First Give Awards 2018 – MACS Win ‘Alumni of the Year’ & MACS Nominated ‘School of the Year’

On September 27th MACS pupils and staff attended the prestigious First Give Awards 2018 which was held in the Senedd in Cardiff bay. The MACS First Give 2018 winning team consisting of Kia Kinsey, Kia Stephens, Mollie Phillips and Hannah Hayman (representing MENCAP Cymru) and Nicole Walker  (MACS First Give 2017 winner) were accompanied by Mr. Mead (Deputy Headteacher), Mrs. Mackie (Assistant Headteacher), Mr. Dowden (Assistant Headteacher), Mr. Church (Head of Religious Studies Department/First Give Coordinator) and Brad Williams (former pupil and budding journalist).

MACS Pupils and staff with Vikki Howells AM at the Senedd, Cardiff bay!


Over one hundred and seventy schools in England and Wales undertake the First Give programme with pupils. The program involves an entire cohort investigating social issues that affect their local community. The pupils then research/interview a charity that seeks to address these problems. The pupils actively fundraise for their ‘chosen charity’ and create a presentation about their charity for a class competition. The winning team from each class then progress to a school final where the pupils have the chance to win a First Give grant of £1000 for their charity.

On a beautiful sunny afternoon, after a ride on a carousel and a coffee shop visit, the MACS party made their way to the Senedd. Vikki Howells AM for the Cynon Valley (who judged the MACS 2017 First Give final) welcomed the pupils, teachers, dignataries, politicians and trustess from across England and Wales. MACS was honoured to be nominated for the ‘School of the Year’ award and our Y9 pupils efforts in raising a phenomenal £4,163 for ten local charities was highlighted in the official programme for the evening.

A beautiful day for the First Give awards at the Senedd, Cardiff bay!

The final award of the night, the ‘Alumni of the Year’ award was won by our pupil Nicole Walker (Y11). We are very proud of her incredible achievement! Nicole also becomes the first ever Welsh recipient of this prestigious award! Nicole was a previous MACS First Give £1000 winner in 2017. She had been a true ambassador during the programme in the Religious Studies department this year, helping to mentor her peers and ensuring that they got the most out of the programme. She has also recently returned from Rajasthan, India where she spent two and a half weeks helping to build a school, as a winner of the ‘Virgin Atlantic – Be the Change Scholarship’ programme.

Nicole Walker’s award for ‘Alumni of the Year’

After the awards ceremony came to a close, our pupils were invited to take part in a ‘Soapbox Challenge’ where they had thirty seconds to give a ‘pitch’ for their charity MENCAP CYMRU to try and win a further £250 for them along with a £50 Nandos voucher for themselves. They were very professional and impressive. We have our fingers crossed for you, when the winners will be revealed in late November!

Kia Kinsey, Kia Stephens, Mollie Phillips and Hannah Hayman undertaking the ‘Soapbox Challenge’

We were honoured to have a former MACS pupil, Brad Williams accompany us on the evening and document our journey from the classroom to the awards ceremony for his ‘Brad’s Blog: Cynon Valley News’. He has reached an incredible 30,000 people via Facebook! The film is currently being edited and the link will be posted here when it is available. A huge thank you Brad and we wish you all the very best with your future journalism career! Watch out Mr. Huw Edwards of the BBC!

‘MACS First Give Awards 2018’ documentary maker, Brad Williams!


Reflecting upon their experience of undertaking the First Give programme, our pupils commented:

“My First Give experience as a whole was amazing! It has given me valuable life skills such as public speaking and time management while helping me visualize what life is like for other people who are less fortunate than myself. The First Give awards evening was so rewarding. I found it inspirational to be in a room surrounded by so many young opeople who had achieved great things in their communities. We were and still are very grateful to be nominated for the ‘School of the Year’ award. I would like to say thank you to all the people that helped and supported us from the start; Mr. Church, Leon Ward from First Give, Laura Bruce from MENCAP Cymru and of course my wonderful team mates, Hannah, Mollie, Delyth and Kia.”

- Kia Kinsey (Year 10)

“My First Give awards experience was amazing! It was so unbelievable to win the ‘Alumni of the Year’ award! I would never have imagined that I would have been able to have had such an impact on other people. It was such an inspiring event. I met such amazing people and I hope that I can carry on making an impact with the Y9 pupils again this year in MACS, when they take part in the First Give programme in the summer term. I would like to say thank you to Mr. Church for nominating me for this award and thank you to Mr. Dowden for being my chauffeur! ”

 - Nicole Walker (Year 11)

The First Give 2018 ‘Celebration and Achievement’ display board @MACS_RS Department. An incredible £4,163 raised for ten local charities by MACS pupils! £5,409 awarded in total!

MACS Nomination in the ‘School of the Year’ award category