Aura Libraries Celebrate the Big Welsh Rhyme Time!

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From 10-14 February 2020, Aura Libraries were delighted to take part in the Big Welsh Rhyme Time, along with many other libraries across Wales.

The Big Welsh Rhyme Time is an annual celebration of songs and rhymes for children aged 0-5 across Wales, organised by Book Trust Cymru. Its aim is to encourage children to share rhymes and songs in Welsh and English, helping them to develop speaking, listening and language skills before, or whilst, they learn to read – plus it’s a great way to have fun!

Aura Libraries took part in the celebration by hosting extra special Rhyme Time sessions across our 7 libraries in Flintshire. We were delighted to see lots of familiar faces attend the sessions as well as some new faces, too!

Library Service Manager, Susannah Hill, shared her enthusiasm about Aura’s participation in the Big Welsh Rhyme Time, saying: “What a wonderful week! The Big Welsh Rhyme Time is a great initiative by Book Trust Cymru, celebrating how special it is to share rhymes with babies and young children. It’s also great fun as you can see from all the fantastic photos!

We have enjoyed taking part again this year and have used it as an opportunity to share our rich heritage of Welsh language rhymes with local families. All our libraries have weekly Rhyme Times, so if you have young ones or grandchildren why not pop along and join in with us!”

Aura Libraries would like to thank everyone who came along to celebrate the Big Welsh Rhyme Time with us. For more information regarding Aura Library Events including Rhyme Time, click here.

Aura Libraries’ Top Valentine’s Day Reads!

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We have selected 8 fabulous reads for you to delve into this Valentine’s Day! Happy reading!

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

Sol a Lara by Tony Bianchi

Mr Perffaith / Mr Perfect by Joanna Davies

Poems of Love and Longing, a collection of poetry by contemporary Welsh poets

Hoff Gerddi Serch Cymru, a collection of poetry edited by Bethan Mair

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

19 Love Songs by David Levithan

The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

Let us know your all-time favourite romantic reads by leaving us a comment on our social media pages: @LibFlintshire on Twitter, or @LlyfrgelloeddAuraLibraries on Facebook!

Celebrating Inspirational Members: Katherine’s Story

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Back in December 2019, Deeside Leisure Centre’s Over 60’s Group celebrated the 80th birthday of one of its wonderful members, Katherine Wingate, who has been a local resident of Connah’s Quay since 2012.

In celebration of her 80th birthday, Katherine will be taking part in the 2020 London Marathon and hoping to raise money for MACS – a charity dedicated to helping children born without eyes or with underdeveloped eyes.  

We caught up with Katherine who very kindly shared her thoughts about her desire to complete the London Marathon, as well as the Over 60’s Group and its promotion of well-being in our local community. Here’s what she had to say:

“I have just achieved my 80th birthday and I intend to walk the London Marathon this year. I walked the London Marathon in 2010 in celebration of my 70th birthday, so I thought I would give it another go! In total, I have run 26 marathons, 9 of which were London – so I think I know the way by now!

The marathon is in April and I began my training back in November 2019. I come to Deeside Leisure Centre every Thursday and attend the Over 60’s Club. I am also a gym member and have been focusing on my training for the London marathon by walking as much as possible.

My family are very supportive; I don’t get to see them that regularly as they live away so I’m very much dependent on the over 60’s for company a lot of the time.

We do a quiz most weeks and also have visitors who come and give talks, such as a firefighter who came in recently to talk to the group about safety in the home. Usually there are about 18-20 of us who attend every week. The thing I enjoy most about the club is the company. Lisa is very helpful and she is always very friendly and attentive to everybody.”

Lisa Jones, a member of the Aura team based at Deeside Leisure Centre, set up and hosts the Over 60’s Group every week; she said: “Kath is a very valued member of the group who contributes to the quiz every week. Everyone in the group will be sponsoring her to raise funds for her chosen charity. We all wish her the very best of luck!”

In the past, taking part in marathons has been an opportunity for Katherine to raise money for a number of charities, including: the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research and the NSPCC – to name a few! She certainly is an inspiration for well-being and is much admired amongst the Over 60’s Club as well as the whole Aura team. Aura thanks Katherine for sharing her thoughts and wish her the best of luck with her training.

Come and see the new and improved Flint Library!

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Aura is delighted to announce the reopening of Flint Library after its huge transformation!

The Library doors reopened to the public on 20 January 2020.

In 2019, Aura was delighted to secure £300,000 of funding for improvement works at Flint Library through a successful capital grant application to the Welsh Government’s Museums, Archives and Libraries Division (MALD). In addition to the £300,000, both Aura and Flintshire Country Council contributed to the development, totalling £360,000 in new investment.

