Cardiff Council Update: 27 October 2023

Here is your Friday update, covering:

  • Global recognition for Cardiff - city crowned UK's first ever UNICEF Child Friendly City
  • Repairing and refurbishing St David's Hall - venue to remain closed for work to remove RAAC in the roof
  • Cardiff's growing urban forest - plans to plant 30,000 trees over the next six months
  • Open water swimming - new lifeguarded sessions starting next week at Cardiff International White Water


Global recognition for Cardiff, as city is crowned UK's first ever UNICEF Child Friendly City

Today, Cardiff Council can proudly announce the city has been officially declared a UNICEF Child Friendly City - the first of its kind in the UK.

The prestigious and internationally-acknowledged status has been awarded to Cardiff in recognition of the steps the council and its partners have taken over the past five years to advance the human rights of children and young people across the city.

Cardiff Council and its partners joined the UK Committee for UNICEF's (UNICEF UK) Child Friendly Cities & Communities programme in 2017 as part of a pioneering cohort. Since then, it has been implementing strategies to embed children's rights - as outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child - into its policies and services.

Working with the city's children and young people, Cardiff has prioritised six key areas: Cooperation and Leadership; Communication; Culture; Healthy; Family and Belonging; and Education and Learning.

These priorities and goals have been enshrined in Cardiff's Child Friendly Strategy since 2018. Working in partnership with organisations across the city, a significant number of projects, initiatives and actions have been undertaken to ensure that children and young people are able to claim their rights, thrive and reach their potential, whilst addressing the barriers which may limit their life chances. 

Cardiff Council Leader, Cllr Huw Thomas said: "Since the launch of Cardiff's Child Friendly Strategy, the city has embarked on a journey of transformation with the aim that all children, including the most vulnerable, feel safe, heard, nurtured and able to thrive, to become a place where their rights are respected by all.

"Through the shared ambition of other public services, extensive work has been carried out to ensure that Cardiff is a place where all children and young people, regardless of belief, ethnicity, background or wealth are safe, healthy, happy and able to share in the city's success with equal opportunity to make the most of their lives and talents.

"The foundation of this change has been the development of a rights respecting culture across the council and city-wide partners to ensure our staff are knowledgeable and confident regarding rights and their practice. This has been supported by policy which has empowered children and young people to be meaningfully involved in decisions that matter to them, enabling services to meet their needs and adults to be more accountable for the way children and young people's rights are respected, protected and fulfilled."

Some highlights achieved to date include:

  • 40,000 children and young people have participated in wellbeing programmes including Summer of Fun and Winter of Wellbeing events.
  • 42,254 children and young people have accessed early help and support via the new Family Support Gateway since April 2019.
  • 66,324 children aged 5-14 have accessed local authority play provision since April 2020
  • 73% of Cardiff schools are working to embed children's rights as part of the UNICEF UK Rights Respecting Schools Award.
  • 3,995 children and young people have received participation and rights training.
  • Almost 14,000 active citizenship hours have been delivered by young people through groups including the Children and Young People Citizen Panel, Cardiff Influencers and the Children's Youth Council.
  • 4,807 Council staff members have received rights training.
  • There have been over 700 opportunities available to children and young people to meaningfully participate in Cardiff Council decision-making.
  • 50 teams of children were engaged with to design new areas of the city through Minecraft Education.
  • 2,785 children have participated in design, monitoring and evaluation of Council services.
  • 12,000 young people provided views via the Child Friendly City Survey.
  • More than 155,00 thousand packs of products have been delivered to schools to support Cardiff's commitment to promote period dignity since March 2019.
  • 19 streets helping to reduce traffic at 22 schools have been made safer through the School Streets Scheme.
  • Nine city-wide outdoor Story Trails have been developed for families to enjoy.
  • More than 2861 children have accessed over 90 free extra-curricular activities through The Passport to the City initiative helping them develop a sense of pride in their community and city.
  • 43 partners have delivered hundreds of initiatives for young people in areas such as science and technology, arts and culture and health and wellbeing to enrich their learning experiences within and beyond the classroom.

Read more here


Cardiff Council Accepts Recommendation for St David's Hall to Remain Closed

At a meeting held today, Thursday, October 26, Cardiff Council's Cabinet has accepted a recommendation for St David's Hall to remain closed until the roof is replaced and the building refurbished.

The move comes after a report into ‘potentially dangerous' concrete panels in Cardiff's St David's Hall found that the building's roof needs to be replaced.

The report was commissioned by Cardiff Council following changes to Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advice on Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) in public buildings.

Over the past few months several buildings have closed across the UK due to concerns over RAAC - a building material which the HSE said was now past its intended lifespan and is liable to fail without warning.

RAAC experts have been at St David's Hall for several weeks carrying out ‘intrusive' tests on panels across the span of the building's roof.

Their report noted that a significant number of the 900 plus panels in the roof are ‘red - critical' and others ‘red - high risk' meaning they could fail and collapse. Engineers recommend the venue stays closed either until emergency temporary mitigations are put in place, or the whole roof is replaced.

Read more here


30,000 more trees planned for Cardiff's urban forest

30,000 more trees are expected to be planted in Cardiff's urban forest over the next 6 months as volunteers join community tree planting events taking place across the city.

More than 150 community events will be held during the official tree planting season, which runs from late October through until early April as part of Cardiff Council's mass tree planting programme, Coed Caerdydd. This includes events with schools, community groups, corporate volunteers, and residents.

Established in 2021, Coed Caerdydd has already seen volunteers donate 5,000 hours of their time, helping to plant and care for approximately 50,000 new trees, spread across every single council ward in the city.

Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Events, Cllr Jennifer Burke, said: "Last year we had 1,356 volunteers helping us with planting and if we can match that this year, we could be looking at 80,000 new trees having been planted in just over three years. That's great news for Cardiff and for the planet and I'd really encourage people to sign up for one of our planting events, they're great fun and a great way to make a positive difference.

"As these trees become established, they'll provide important habitats for nature, make our city greener, clean the air we all breathe, and help absorb some of the climate-changing carbon emissions we create."

Read more here


Open water swimming at Cardiff International White Water

Swimmers looking for safe and clean water in Cardiff to enjoy will be able to take the plunge at new open water swimming sessions at Cardiff International White Water from next week.

The lifeguarded sessions will run from 9am - 10am every Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday and cost £6. Suitable for swimmers aged 18 or over, the sessions take place in an area of Cardiff Bay specifically used by the centre for their exciting range of water-based activities, which as well as white water rafting also include paddleboarding, kayaking and canoeing.

Water quality at Cardiff International White Water is monitored and tested on a weekly basis to ensure that it is at the standard required for safe bathing.

Lifeguards will monitor the sessions to ensure that all swimmers in the area are safe.

Wetsuits are recommended but not mandatory.

To book, visit:  Book - Open Water Swimming | eola