Meet The Team
Born and bred in Cefneithin, Carmarthenshire, Richard started his professional career in theatre and television production before a 16-year stint in local government working across leisure, culture, social care and wellbeing services. He became Chief Executive of Awen Cultural Trust in 2015.
Responsible to the Board of Trustees, Richard is committed to ensuring Awen is, and keeps on being , an organisation that has a real and sustainable impact on people’s lives and the wellbeing of communities.
A married dad of two, Richard now lives in Cardiff but remains a passionate west Walian and is a season ticket holder at the Scarlets.
Director of Business Development
Ceri has worked in theatre management, marketing and development for the past 25 years.
Her current role includes oversight of Awen’s trading operations as well cross-cutting responsibilities for strategic business development throughout all areas of the organisation. Ceri lives in Porthcawl with her family and in her spare time enjoys going to the theatre and spending as much time as possible at the beach.
Director of Operations
& Community Services
Originally from Yorkshire, Richard studied librarianship and Welsh
history at Aberystwyth University before moving to Bridgend to
start his career in libraries.
Richard’s role at Awen includes strategic oversight of libraries,
Bryngarw Country Park and our training programmes for adults with
learning disabilities, as well as Awen-wide responsibilities for health
and safety, facilities management, and insurance. Married with a
young daughter, in his spare time Richard enjoys live music, hillwalking
and learning Welsh.
Originally from Blaina, Steve is the entrepreneur behind a number of successful companies including the UK’s first recruitment agency to offer video job adverts, the creative communications consultancy Small Joys and most recently doopoll, the online real-time survey platform, which was acquired by QuestionPro in February 2023.
Steve’s role at Awen is to lead on our commercial endeavours, by identifying and activating new revenue streams as well as optimising operations to ensure Awen runs as efficiently as possible. Steve’s work will support the sustainability of Awen and its ability to impact positively on the lives of people and communities of South Wales.
A proud Welshman and fluent Welsh speaker, Steve splits his time between Cardiff and Cornwall with his three children and girlfriend. In his spare time he enjoys getting lost; in the pages of a book, on a long walk, watching a film, with new technology or his own reveries.
Head of People
Helen joined Awen in 2015 after 24 years of working in local
government, first at Cardiff City Council then Bridgend County
Borough Council from 2011, where she discovered her interest
and passion for human resources. Helen has been a Chartered
Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) since 2009.
Helen enjoys taking her dog Murphy for walks and loves travelling .
Brought up in Nantymoel, Helen now lives in Coity.
Head of Finance
Maria joined Awen Cultural Trust as Head of Finance in 2018. A qualified management accountant, Maria has worked in finance for over 20 years, from large commercial organisations including PepsiCo and Vodafone UK, and other charities including Wales Millennium Centre. In 2019, Maria won highly commended Young Director of the Year at the Welsh Finance Awards.
Maria studied French and Spanish at university, and lived in Madrid during 2001. Her love of learning new things continued after her CIMA qualification and she gained her ILM level 5 in 2020.
Maria has two young children and lives near Cardiff. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, swimming, paddle boarding and cycling. Holidays are an important part of her life – her favourite being the Maldives, and wants to take her children all over the world.
Board of Trustees
Ava Plowright (Chair)
Ava Plowright is an experienced fundraiser and event manager, currently Fundraising Manager at Shelter Cymru, the housing and homelessness charity in Wales. Ava previously worked within the development team at Wales Mill ennium Centre, across all fundraising disciplines. An MA Arts Management Graduate from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Ava joined the Board at Awen following completion of the Chwarae Teg ‘Step to Non Ex ec’ programme.
Alan is the Chair of Awen Cultural Trust. Alan has previously worked for both Welsh and local government. In his own time he is involved with a number of third sector or ganisations throughout the area as well as being an active school governor.
Paul lives just outside the Bridgend boundary in the village of Colwinston and is a retired housing association Chief Executive. As a volunteer, he has been involved with a number of voluntary organisations over the years as well as helping to run his local community cinema.
Will is a qualified engineer and accredited business consultant and in his spare time enjoys running and learning Welsh. He lives in Aberkenfig with his young family and makes regular use of our cultural facilities, particularly Aberkenfig library and Bryngarw Country Park.
Margaret lives in Kenfig Hill and spent most of her working life in academic and public libraries before retiring in 2013 from her role as the Principal Librarian for Bridgend. She is an active volunteer in her local community and in her sp are time enjoys singing with a number of local choirs.
Liz is a qualified accountant with over 30 years practicing experience. Currently the Finance and Ops Strateg ic Lead for Chwarae Teg, Liz has spent a considerable amount of time in both the private and not for pro fit sector. Having enjoyed many afternoons at Bryngarw Country Park, Liz is passionate about helping with the development of the trust, along side spending time with her family and two furry Springer Spaniels during her spare time!
Pencoed-based Stuart has 25 years’ experience in the financial sector, specialising in risk, compliance and governance. In his spare time, the married dad of two is a trustee and Treasurer for both the Open Spaces Society, Britain’s oldest conservation charity and The Wildlife Trust for South & West Wales. Stuart also volunteers with the South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre. A passion for the outdoors, nature, biodiversity and conservation, Stuart enjoys taking short camping trips and fishing with his son.
Lisa has 25 years’ experience across a range of sectors including multinational engineering and electronics, retail and consumer finance, MOD, natural resources, and food and drink. Lisa is currently a Regional Manager at Business in Focus where she delivers the Business Wales advisory support service for Welsh Government. Lisa has been instrumental in implementing change and transformation across several global organisations resulting in improved process and systems, increase in revenue streams and has led numerous multi-million pound cost savings strategies.
Carmarthenshire-based Noel specialises in cards and accepting payments for large, national organisations in the charity and higher education sectors. Prior to this, he worked as an Associate Banker who supported mid-sized organisations in South Wales. In his spare time, Noel, who has a young daughter, is a member of a male voice choir and is passionate about the benefits that arts and culture can bring to local communities. He is also interested in preserving historic buildings of significances and finding new ways to use them in the twenty-first century.