Posts Tagged ‘Wales’

One of our Account Executives, Phoebe, recently went to see The Revlon Girl at The Riverfront Theatre in Newport. Here she shares her thoughts on the play…

the-revlon-girl-cast-photo-2

Though based on the events surrounding the Aberfan disaster, The Revlon Girl is a play that focuses on much more than the tragedy itself. It bravely and triumphantly shines a light on our fragile human condition and innate ability to push through hardship at the toughest of times.

The performance began with sound effects of the tip tumbling down and the slush caving in on the former coal mining village of Aberfan. Immediately drawn to the impact the fall had upon the community, I prepared myself for what I thought was about to be a pretty upsetting play. And it was, at times, but under the guidance of Neil Docking’s script and Maxine Evans’s direction, all four of the superb actresses did a magnificent job at flickering between emotions and transforming the atmosphere of the room from sadness to happiness and tears into laughter. Despite the incredibly tough subject matter, The Revlon Girl must be commended for its success in informing the audience whilst remaining light-hearted and enjoyable.

Whilst sitting in the audience I felt as though I was a part of something, a community, a tight-knit friendship group. The bare and stripped-back stage drew your attention to the actresses themselves which, along with the dim flicker of light, made you feel as though you were a fly on the wall listening to the women inside the confines of their small room. Although it was an intense watch, over the short space of an hour and a half you went on a journey with the characters and felt completely and utterly immersed in their emotions.

I went along to the showing with my grandma, auntie and two of her friends all of whom remember the Aberfan disaster “as if it was yesterday!”. Though we varied in age from 21 to 84, we were all mesmerised from start to finish and thought the play was a fantastic way to commemorate the disaster’s 50th anniversary. The Revlon Girl is a play that entwines together the past and the present, and reminds a modern day audience why we should always reflect upon historical events to unravel and understand different communities.

The Revlon Girl stops touring around Wales on the 22nd October 2016. To find out more information about the play, please go to www.octobersixtysix.com 

I found a recent article by journalist Polly Phillips in last weekend’s Sunday Telegraph absolutely fascinating, and thought it might possibly contain some useful advice for how we in the UK can become a happier nation.

As we say farewell to a typical wet, windy diet-obsessed January, Polly explained how the Danes ignore the annual fasting to create our ‘perfect’ bodies and enjoy living as they have done for centuries. You can see young and IMG_2189old Danes alike plunging naked into the icy seas around the coast in mid winter and enjoying pastries whenever they want to!

A recent study by the University of Zurich sheds some light on the reasons for such a carefree approach to living. Apparently, Danes are conditioned from a young age not to feel shame. A mere 1.62% of the population suffer from gelotophobia (a fear of ridicule), the lowest figure of any country surveyed. Britain topped the charts with 13%! Danish children do not grow up paralysed by the fear of being laughed at as we do. While we might spend hours locked in gyms on treadmills, the Danes spend hours outside, biking, hiking and swimming – often in the nude (no one is at all worried by the sight of naked bodies as we would be in the UK!).

If you look deeper you can see how different Danes are from the reserved American and British citizen. From communal showers and baths to women’s liberation in the 1960s, Danish society really does accept a different way of life, and perhaps starting at a very young age there is an acceptance that if the rules say you go naked into the showers then this is what you do.

It seems to me that this accepted way of life must contribute to the Danes being one of the world’s happiest nations. Acceptance of who we are naked or clothed and following accepted rules made by society is not a bad way to live.

Is there a lesson here for us Brits, who sadly appear much further down in this league of ‘happiest’ nations?

– Rob Petersen.

We were joined for the first Cardiff Breakfast Club of the season by Ron Jones, Founder and Executive Chairman of ‘super-indie’ television production company Tinopolis. Ron has been awarded the CBE for his contribution to the media industry and is an advisor on the creative industries to the Welsh Government. His talk focused on the economic benefits of supporting the creative industries – particularly television and film – in Wales.

Ron began by explaining that all government worldwide are now realising that the creative industries are important in driving economic growth, and that in countries such as Singapore governments are ‘throwing money’ at creative projects, creating a highly competitive environment in which Welsh companies have to compete.

However, Ron stressed the fact that the creative industries are an area in which Wales holds its own thanks to the talent and expertise within the industry. The sector now employs 75,000 people – an increase of 50% over the last ten years. With the average weekly earnings for employees in the industry between £710 and £720 a week, much higher than other priority sectors, the contribution of those working in the creative industries to the economy is substantial.

