Top Christmas Reads from Aura Libraries!

Merry Christmas from Aura Libraries!

We have selected 6 festive reads for you to delve into this Christmas: from fiction, to poetry, to festive recipes, there is something for everyone! 

Search any of the below titles on our 24 hour online catalogue, here.

Nadolig, pwy a ŵyr? by Sian Northey, Meg Elis, Jon Gower, Gwen Parrott, Mared Lewis, Mari Elin Jones, Bethan Jones Parry, Menna Medi, Gareth Evans Jones and Ioan Kidd

Hoff Gerddi Nadolig Cymru by Bethan Mair

Christmas Days: 12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days by Jeanette Winterson (to read our review of this title, click here!)

Mr Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva

The Christmas Party by Karen Swan

Finishing with a classic (available bilingually): A Child’s Christmas in Wales / Nadolig Plentyn yng Nghymru by Dylan Thomas.

Aura’s Annual Christmas Charity Spin!

Across Aura, gym members and fitness instructors are coming together to take part in a Christmas Spin to help raise money for charity.

Each Aura Fitness Suite will be hosting a Christmas Spin for a charity close to their heart this December. Mold Fitness Suite will be hosting their charity spin on Saturday 14 December from 9.00am-12.00pm for the Dementia Friends charity group; Deeside Fitness Suite will be hosting theirs from 9.00am-12.00pm on Saturday 21 December for Clatterbridge Hospital, and the Jade Jones Pavilion Flint will be hosting their charity “Swing and Spin” on Saturday 21 December from 10.00am-12.00pm for the British Heart Foundation.

Abigayil Murray, one of our wonderful fitness instructors, expressed her excitement and gratitude to those taking part, saying: “Here at Mold Leisure Centre, we would like to support Dementia Friends because, as an organisation, we are working towards becoming Dementia Friendly and have hosted different events this year – such as Dementia Friendly Swimming sessions – to help support members of the local community living with, or affected by Dementia.

The whole Aura Fitness team are really excited to run these charity events at each of our fitness suites. We would love to help make a difference and raise money for 3 very worthy causes that can support people’s mental and physical well-being.”

Aura would like to thank all those who have been involved so far in the lead up to our charity events. Good luck to everyone taking part!

80 guests enjoy festive party at Deeside Leisure Centre

Here at Deeside Leisure Centre, it really is the most wonderful time of the year as we celebrate with our wonderful Exercise Referral members!

Participants of Aura’s National Exercise Referral Scheme (NERS) attended a Christmas party at Deeside Leisure Centre on 6 December 2019. This is the second Christmas party hosted by Aura colleagues who all got into the Christmas spirit, wearing their best Christmas jumpers.

Guests enjoyed a Christmas dinner followed by an extra special Rock and Roll Bingo – Christmas edition!

Joanne Beevers, Exercise Referral Coordinator for Aura, expressed her enthusiasm about the event, saying: “the Christmas party has been a fantastic success. We are so pleased to see how well attended it has been with 80 guests in comparison to 60 guests last year. It’s wonderful to see the social interaction between everyone and how our fitness classes have brought people together. We would like to thank everyone who attended and wish them a very merry Christmas.”

One guest explained: “it is such a nice thing to do; the fitness service is great and having a Christmas party like this is a lovely way of thanking customers for their support”.

Another said: “what a superb idea to host a Christmas party for us all. Some people suffer from loneliness – especially this time of year – so a Christmas dinner can really go a long way and bring people together.”

Aura’s NERS classes are suitable for beginners or those with health conditions who want to become more active. There are a wide range of classes to choose from and all of them are taught by highly qualified instructors.

For more information about Aura’s Exercise Referral programme, please contact Joanne Beevers on joanne.beevers@aura.wales or 01352 704467.

Success for Afon Spa’s Annual Christmas Pamper Evening

Success for Afon Spa’s Annual Christmas Pamper Evening

Afon Spa was delighted to host its annual Christmas Pamper evening on 28 November 2019. The night was made doubly special with the launch of the spa’s new beauty range: Buddha Beauty.

Yen Leung, Spa and Fitness Officer for Aura Wales, expressed her thanks to all who helped to make the evening a success, saying: “This year’s event proved to be our most successful to date. The night was jam packed with new customers coming to use our spa facilities, whilst exploring our new Buddha Beauty range. The feedback from customers and colleagues was amazing and we are already talking about next year’s event. The whole Afon Spa team would like to thank everyone for their continued support and we are so excited to see what the New Year brings!”

On the evening guests could enjoy complimentary use of the Thermal Suite, nibbles and a glass of prosecco upon arrival (complete with homemade Christmas cake!), an exclusive Christmas prize draw, and relaxing 20 minute spa treatments including a warming back massage and energising facial.

Different products were displayed on the night, including some of the Spa’s in-house aromatherapy products as well as its brand new range of Buddha Beauty products (as seen in the below photographs).  

To view the Spa’s exclusive December offers, click here.

