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HRH The Duchess of Gloucester welcomed to the new Pencoed-Bridgend HQ

22nd September 2016

HRH The Duchess of Gloucester officially opened the new St John Cymru Wales Pencoed-Bridgend Divisional Headquarters on Wednesday 21st September, 2016.

The Chair of the St John Council for Mid Glamorgan, Mr Gareth Chapman, welcomed Her Royal Highness on this special occasion with this speech, giving thanks to all those involved.

"Your Royal Highness, Distinguished Guests, Ladies, Gentlemen, Cadets and Badgers, it is with great pleasure that I stand here today on behalf of the St John Council for Mid Glamorgan to recognise the journey we have all been on to deliver this outstanding facility for Bridgend/Pencoed Division.

Some 10 years ago in my former role as Chair of the St John Council for Bridgend, the number 1 priority in our business plan was to find a new Headquarters building for the then Pencoed Division. Despite searching the area at that time however, no building became available.

As a result of circumstances beyond our control a decision was subsequently taken for the then Bridgend and Pencoed Divisions to move out of their existing locations and they then began to operate from the basement of Hope Street Chapel here in Bridgend.

Although not ideal, the Bridgend/Pencoed Division (as it was now called) continued to thrive.

A search for a new Headquarters continued throughout the years with various options being explored.  However it was not until early in 2015, when the former Social Services building here in Minerva Street owned by Bridgend County Borough Council, was identified as a possible option and things started to take off.

A project group was formed with Llinos and Joy from Bridgend/Pencoed Division, Angie O’Sullivan the County Commissioner of Mid Glamorgan and Brian Fraser, my Vice Chair.

Many meetings and many hours were spent burning the midnight oil bringing together a feasibility study and business plan, identifying funding and exploring partners who would be willing to occupy the building when it was not in use by the Division.

Meetings were also held with Bridgend County Borough Council who were extremely amenable to ensuring that the building continued to be used for benefit of the citizens of Bridgend and wider community whilst also obtaining a much needed capital receipt for a building they no longer required.

Following all this hard work, my Council on behalf of the Division were required to demonstrate and justify to the Prior and Trustees why it was such a good decision for them to purchase the building for the future of Bridgend/Pencoed. This Brian and I were able to do, so here we are today.

Given the journey we have been on, I would therefore like to thank:

The Pastor and members of Hope Street Chapel;

Llinos, Joy, Clive Davies and the Division for all the hard work put in to date;

Angie and her team for the support given throughout this process;

Bridgend County Borough Council for having the confidence and vision to allow the building to remain open for community to use;

The Prior, Trustees, Chief Executive and staff of Priory for the support and guidance given throughout this process;

To our many local businesses, some of whom who are present here today, for their generosity and time spent in facilitating the development of this building;

Our users of the building who occupy the building on a daily basis and provide much needed services within the locality; and finally

Brian Fraser and my Council for having the determination to deliver this project for the Division.

In conclusion therefore, there is always talk of the Big Society and this being something new however here in South Wales and the Valleys we serve, the Big Society has been with us for well over 150 years. Organisations such as ours, have provided a First Aid service run in the local community for the local community, it provides development and citizenship opportunities and training for our young people and this continues here today by the Bridgend/Pencoed Division and as a consequence of the investment in this building we stand in today, will continue to do so for many years ahead.

Your Royal Highness may I therefore thank you for taking the time to join us here today to be a part of this momentous and wonderful occasion. Thank you.

  • Cadet Charlie wins ‘Diana Award’ for work in the community

  • 20th November 2017
  • 16-year-old Charlie Marsh was given the award in recognition of the 800 hours he's given up to perform first aid duties and to fundraise within his community.

  • Volunteers to attend Remembrance service at Cenotaph

  • 10th November 2017
  • Youth and adult volunteers from across Wales will represent St John Cymru at this year’s Remembrance Sunday service in London.

  • St John Cymru and WRU team up to train pupils in first aid

  • 8th November 2017
  • As Wales prepare to kick off their autumn campaign this weekend, St John Cymru has once again teamed up with the Welsh Rugby Union to deliver first aid training to school children.

  • New Chief Executive appointed at St John Cymru-Wales

  • 2nd November 2017
  • St John Cymru-Wales has appointed Julia Hobbs as its new Chief Executive, with effect from 2nd January 2018.

  • Gwent church hosts special St John Cymru-Wales service

  • 30th October 2017
  • A special service was held in Abergavenny on Saturday (28th October) to install a Chancellor of the Order of St John and a new Commissioner for St John Cymru-Wales in Gwent.

  • Volunteer trainers learn vital new skills at annual conference

  • 24th October 2017
  • More than 100 volunteer trainers from across all divisions of St John Cymru-Wales attended a major conference in Cardiff, to update their lifesaving skills.

  • Organ donors honoured for the gift of life

  • 10th October 2017
  • Relatives of individuals who have saved lives through organ donation were honoured at a special awards ceremony in Cardiff, on Monday 9th October.