Ron expressed concern that few Welsh companies were heading ‘for the high seas’ to compete across the world in what has become a global industry and emphasised the need for Welsh television to compete across the world. Ron’s own company, Tinopolis, has offices across the UK, LA, Middle East and Singapore and will have a turnover of £250million this year. He used Tinopolis as an example to show that Wales is not at a competitive disadvantage and that technology means
that there is no reason why Wales shouldn’t be a ‘global player’.
Cardiff Breakfast ClubRon also stressed the need for help and funding for the Welsh creative industries from the government, pointing out that;“Much of the growth has come from small micro-businesses of which some have the potential to become significant players. We need to match government funds to the needs of these companies.”

Ron noted that there are many talented and supportive civil servants working within the Welsh Government and that a good relationship has been established between the creative sector and the government, but that there is still obstruction to finding and support that needs to be addressed to help Wales become a global player in the industry.

The next Breakfast Club will be held on 23rd October with guest speaker Tim Williams, Chief Executive of the Welsh Automotive Forum. For further information and booking details, please contact caroline@petersenspr.com or phone 02920 549597.

How often are we given frightening statistics about our growing obesity problem in Wales, effecting our younger generation as well as older citizens? Awareness of the issue is at an all-time high and programmes are being put in place to help educate our fellow citizens as to the correct way to live our lives, but it appears that despite these efforts obesity rates are not falling quickly enough.

However, it seems now that America, the ‘supersized’ nation of the world is at last slimming down. According to research, the average American has shed 190 calories from their daily diet over the last 10 years, the first sustained drop for 40 years! How has this happened? It appears as though talking about the problem has been a major factor, hence this blog to encourage more debate and action on it.

We have heard talk of a government fat tax and Tesco removing some sugary drinks from their shelves, so action is taking place but too slowly. With the highest obesity rate of any West European country save Iceland and Malta, with 67% of males, 57% of females and more than 25% of children, we must take action in Wales now!

Can we not take some direction from the successful anti-smoking campaign? Let’s keep talking about it, let’s educate our children and adults with the simple message that you can have a super healthy life if you eat well and exercise. This is what our friends in America are doing with great success.

family-bikingAs the latest figures show, more than a quarter of Welsh school leavers are overweight or obese, as reported in today’s Western Mail. However, it is most concerning to see that these figures when further broken down illustrate a disparity between affluent and deprived areas of Wales. For example, fewer than 9% of children in the Vale of Glamorgan were obese, while 17% of 4/5 year olds in Merthyr Tydfil were obese.

As mentioned in the comment section of the Western Mail today, unless these problems are faced by families, retailers, Health Authorities, local and central government, the situation will only get worse. Healthy eating, together with modest exercise can have a significant effect on individuals was well as the wider community in which we live.

A solution might be for all parties to be represented in a summit style meeting hosted by the Welsh Government to agree a strategy and timetable for action, otherwise the problem will get worse and the implication for future generations extremely worrying.

Gareth Davies addresses the Club

Gareth Davies addresses the Breakfast Club

We were lucky enough to have been joined by Gareth Davies, Chairman of the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) as the speaker for this month’s Breakfast Club. An ex British Lion and Captain of Wales, Gareth has an illustrious sporting background as well as a strong professional and business record, and has previously held the position of Chairman of the Sports Council for Wales and Commissioning Editor for Sports and Events at S4C.

Gareth began his presentation by explaining that one of his first priorities when becoming Chairman of the WRU was to develop ‘greater unity’ within the organisation. In order to achieve this, Gareth is committed to making the Union more open and transparent, and improving communication between all levels, from club to elite.

Gareth believes that as the elite level is very successful, the WRU needs to concentrate on creating a strong grassroots foundation in order to develop players for the future. One of the projects currently underway in this area is the School Club Hub Initiative. The WRU has been working with 43 schools across Wales to establish Rugby Development Officers in each school. The project, which is half funded by the WRU and half by the schools, has been hugely successful, with the number of schools involved set to double in September.

Copy of Cardiff Breakfast Club Gareth Davies Image 3 - compressedGareth also discussed some of the issues surrounding the Millennium Stadium as an asset of the WRU. Now 15 years old, the ongoing maintenance costs are extensive, with the current priority being the need for all the Stadium seats to be replaced over the next few years, an enterprise which will cost the Union £4/5 million. The WRU are also looking to expand the footprint of the Stadium, and Gareth is looking forward to the Stadium hosting 8 matches for the upcoming World Cup as a key opportunity for the Stadium to be exhibited to the world.

