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Picture perfect: High Street Hero making an art of community spirit

This press release was published under the 2011 - 2016 Welsh government

Beth Giles, the owner of Giles Gallery in Pontyclun, has been named Wales’ High Street Hero.
Monday 21 September 2015

The 31 year old artist scooped the top spot  in the prestigious new awards scheme, which was established by Communities Minister, Lesley Griffiths, to celebrate the retailers, services and individuals who help to make Wales’ diverse local high streets great. The High Street Heroes Awards help recognise the vital contribution busy high streets and town centres make to the Welsh economy and community life.

The community gallery exhibits, promotes and sells the work of independent artists from across South Wales. Now celebrating her eighth year in business, Beth, who has a degree in illustration, helps nearly 100 people a week achieve their artistic potential through regular art classes and workshops at the gallery in Pontyclun, Rhondda Cynon Taf.

Those who nominated Beth spoke of the huge contribution she makes to community life, supporting local people to become creative and helping artists develop their careers.

Beth Giles said:

“I feel incredibly honoured to have won the High Street Hero award. I live and breathe my job and am passionate about giving something back to the community, so to be recognised for that means the world to me.  I hope that the gallery continues to bring people into the village and gives them a reason to stay and enjoy everything Pontyclun has to offer.”

The announcement comes during High Street Week, the highlight of the Welsh Government’s ‘Support Your High Street’ campaign, which encourages people to make use of the excellent shops and businesses available on their doorstep. Events and fun family activities are taking place across Wales this week, such as food and craft fairs, children’s activities, vintage days and street parties.

Communities Minister, Lesley Griffiths, visited the gallery to congratulate Beth on her success. She said:

“When I established these awards, I wanted to find people who are the beating heart of their communities – those who not only provide excellent services and products, but who are an integral part of community life.

“Beth is all this and more! She has converted the old chapel into a lovely gallery which is valued and well-used by the local community. I congratulate Beth on this excellent achievement and hope the business continues to go from strength to strength.

“It is also important to acknowledge the hard work and commitment of the other High Street Heroes finalists - Hal Holmes-Pierce, elevate your sole, Prestatyn and Mark Young, Denbigh Chocolate Shop, Denbighshire. I am told the panel of judges had an extremely difficult task determining the winner and all the finalists should be very proud of their achievements.”

The Minister also announced the winners of the High Street Favourites categories:

  • Food and Drink - Gwyn Davies Butchers, Llangollen, Denbighshire
  • Fashion, health and beauty - Pout Boutique, Porth, Rhondda Cynon Taf
  • Leisure, home and garden - Pieces for Places, Barmouth, Gwynedd
  • Professional and financial services - HighStreet Media, Treorchy, Rhondda Cynon Taf
  • Eating out on the high street - Denbigh Chocolate Shop, Denbigh, Denbighshire
  • Community service provider - Artie Craftie, Blaenavon, Torfaen

During a visit to Gwyn Davies Butchers, in Llangollen, winner of the Food and Drink category, Lesley Griffiths said:

"It should be a source of great pride to all of the winners of the High Street Favourites categories to have been celebrated in this way by local people. These businesses provide vital services and great produce, as well as valuable places for family and friends to come together to socialise.

“It is great to be here to meet the winner of the Food and Drink category, Gwyn Davies. The members of the public who nominated Gwyn praised the friendly and personal service they receive at his family business as well as his dedicated community work. Congratulations on your well-deserved award!”



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Housing and Regeneration 21 September 2015 Mid Wales North Wales South East Wales South West Wales

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