  • Runners line up in yellow to raise money for St John Cymru

  • 29th September 2017
  • More than 30 runners will be pulling on a bright yellow vest as they take part in the Cardiff Half Marathon to raise money for St John Cymru-Wales.

  • St John Cymru unveils giant Centenary flag at Cardiff Castle

  • 27th September 2017
  • St John Cymru-Wales unveiled its Centenary logo today by raising a giant flag above the Keep at Cardiff Castle.

  • St John Cymru team completes Welsh 3 Peaks Challenge

  • 25th September 2017
  • Team completes Welsh 3 Peaks Challenge to raise money for St John Cymru Wales

  • Treharris Division celebrates 100 years

  • 24th September 2017
  • Congratulations to members of the Treharris Division who are celebrating their Centenary.

  • St John Cymru to provide ambulance cover at Ironman Wales

  • 8th September 2017
  • St John Cymru-Wales will be deploying ambulances, first aiders and paramedics to cover the course of Ironman Wales.

  • ‘Save a Life September’ campaign aims to train an extra 5,000 lifesavers

  • 1st September 2017
  • St John Cymru Wales is launching its ‘Save a Life September’ campaign today, Friday 1st September, as it aims to train an extra 5,000 potential lifesavers.

  • Volunteers proud to be part of Pride Cymru parade

  • 25th August 2017
  • Volunteers line up for third year at Pride Cymru.

  • Llanelli cadet helps renovate school hall in South Africa

  • 17th August 2017
  • A St John Cymru Wales cadet has helped to renovate a primary school hall in South Africa along with other global youth leaders.

  • Malta trip establishes international youth partnership

  • 16th August 2017
  • A group of St John Cymru Wales cadets have established a new partnership with their counterparts in Malta, following a week-long exchange trip.

  • Wedding bells ring out for volunteers at St John church

  • 11th August 2017
  • Two St John Cymru Wales members, who fell in love while volunteering for the charity, are getting married this weekend.

  • Volunteers keep Eisteddfod visitors safe day and night

  • 11th August 2017
  • A busy week for volunteers at the National Eisteddfod on Anglesey.

  • New role for Chief Executive of St John Cymru Wales

  • 9th August 2017
  • The Chief Executive of St John Cymru Wales, Keith Dunn OBE, is retiring after 17 years in the role.

  • Volunteers complete 200,000 hours of service

  • 3rd August 2017
  • 200,000 hours of voluntary service were completed and 28,000 people were trained in first aid.

  • Help us to ‘Save A Life’

  • 3rd August 2017
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  • Volunteers gearing up to help Velothon cyclists

  • 7th July 2017
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  • Freemasons fund new ambulance for Haverfordwest

  • 3rd July 2017
  • A 56-thousand-pound grant, from West Wales Freemasons, has funded a new ambulance for the Haverfordwest Division.

  • Welsh volunteers share skills with colleagues from Hong Kong

  • 27th June 2017
  • Volunteers from Hong Kong St John Ambulance visited the Principality Stadium to learn how St John Cymru Wales provides first aid cover at major events.

  • New Prior for Wales installed

  • 19th June 2017
  • Sir Paul Williams OBE, former Chief Executive of NHS Wales, has been formally installed as the new Prior of the Priory for Wales.

  • A special message to all members of St John Cymru Wales from the new Prior for Wales

  • 17th June 2017
  • A special message to all members of St John Cymru Wales from the new Prior for Wales

  • Volunteers significantly reduce Champions League impact on NHS staff

  • 6th June 2017
  • Volunteers significantly reduce Champions League impact on NHS staff

  • More than 100 volunteers on first aid duty for Champions League

  • 31st May 2017
  • More than 100 volunteers on first aid duty for Champions League

  • National First Aid Competition 2017

  • 19th May 2017
  • National First Aid Competition 2017

  • 6 year old awarded for saving her baby brother’s life

  • 20th March 2017
  • 6 year old awarded for saving her baby brother’s life.

  • New Prior for Wales appointment confirmed

  • 10th March 2017
  • His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester, in his capacity as Grand Prior of the Order of St. John, has appointed Sir Paul Williams OBE, KStJ, DL as Prior for Wales with effect from St. John’s Day, 24 June, 2017.

  • Chief Executive congratulates volunteers, staff and partners on their hard work over the festive period

  • 23rd December 2016
  • Chief Executive congratulates volunteers, staff and partners on their hard work over the festive period

  • Volunteers prepare for 'double Black Friday'

  • 16th December 2016
  • Volunteers prepare for 'double Black Friday'

  • Young volunteers honoured at Inspire Wales Princess Diana Awards

  • 13th December 2016
  • Three of our youngest members received special awards at the Princess Diana ‘Inspire Wales’ event on Thursday 8th December.

  • HRH The Duchess of Gloucester welcomed to the new Pencoed-Bridgend HQ

  • 22nd September 2016
  • Chair of St John Council for Mid Glamorgan welcomes HRH The Duchess of Gloucester

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St John Cymru Wales
Priory House,
Beignon Close,
Ocean Way,
Cardiff
CF24 5PB

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