x = independently organized TED event

Theme: The Heart of the Community

This event occurred on
November 19, 2023
Nantymoel, Bridgend
United Kingdom

"Community is not a place, a building, or an organization; nor is it an exchange of information over the Internet. Community is both a feeling and a set of relationships among people. People form and maintain communities to meet common needs.

Members of a community have a sense of trust, belonging, safety, and caring for each other. They have an individual and collective sense that they can, as part of that community, influence their environments and each other."

Chavis, D. and Lee, K. (2015) What is Community Anyway? Stanford Social Innovaton Review

Everyone and everything is part of a number of overlapping and intersecting communities. Social groups, family units, organisations and geographical locations. What makes a community? What lies at the heart of our communities? This event will invite attendees and speakers to reflect on this complex and fascinating theme.

Event photos:

The Mem Community Centre
Waun Wen Terrace
Nantymoel, Bridgend, CF32 7NB
United Kingdom
Event type:
Standard (What is this?)
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Amanda Powell

Writer and Journalist
Award-winning writer Amanda Powell ( has a long career as a journalist and editor. Originally from a coalmining family in the Rhymney Valley, she became a graduate trainee at what was then Thomson Regional Newspapers and began her career as a junior reporter at the Glamorgan Gazette in the early 1980s. It was here she met her photographer husband Richard Williams where they covered events of the 1984-85 Miners’ Strike together in the valleys around Bridgend. Amanda then moved to the South Wales Argus in Newport and after that took up senior roles as a journalist, producer and editor at the BBC with 30 years in the news, sport and factual TV departments in Wales. In recent years, Amanda returned to her roots in print as a feature writer for the Western Mail Saturday Magazine and has also co-authored a book of her husband’s photographs called "Coal and Community in Wales: Including Images of the Miners’ Strike" published by Y Lolfa in Spring 2024.

Cerys Keneally

Children's Activity Industry Expert
Cerys Keneally ( is an accomplished figure in the children's activity industry, having won multiple awards for her authenticity and impact. With a rich background spanning two decades, Cerys transitioned from a dedicated primary school teacher to a source of guidance and inspiration for fellow activity providers. From her early roots as an educator, Cerys branched out to establish her own children's dance business. Drawing on her experience in Activities, Coaching, and Education, Cerys found her calling in assisting children's activity providers to thrive through collaborations with schools and nurseries. Cerys masterminded the "Approaching Schools Challenge," where she shares her proven strategies with thousands of business owners each year. Additionally, she regularly consults with many of the leading franchised brands within the industry. Central to her contributions is the "Approaching Schools Academy," a pioneering, CPD accredited programme.

Corin Morgan-Armstrong

Head of ‘Invisible Walls’ Family Services
Corin has worked within the field of rehabilitation for the last 26 years, starting as a prison officer at HMP Parc in 1997. During the last 16 years, Corin (( has created a model that has at its heart the engagement of people in prison with their children and families, for the purposes of rehabilitation and re-building community inclusion. Corin set up the Family Interventions Unit in 2010 and an Interventions Led Visits model at G4S managed HMP Parc. Corin designed the Invisible Walls Wales family mentoring service, initially lottery funded in 2012 and currently evolving into a Community Interest Company. In 2015, Corin's team achieved the Investors In Families charter mark, normally the reserve of schools. Parc was the first prison in the EU to hold this award. In 2016 the HM Inspection report on HMP Parc stated the family model at Parc was ‘innovative and radical, and probably the best they had seen in any prison.’

Daniel Lock

Landscape, Culture & Identity Convenor
Daniel ( is an ecologist, poet and conservationist, and currently the Landscape, Culture and Identity Convenor for the Valleys Regional Park. Over the last 2 decades, Daniel has been dedicated to telling the story of our natural landscapes, helping people reconnect with that heritage. During his early career as a Ranger, Daniel led local conservation efforts as well as local community volunteer and education programmes. He has since designed landscape-scale interpretation schemes, & as a poet has been commissioned to produce original poems interpreting the cultural & natural heritage of various locations. As a founder and director of Spectrum Ecology, Daniel provides ecological consultancy services across Wales, including to the film industry for clients including Disney, HBO, Sky and the BBC. He is a founder and director of Cymbrogi CIC, a community interest company dedicated to building personal and community resilience.

