Helping Hands awards: Shine Cymru

Published: October 22 2021
Last updated: September 28 2022

Shine Cymru is a centre for young adults in Llansamlet, near Swansea.

Their dedicated team support people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), learning difficulties and disabilities. Liz Evans nominated them for a Helping Hands award for all they do to help her son David.

“David is 24 and has Lennox Gastaut syndrome. He has many different types of seizures which make him tired and affect his memory. David also has mild learning difficulties. There are three things that David loves. His dog Poppy, who is always by his side. He is mad about watching wrestling events with his dad. And thirdly, Shine, which he thinks of as his second family. David has been going 3 days a week for 3 years. Shine is run by the wonderful Gavin and Hayley and their brilliant staff. Nothing is too much trouble for any of them. When David had a bad night with his epilepsy and he is too tired the next day, they will let us switch the day at the last minute so he doesn’t miss out. If he has a seizure, they know what to do.

Shine is such a happy place. Before Covid, they would go out and about, so when lockdown happened, David’s dad and I were worried how this would affect him. But their daily Zoom meetings were a lifeline and David could still have fun and feel supported. I honestly don’t know what we would have done without them.

The Shine team always have things going on. David loves that they have all the latest technology and he has made friends there. He’s even learning sign language. They are getting everyone to dress up for Halloween, including the staff, and organising a trip to a panto as a Christmas gift. To see the smile on David’s face when we get to Shine is wonderful. When he goes to the centre, I know he is safe, happy and well looked after. Thank you to everyone there for everything you do and for helping to keep our boy smiling.”

Accepting the award, Shine managers Hayley Evans and Gavin Singleton, said: “We are absolutely thrilled that David and his family nominated the staff at Shine Cymru for this award. David is such a pleasure to have with us. We understand the impact epilepsy has, and continues to have, on him and his family. We think that the way he approaches life with such enthusiasm is inspirational.”