Neath Citizenship Awards 2019

Ben O'Loughlin

Ben put in a tremendous effort in to encouraging Poundland shoppers, to make donations to the Neath Town Council Mayoress Egg Appeal.


I initially met Ben in 2018 when he helped us with our first Easter Egg Appeal, which was arranged in conjunction with Neath Inspired. Ben was very keen to help and I made sure that he was given a vote of thanks in all my public Social Media posts.


In 2019 we decided to launch an Easter Egg Appeal again, but this time NTC were soul organisers. Once again, Ben was very keen to help with the appeal but this time his support saw an unprecedented amount of eggs being donated by Poundland, with over 2000 eggs coming in from them alone.


This went such a long way to providing the under privileged children of Neath with an Easter Eggs and lots of chocolate goodies. We were also able to donate a very significant amount of eggs to Neath Food Bank and several other local charities.


It gives me great pleasure in submitting Ben O’Loughlin for our 2019 Citizenship Award!
Mayor with Ben O'Loughlin
Ben O'Loughlin

Jim Harle

Mayor with Jim Harle

Jim Harle


Jim’s contribution to the community of Neath through his voluntary work is truly outstanding.


Continuously involved in fundraising activities he has organised events to raise money for the Tsunami appeal, Macmillan, School Fetes and Fairtrade activities. As well as fundraising activities, he also gives various talks and presentations on these matters.


He volunteers as a 1 to 1 support in a local school.


His love of WW1 history has led him to create various events to raise public awareness of the sacrifice made by past Neath residents.


In 2014 he organised a WW1 walk and event at the Laurels and Neath Methodist Church.


In 2018 he created a Great War Poppy Trail for which he researched and made a record of those Neath residents who made the ultimate sacrifice and died during that awful conflict. From that he created a trail showing where these brave soldiers lived before they were called away to war. Neath Town Council were proud to sponsor him in this event and copies of the pamphlet produced are available on your table. Many of you may remember the launch of this project at Victoria Gardens in October last year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of this terrible conflict.


That project actually led to this council receiving a National Award.


Not satisfied with that Jim also tours schools giving talks on this matter.
Jim is also a keen conservationist and helps organise litter clean-ups in the area, including Neath Canal footpaths and especially Aberavon beach.


He is also involved in the support of the homeless and rough sleepers, those who have become drug dependant and are in personal crisis. He is also prepared to support those with mental health problems encouraging open conversation and addressing the issue of suicide.


The nominee Salaheddine can truly be described as a young achiever. 


He first arrived in this country as a refugee in 2016. He spoke very little English having only learnt the basics. He realised that to achieve any success in life he needed to ensure he received an education.


He enrolled at Llangatwg Community Comprehensive School joining it at year 6. Through hard work and determination he improved his command of the English language, gaining the respect and admiration of the staff and his fellow pupils. During his time at the school he won many awards ranging from Learner of the Week, Pupil Support Centre Mentor and the prestigious award of Reach for the Stars. He also received an award sponsored by the Neath Rotarians. Not to mention the ‘Biggest Smile Award’ and the 2019 Prom award ‘School Hunk’ .


Educationally he has passed both his GCSE and A level Arabic receiving an A* in both and at the time of preparing this nomination form is awaiting the results of GCSE in Maths, Numeracy, Additional Maths, Statistics, Triple Science, IT and French. He then intends to continue his A level studies at Gower College and I have no doubt he will succeed in his ambition to become a Doctor.


Not only as Salaheddine worked hard to improve his own chances in life, but he has used the education he has received to help others in Neath’s refugee community. He translates Workplace and Health and Safety Training Manuals from English into Arabic allowing fellow refugees to gain skills and qualifications to find work and to integrate into our local community. He also helps in translating and completing documentation to enable benefits and housing to be accessed.


One refugee and his family found themselves subjected to racial hate crimes. He assisted them by liaising with the police and other authorities, resulting in them being safely rehoused in the Mount Pleasant area of Neath.


I think it is right and proper that he be nominated for this award.

Mayor with Salaheddine