Aura Wales celebrate Flintshire Women of World War I with Community Heritage Day

Aura Wales is celebrating the history of Flintshire women with an exciting Community Heritage Day and Exhibition. The event will be hosted at Mancot Library on Saturday 16th November.

We are celebrating the lives of Flintshire women during World War I with an exhibition entitled “Hidden Voices of WWI”. There is an open invitation for members of the community to join us and share stories of women in their own families during World War I, and to bring any objects or photos.

There will be two talks on the day: one by Sophie Fish, Aura’s Culture and Heritage Manager, as well as Quay Watermen’s Association Heritage Officer, Celia Drew (please see the poster below for further details).

Sarah Pevely, Curator for Aura Wales, expressed her excitement about the event, saying:  “It isn’t often that you hear women’s stories from World War I, so it was our aim to give voices to the local women who risked their lives in the war effort. On the day, we will be focusing on five women from Flintshire”.

Sarah added: “school children helped us with our research and used census data and photographs to do some creative writing. They also did some artwork with a local artist which will be exhibited with a replica munitions worker uniform at the exhibition.”

Gabrielle West, one of the five women to be discussed at the event, documented her experience at the Queensferry munitions factory during World War I as one of the first women police officers. A series of her diaries entitled Menus, Munitions and Keeping the Peace, helped to inform the research for this project and will be on show on the day.

For more information regarding the Community Heritage Day, please contact Sarah Pevely on: 01352 714172, or email: sarah.pevely@flintshire.gov.uk

To learn more about the history of Welsh women during the First and Second World War, take a look at the following book recommendations from Aura Libraries:

  • Hanes Menywod Cymru 1920-60: yn eu geiriau eu hunain by Catrin Stevens
  • Parachutes and petticoats: Welsh women writing on the Second World War edited by Leigh Verrill-Rhys, Deirdre Beddoe
  • Voices from the factory floor: the experiences of women who worked in the manufacturing industries in Wales, 1945-75 by Catrin Steven.

Click here to visit our online catalogue: view these titles and many more!

Halloween book recommendations from Aura Libraries

Happy Halloween from Aura Libraries!

We’ve put together a list of 6 books and short story collections for you to delve into this Halloween.

  • Yn Fflach y Fellten by Geraint V. Jones: a thriller novel with supernatural twists and turns.
  • Y Moch a Straeon Eraill by Dyfed Edwards: a collection of horrifying short stories, each one scarier than the next.
  • The Wish Dog and Other Stories: Haunting tales from Welsh women writers edited by Penny Thomas and Stephanie Tillotson: 12 chilling tales with ghostly themes.
  • The haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson: a terrifying ghost story full of suspense and supernatural happenings.
  • Bird Box by Josh Malerman: a psychological post-apocalyptic novel about a mother risking everything to protect her children.  
  • The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters: a ghostly Gothic novel set in post-war Warwickshire.

Search any of the above titles on our 24 hour online catalogue, here!

Get to know your Aura Librarians!

To finish #LibrariesWeek 2019, we spoke to some of our wonderful Aura librarians about their roles within the libraries and what they enjoy most about being a part of the Aura team.

This year’s theme for Libraries Week has been the role of libraries in the digital world. Click here to discover our online library catalogue, stocked full of reading materials and various e-resources.

Here is what our librarians had to say:

David Grieve:

Hello! I’m David and I run the Mobile Library service for Aura. The Mobile Library runs on a three weekly cycle: two weeks visiting small towns, villages and communities around the county, and a third week visiting schools and a couple of care homes. One of the things I enjoy most about my role is meeting people in the community who really appreciate the service that is offered: people who might not find it so easy to get to a static library and, to a certain extent, rely on the mobile service. It becomes a social activity and I feel that the community aspect is really important. It’s an opportunity for people to get out of the house, even if it’s only a few yards down the road.

One book I’m looking forward to reading is ‘Quichotte’ by Salman Rushdie; I’m a big fan of his works. Right now I’m reading ‘Once Upon a River’ by Diane Setterfield, I would certainly recommend it!

Liz Gilligan:

Hello! I’m Liz, I’m a library assistant based at Flint Library and I love my job! My favourite thing about my role is being a part of a team. Our libraries are not just individual branches, we work as a whole team as Aura Libraries. I love seeing the library grow and enjoy working at different branches. I really enjoy Rhymetime every week and have been able to incorporate Makaton which I am so excited about. I look forward to our “Chat About” monthly sessions at Flint Library where members of the community come to the library and talk about anything and everything. We have wonderful conversations, it’s a great supportive group.

My book recommendation would be ‘Why Mummy Drinks’ by Gill Simms. When I first read it I sat on the sofa and cried laughing. I would also recommend Claire Mackintosh and Paula Daily’s books.

Theo Chaddock:

Hello, I’m Theo, I’m a library assistant at Connah’s Quay Library. As a team, we try our best to create a good atmosphere in the library; everyone is so positive and upbeat. It’s great when people come in and experience that friendly atmosphere – I enjoy being a good part of someone’s day. On a weekly basis I run the “Learn my Way” IT course for beginners. I enjoy seeing people improve after just a few hours using the computer; it becomes such an important new skill for them. Seeing their confidence grow is amazing. The fact that we can offer that service for free is excellent and encourages people to think more positively about the impact of libraries in the community.

