21 December 2017

Saying thank you is so important, but sometimes with our busy lives, it’s easy to forget it. To try to recognise those people, last month our Welsh team held our very first Big Welsh Thanks event. Here Wales Country Manager Lowri Jenkins shares how the event was an opportunity to celebrate the amazing communities we have across Wales and the ordinary individuals and groups doing extraordinary things.

Certificate from the Big Welsh Thanks.

There are thousands of people across our wonderful country who are giving their time up every day to make a positive difference where they live. In every community across Wales, individuals are taking on challenges and projects that they have a passion for. They don’t do it for the credit, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get some.

Now, like all good things, this event was inspired by a few things. The first, a blog written by the lovely Peter Lefort about people being like lighthouses (which you should definitely read!)

Stay with me here…  a lighthouse never knows the impact its light is having on any passing boats; when you’re working with your community, you may not know the impact you’re having, unless people tell you. We sometimes assume we’re having no impact as we don’t get a reaction, which is often far from true. The act of telling somebody the impact they’ve had is sometimes difficult but it’s really important.

This was recognised by a vibrant group from Llandrindod Wells (including our very own Samantha Evans) earlier this year. They set about planning their Llandrindod Well Done event (great wordplay!), which was exactly that, an opportunity to say thank you and well done to the people having an impact (or the lighthouses!) in their town. 

Now, imitation is meant to be the sincerest form of flattery, so we set about to shine a light on communities and individuals across Wales who are doing fab things. We opened up our award ceremony with a difference – no losers or categories, instead everyone nominated for a thankyou received one!

It was a brilliant day, with people from all walks of life joining to celebrate Welsh communities! The nominations were really heartfelt, and we as a team felt really special to have these wonderful thoughts and feelings shared so openly with us. Here are just a few of the lovely nominations from the day: 

"She’s always there to support others and she does it with a smile on her face and a ton of good will! She's awesome!"

"He always 'gives back‘. He's kind, selfless and puts others before himself - he never wants, nor asks for any recognition, but I think he deserves this."

"Thank you for creating a place for the first time in my life that I feel I'm a part of, and giving me a feeling of being of use and of some value."

I personally loved chatting to so many fascinating people and was so pleased that everyone who came along wanted to share their experiences, skills, and ideas for their community, and create a real celebratory vibe.

The people who were nominated for a Big Welsh Thanks put themselves out there every day to make a positive difference to their part of the world. And that’s not to mention the thousands of people across Wales who weren’t recognised! Well done to you all for doing what you do, you inspire us, even if you don’t know it.

Saying thank you can be difficult, but its impact can go really far; this event is easily replicable in your area, but you don’t need an event to share the love and show your appreciation, why not try yourself?

If you’d like to know more about this event, or other opportunities in Wales, sign up for our newsletter, follow us on Twitter or facebook or get in touch with Lowri ljenkins@edenproject.com.