Esther Thompson

Café Owner
Esther Thompson, the middle of 7 children, born to two language teachers. She studied and taught languages abroad and in Manchester (for 30 years) and her career might have continued in this unremarkable vein if her youngest son hadn’t been diagnosed with autism, Tourette’s and ADHD at the age of 3. To say that her neat, ordered life completely fell apart is an understatement. Little did her husband and her know back then in 1999 that their lives would be taken over, governed and shaped by this. Just 13 years later, their eldest son suddenly became very seriously unwell mentally and, within weeks of initial symptoms, was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. In the years that followed they dedicated their lives to helping their sons reach their potential. Faced with the prospect of a lifetime’s unemployment , they bought The Brothers’ Cafe in Nantymoel where their sons now work. Esther’s lifelong passion has involved reaching and including excluded and marginalised people in society.

Kate Wood

Community Arts Practitioner
Kate Wood is a Community Arts Practitioner who set up The Craft Junction in Bridgend in 2018 after teaching Design and Technology for 18 years both in the UK and abroad. She is currently studying an MA Arts Practice (Arts for Health and Wellbeing) at The University of South Wales. As part of her studies she has been working with a group of autistic females, who are not in education or employment, to find out if engagement in creative activities can improve self-esteem, wellbeing, social isolation and anxiety. Kate has recently registered a CIC called Art and Soul which will be a Community Art and Wellbeing Cafe to support all ages of people, who struggle with mental health and wellbeing, social isolation or have additional learning needs, by taking part in a variety of creative activities. She has big plans for her project and is determined to help improve the lives of as many people as she can, through Art.

Martin Griffiths

Martin Griffiths is an enthusiastic science communicator, writer and professional astronomer. He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He is also a member of other organisations including the Astrobiology Society of Britain; the Webb Deep-Sky Society and the Society for Popular Astronomy. Martin is a recipient of the Astronomical League’s (2020) Dark Sky Advocate Award, The MENSA Art and Science Participation Medal (2017) the Astrobiology Society of Britain’s Public Outreach Award (2008) and the Astronomical League’s Outreach Master Award (2010). He has written or contributed to over 100 science articles, and is the author of six books. Martin was one of the founder members of NASA’s Astrobiology Institute Science Communication Group and also managed a multi-million pound European programme in Astrobiology for adult learners across Wales. He is Director of the Brecon Beacons Observatory and a science presenter for Dark Sky Wales.

Paul Stepczak

Community Development Practitioner
Paul ( has been a community development practitioner for over 20 years. Within that time, he has worked at a local level for the Welsh Government’s “Communities First” project in Rhondda Cynon Taf, and the People’s Health Trust’s “Local Conversation” project in the Afan Valley. Paul was also the Project Manager for Oxfam Cymru’s “Sustainable Livelihoods” project across Wales and a freelance consultant to public services, specialising in community engagement. For the past six years, Paul has worked for Cwmpas, formerly known as the Wales Cooperative Centre. As a Business Growth Consultant, he continues to support communities and public services work more cooperatively by advocating a culture that involves better use of digital, enterprise and innovation to find fresh ideas for social change. As part of this role, Paul delivers 'Start Something Good®', a programme that brings people together to develop fresh ideas for social change.

Rob Jones

Education Behaviour Specialist
Rob Jones ( is an Education Behaviour Specialist who runs DASH Mental Health, Wellbeing & Behaviour Support and Education CIC. He previously worked as a teacher for 13 years, across schools and colleges in Wales and England, within a variety of departments, delivering and supporting literacy and numeracy. Rob also worked for three years at a prison teaching literacy, numeracy, and music. After working as a teacher with students experiencing behavioural, emotional and social difficuties (BESD), Rob set up his CIC. Within his role, Rob provides specialist psychoeducation and wellbeing support to children and young people who are struggling with school, supporting children, young people and their family with barriers to accessing education through assessments and bespoke support plans. This includes working with the child/young person, their family, and school to create a nurturing and safe support network.

Organizing team


Nantymoel, United Kingdom
  • Justine Scott-Gray
    Team member