners cannot be contacted or do not claim the prize within 72 hours of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.
· The Promoter will notify the winner when and where the prize can be collected, or to where it should be posted
· The Promoter's decision in respect of all matters to do with the competition will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.
· The competition and these terms and conditions will be governed by UK Law and any disputes will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of the UK.
· By entering this competition, an entrant releases Facebook and twitter from any or all liability in connection with this contest
· All entrants agree that National Museum of Wales can display and share their entries on their website and social media channels, with name credit where the information is available. Submitted entries will remain the intellectual property of the entrants.
· Winners agree to post an acknowledgement Facebook or twitter, mentioning @amgueddfacymru in their message.
· The winner agrees to the use of their name, likeness and entry in any publicity material.
· Any personal data relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current UK data protection legislation and will not be disclosed to a third party without the entrant's prior consent.
· Entry into the competition will be deemed as acceptance of these terms and conditions.
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