Gareth concluded his presentation by highlighting some of the changes to the WRU Board itself. The Union has recently appointed two new non-exec directors and for the first time ever, its first female board member. Gareth also explained that they are looking to bring in more outside expertise and have created a special advisory board of 5 individuals from worldwide businesses who can use their business knowledge to advise the WRU on particular projects.

The next Breakfast Club will be held on 18th June with guest speaker Simon Powell, CEO of Eysys. For further information and booking details, please contact susannah@petersenspr.com or phone 02920 549597.

While we all benefit from living in a digital age, the concern being raised in the report ‘Acting today for An Active Tomorrow” by the Sport Advising Group is quite alarming and its recommendations must be adopted.

We read in today’s Western Mail that not only is action required to make sport relevant to all age groups, especially the young, but also that Wales has the highest proportion of obese children in the UK. This fact from the Millennium Cohort Study, together with statistics showing a rise in the number of children between the ages of 7 and 11 who are overweight!

As Rachael Misstear states in her column, the ‘obesity epidemic’ has huge implications for Wales, and Public Health Wales states that ‘tackling childhood obesity’ is a priority area for them.

Healthy-FoodsWe have all been aware for some time that there is a problem in Wales and it is getting more serious by the day. I know that there are already a number of excellent programmes already in place which are run by the governing bodies of various Welsh sports with help from Sport Wales and local authorities, but this does not seem to be enough. Perhaps we really do need a national campaign, directed and possibly funded by the Welsh Government and the private sector to encourage us all, no matter what age or social class, to start taking our health and well-being as a priority in our daily lives?

Active sport is not for everyone but sensitive eating, modest exercise, and outdoor activity can have huge benefits. If nothing is done, our society could collapse under the potential ‘obese epidemic’. We must act now.

nato_wales_summit_square_logoAs we prepare to welcome the 60 plus world leaders and their advisers to this vitally important conference, as citizens of Cardiff and Wales we must embrace the event wholeheartedly.

While the disruption to daily life in Cardiff over recent days and into the next week has been huge and will no doubt get worse, the long term benefits to Cardiff and the Capital Region will be immense. Just imagine the costs to buy advertising across the world to promote Cardiff and Wales to millions across the globe. Without doubt, this will give the area huge worldwide profile and the long term benefits will far outweigh the considerable costs to host the event, and the traffic disruption involved.

NATO 1Let’s hope that our leaders show vision and leadership on the significant global issues we face and come out with some solutions and actions to end conflict and starvation throughout the world.

If real policies and positive action result from next week’s debate, would it not be wonderful for the history books to state that the Wales NATO conference of 2014 really did see the dawn of a new, better world. Wishful thinking maybe, but as Steve Jobs famously said: “Everyone here now has the sense that right now is one of those moments when we are influencing the future.” Let’s hope the world leaders really do take this to heart and deliver some meaningful resolutions next week.

cliff

Cliff Morgan, who passed away yesterday aged 83.

I felt that I could not let the passing of Cliff Morgan go without a personal comment. I was privileged to meet Cliff on a few occasions in the company of my father, another Welshman who has been given that wonderful accolade of “legend”. There were great similarities between the two men: they were both modest, caring, and passionate about their sport, about Wales, its people and its culture.

May I along with the many, many others pass on my respects to Cliff’s family and friends and say farewell to another true gentleman of Wales.

FrackingI totally agree with the comment piece in today’s South Wales Echo.  Our nation is becoming desperate for alternative, cheaper forms of energy.  Coal and oil reserves are diminishing in the UK and alternative forms of energy production i.e. nuclear, wind and tidal all have their pros and cons.

With the USA now exporting gas from fracking rather than importing it, we must urgently examine the environmental impact of fracking for if it is found to be safe and economically viable to obtain energy through this method of drilling, it must be allowed.

As with coal reserves under Wales, which were once significant and helped to grow the Welsh economy, if substantial reserves of shale gas are found, this cheaper form of energy could transform our country and provide thousands of jobs and huge income to the principality.

Let’s thoroughly research it and not dismiss the opportunity through ignorance and negativity, it could secure our future energy needs for generations to come.