I would recommend Karl Pilkington’s travel books for some unique insights on the world.

Thank you to David, Liz and Theo for sharing their thoughts.

To contact your local library or to view the Mobile Library schedule, click here.

Adult Swim Class raises £750 for the British Heart Foundation

An adult swimming class at Buckley Leisure Centre has raised an amazing £750 for the British Heart Foundation. The participants completed a sponsored 1 mile swim on Saturday 31August 2019, with the help of swimming instructors Jim Wallace and Nathan Cain.

Paul Howells, one of the participants, explained: “The more advanced swimmers completed a full mile (64 lengths) with other swimmers completing various distances depending on their own individual ability. Many of the swimmers who took part were unable to swim more than a few strokes 12 months ago, with some unable to swim at all, so this is a massive achievement for us.”

Swimming Instructor Jim Wallace, explained: “The swimming classes are aimed at adults of all ages who either cannot swim at all or would like to improve. Those who attend are fantastic and have progressed so much.”

He also expressed his enthusiasm about the sponsored swim, saying: “It’s their achievement, they’ve pushed themselves and should be very proud. They all set themselves targets and surpassed their goals – I am really proud.”

One participant expressed her gratitude to Jim, saying: “I was petrified and had no confidence, now I’m full of confidence. Everyone is so supportive, from the reception to the instructors.”

Another said: “We all encourage each other. We couldn’t swim a width or length but now there’s no stopping us!”

The swimming pool at Buckley Leisure Centre is one of three managed by Aura Leisure and Libraries. Catering for beginners, as well as those who wish to improve their technique, the adult swimming classes at Buckley aim to encourage water confidence and to support anyone seeking well-being through swimming. The classes run on Tuesday 10.00-11.00am, Thursday 8.30-9.00pm, and Sunday 10.30-11.15am (advanced) and 11.15am-12.00pm (beginner).

The whole Aura team would like to congratulate Jim and the Adult Swim Class on their fantastic achievement and would like to thank everyone who very kindly donated towards the sponsored swim – well done and thank you to all! 

Celebrating Inspirational Members: Robert’s Story

Aura recently received the following message from one of our gym users, Robert, a local resident of Flint. Here is what he said:

“The staff at the Jade Jones Pavilion have changed the way I look at my life. Just over 3 year ago I was over 19 stone and with the encouragement and guidance of the staff at the gym and in the classes, I have reduced my heart rate and my weight is now 13 and a half stone. Big shout out to Lesley, Lee, Hayley, David, Sam, Matty and all the staff: you’ve all helped to change my life for the better.

Robert very kindly met with us and explained how his fitness journey with Aura began, saying: “when I started off, I was about 19 and a half stone. At first, I just wanted to come to the gym and do my own thing, the instructors are happy to let you do that. When you feel like you’re ready, you can approach them, they can give you a programme if that is what you’d like and help you.

I started by using the treadmill, slowly, then every fortnight I would try and go up a level on the incline. The instructors then encouraged me to try other pieces of equipment.”

He explained: “I have had a heart problem in the past but my heart rate is a lot better due to the exercise I’m doing. I changed my diet also, I was doing things I didn’t realise were wrong – I didn’t know what carbohydrates or proteins were – it wasn’t something I was ever taught.”

Robert very kindly praised the team at the leisure centre, commenting on their contribution to his fitness journey to date, stating: “the team here have always got a kind word to say and a big smile. They know me by name and always say hello. It’s not just about fitness, it’s about meeting new people. It’s about fitness for your body and mind. For me, the mental side of it is just as important if not more important. Half an hour of exercise is enough time to bring your endorphins up and help you to feel happy.”

Throughout our chat, Robert very modestly placed emphasis on the team at the leisure centre, as opposed to taking credit for his amazing achievement of losing 6 stone in under three years. Through sharing his story, we wish to recognise and praise Robert’s accomplishment: the hard work has ultimately come from him.

The whole Aura team would like to congratulate Robert on his positivity and commitment to well-being– he is an inspiration to us all.

Aura raises over £1,300 for Macmillan Cancer Support!

We are delighted to announce that Aura Leisure and Libraries raised a grand total of £1339.78 for Macmillan Cancer Support on Friday 27th September 2019.

Aura was proud to take part in Macmillan’s Biggest Coffee Morning and hosted coffee mornings across its leisure and library sites at Deeside Leisure Centre, Jade Jones Pavilion Flint, Buckley Leisure Centre, Holywell Library, Connah’s Quay Library and Mold Library.

Carrie Bell, a member of the Aura team that helped organise the event, expressed her gratitude to everyone who participated and said: “we had an amazing day and raised a fabulous amount of money for Macmillan, with fantastic support from Team Aura! I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved. Team work across the six sites helped the day to be so successful. I am truly blown away by the amount we raised.”

The whole Aura team would like to thank everyone who attended our leisure and library sites on the day; we had a wonderful time and hope you did too!