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Former St David Award winner urges people to nominate someone special

With just over a month to go until nominations close for next year’s St David Awards, one of last year’s winners has spoken of how the experience has boosted her self-esteem and given her confidence in herself as a role-model for others. 

The St David Awards honour the extraordinary achievements of the people of Wales and last year Yaina Samuels, from Cardiff, won the Citizenship category for her work in supporting others overcome substance misuse.

The St David awards were established to recognise the great deeds and contributions made by people from all walks of life for Wales. The public are asked to nominate the outstanding people, teams or groups they believe are going that extra mile to benefit others and the country in general.

There are nine categories in total, Bravery; Citizenship; Culture; Enterprise; Innovation and Technology; Sport; Young Person; International and the First Minister’s Special Award, chosen by the First Minister himself.

Having beaten her own heroin addiction, Yaina was nominated for an award for her work in founding Nu-Hi Ltd, a social enterprise company providing substance misuse education and training workshops, using the valuable skills, knowledge and experience of former and recovering drug users.

Since winning the award Yaina has been able to further develop her work and fulfil her ambition to travel to Africa and support international development. She also met President Obama after she was invited as a guest of HRH the Prince Wales to a reception at the Celtic Manor during the NATO summit.

Speaking about her experiences since winning the award at a special reception, attended by the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, to promote nominations for next year’s awards and announce the judging panel, Yaina said:

“It was such an honour to receive a St David Award for Citizenship. Winning this award has boosted my confidence and self belief in my true abilities. This is one of the areas that people who have experienced substance misuse, including me, struggle with even 25 years on.

“Overall the award has enabled me to challenge the widely held stigma attached to substance misuse, which says ‘once an addict always an addict’. I am now seen as a recovery role model providing hope for others who are battling addiction - plus I got to meet Obama!”

The First Minister said:

“People like Yaina are the reason why we established awards that celebrate the achievements of the people of Wales. She is just one of the inspiring and talented people honoured at last year’s awards, which were a testament to the talent and generosity we have all across the country.

"I hope that people are inspired by Yaina’s story and reminded of someone special they know that deserves recognition. There is still a month left to nominate someone you feel equally deserves this honour.”

Nominations for a St David Awards must be received by midnight on the 28th October. A judging panel, chaired by Lord Rowe Beddoe and including the chair of Sports Wales, Professor Laura McAllister, the director of the Urdd, Efa Gruffudd Jones and one of last year’s winners, Robin Jones from the Village Bakery in Wrexham, will decide the finalists and eventual winners.

For further information on how to nominate, visitwww.stdavidawards.org.uk

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in March 2015

Channel website: http://gov.wales

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