Students and staff at Tonypandy Community College were celebrated at the Welsh Assembly this week for their outstanding work on the Community Voice Project.

Organised by the Minister for Public Services and Assembly Member for Rhondda Leighton Andrews, the event welcomed a selection of voluntary organisations from throughout Rhondda Cynon Taf.

Headteacher of Tonypandy Community College Helen O’Sullivan was honoured to receive an award as Community Voice Champion Provider in recognition of all the work being undertaken at the school.

“I was absolutely thrilled to receive this award from Community Voice in recognition of our “Student Voice” project which helps to ensure all of our students’ concerns are heard.

“Giving them a real voice in decisions that ultimately affect them as individuals is extremely important because it builds confidence and self-worth.

“At Tonypandy they used the opportunity to change the school uniform by following a process whereby they came to the senior management team, myself and then the board of governors with their arguments for change.

“This helped to empower them to do something positive for themselves and has been a very rewarding and enriching experience.”

Within Rhondda Cynon Taff, the Big Lottery funded Community Voice consists of eight partners, each working with a different section of the community to support and enable people’s views and opinions to be expressed.

“Student Voice” supports and enables young people to have their views and opinions listened to and acted upon across a range of issues both inside the College and out in the wider community.

Students Ffion Evans and Stacey Baker also attended the event at Y Senedd in Cardiff Bay and explained how important the project had been at the College.

Organised by Interlink and supported by the Welsh Government, Community Voice recognises that everyone has something to contribute and is an equal partner in improving local services.

It also helps to create social networks by breaking down the barriers between people who provide services and those who use them.

Tonypandy Community College is the only school in Rhondda Cynon Taf who operate under the Community Voice project.

The project is designed to produce services together so that people and communities will benefit from more effective engagement with key public sector organisations, influence decisions about services they receive and develop them.

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