Cardiff Council Update: 03 May 2022

Here is the latest update from Cardiff Council, covering: meet Nakeisha Sheppard, our first Play Officer Trainee; Mark West reflects on 50 his years in the Parks Department; and coronavirus in numbers.


Nakeisha finds that working for Cardiff Council can be child's play

Nakeisha Sheppard is certainly someone who enjoys her work but then, as Cardiff Council's first Play Officer Trainee that's hardly a surprise.

Taken on in November last year, she spends much of her day helping children across the city enjoy a wide range of play activities, sports and pastimes, but she's also gaining valuable skills herself through training courses and hands-on experience.

Over the next two years, the plan is for Nakeisha to qualify as a Play Officer and go on to take on more responsibility within the council's play team.

"This is the ideal job for me," she said. "I've always wanted to work with children and I took my degree in psychology at Cardiff Met University with this kind of work in mind.

"When I graduated in 2019 I went to work at a privately-run play centre near my home in Canton but then Covid struck and, although I was furloughed, everything changed.

"I wanted to get back to work and found a role through an agency as a Teaching Assistant at Ninian Park School in Grangetown but you were only paid for the work you did in term time. So when I heard about this job I went for it and was delighted when I got it."

Since she started with the council, Nakeisha has had a lot of training designed to take her up to a Level III qualification in Playwork. "I've already done the first part of my Level II and have had training in first aid, safeguarding and ‘loose parts' play activities - helping children to play using everyday objects, rather than toys.

"I will also get experience of working in the office and the administrative side of things when everyone returns to work in the office, rather than working from home."

The traineeship, while being the first in the council's Play department, follows on from the success of the scheme in other areas and is a commitment from the council to develop young people in preparation for the workplace.

Read more here:


Mark a real hardy perennial after 50 years tending Cardiff's parks

There was a time when we all hoped to be in a job for life but how many can claim today to have worked for the same employer - doing more or less the same tasks - for the past 50 years?

Step forward Mark West, alias ‘Westy', who has just celebrated 50 years since he began work in Cardiff Council's Parks department.

Now a still youthful and active 65, he might have eased off a little since he was an impressionable 15-year-old trainee gardener but despite now working just two and a half days a week as works supervisor, he still spends the vast majority of his time cultivating Cardiff's impressive range of parks and gardens.

"I think I'm outside for perhaps 90% of the time," said Mark, breaking off from tending to the borders at Bute Park. "And that's much how I prefer it. I've loved this job from the day I started on £7 a week and I still love it just as much now."

Things could have been so different, however. After leaving school in Caerphilly, his father found him a job at the Royal Ordnance Factory in Cardiff where he worked, for £18 a week, but young Mark preferred sunflowers to gunpowder and chose to work in the Parks department's site in Llanishen, just down the road, instead.

"We grew shrubs and other plants for the whole of Cardiff's parks and gardens there," said Mark, "and it was a holding place for council equipment, too. I was there for two years and then moved to Wedal Road... and I'm still based here."

He worked his way up to become the head gardener in Bute Park but 25 years ago the role of supervisor became vacant and he was promoted. His remit now still includes this spectacular landscape in the heart of Cardiff but also takes in Gorsedd Gardens, Cathays Park, the Civic Centre and others.

In 50 years he's seen innumerable changes but the workload hasn't eased - this Spring he will still have 40,000 bedding plants to bed in across the estate to ensure the green heart of Cardiff is as spectacular as always.

Read more here:


Coronavirus in numbers

Cardiff & Vale University Health Board Vaccination Status Update

Vaccination totals for Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan:


Cardiff Cases and Tests - 7 Days Data (22 April 2022 - 28 April 2022)

Based on latest figures from Public Health Wales:!/vizhome/RapidCOVID-19virology-Public/Headlinesummary


Data correct as of:

29 April 2022


Cases: 123

Cases per 100,000 population: 33.5 (Wales: 27.2 cases per 100,000 population)

Testing episodes: 797

Testing per 100,000 population: 217.2

Positive proportion: 18.3% (Wales: 11.5% positive proportion)