This funding has well and truly transformed the library which is now host to a community kitchen and heritage exhibition area. The children’s library, training rooms and main library, have also been redesigned and renovated in order to create more flexible community spaces.

Along with the refurbishments, Aura has implemented brand new self-service machines and updated the library’s ICT facilities to improve and modernise its digital provision.

Delighted by the reopening of the library, Aura’s Managing Director, Mike Welch, said: “As a Flint resident, I am really excited about the transformation of Flint Library. I use the Library regularly and I am especially looking forward to seeing how the community kitchen and renovated training rooms are utilised: both of these features will greatly benefit our library provision.”

Leader of the Council, Ian Roberts, expressed his enthusiasm about the development, saying: “I’m very pleased to hear that Flint Library has reopened after its development, which represents another positive step in Aura and Flintshire County Council’s ongoing partnership. The building has been renovated into a vibrant hub and is a huge asset to the town; I look forward to seeing what its future holds.”

Library manager, Susannah Hill, similarly expressed her excitement, commenting: “Now that the library doors have reopened, we will be able to deliver our services in new ways and offer much more to the Flint community. The library is now a modern and flexible space to explore stories and information, allowing us to offer a variety of activities and events for everyone.  It’s been wonderful to see the reaction from the local community so far!”

The development of Flint Library represents an exciting new opportunity for Aura as we continue our mission as a not-for-profit organisation, benefitting the community of Flintshire. The official reopening of the library will take place on 5 March 2020, coinciding with Aura Libraries’ celebration of World Book Day.

Deeside Ice Skaters named British Champions!

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Deeside Synchronised Ice Skating Club was delighted to attend the Britannia Cup from 11-13 January 2020, resulting in a historic double win for the club as both Welsh and British Champions in the same year!

The Club’s four teams performed fantastically, with the Deelites winning Gold in the Intermediate category, making them British champions. The Angels similarly performed brilliantly, securing 4th place in the Juvenile category.

The Cherubs, performing and competing for the first time in the Beginner’s category, secured a fantastic 4th place; and the Halos, also performing for the first time in the Adult category, had an impressive start to the season, placing 11th overall.

Darell Jones, Chairperson for the Club, expressed his enthusiasm, saying: “I’m so proud and privileged to be part of such a friendly and professional club that develops, encourages and enhances young talent in such a positive way. I’d like to thank our sponsors Gardner Aerospace and Aura Leisure and Libraries, for their continued support.”

Head Coach, Vicki Usherwood, similarly expressed her thanks and delight about the Club’s performance, saying: “This achievement is three years of commitment, dedication and determination. These skaters have come through our development programme and have proven what dedication and practice can achieve. They keep moving from strength to strength!”

All four teams will be competing at the Scottish International Trophy d’Ecosse in Dumfries, early in February, with high hopes of bringing further victories back to Deeside Ice Rink.  

The whole Aura team would like to congratulate the Club on its fantastic achievements and wish them the best of luck in their upcoming competition.

Deeside Synchro Club always welcome new members that have achieved “Learn to Skate” Grade 5 or above. They meet on Friday evenings between 5.00- 7.00pm at Deeside Leisure Centre.

For a free taster session or further information, please contact: vicki.skate@gmail.com.

For more information regarding Ice Skating lessons, click here.

New 3G Pitch coming to Deeside Leisure Centre!

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Aura is excited to announce that work is currently underway to introduce a brand new 3G 7-a-side football pitch to Deeside Leisure Centre!

Work began on 6 January 2020 after Aura secured funding from one of Sport Wales’ ‘Place for Sport’ grants. This state of the art facility is scheduled to be completed and ready for spring 2020.

Across Wales, more than £1m worth of ‘Place for Sport’ grants have been shared among 118 sports clubs and organisations to help modernise, protect or create new sports facilities.

Lord Elis-Thomas, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism said: “Whether it’s the hall you dance in or the pitch you play on, having the right sports facilities in place has a big impact on a person’s experience.”

Welcoming the news, Mike Welch, Aura’s Managing Director, said: “Aura feels passionately that there should be a place for sport for everyone. This funding will enable a greater number of local residents to enjoy the lifelong benefits of sport and physical activity.”

Lee Breeze, Deeside Leisure Centre’s Development Officer, similarly expressed his excitement about the new facility, saying: “we are delighted to be able to add to our existing outdoor provision by securing grant funding from Sport Wales. We can’t wait for it to be open and look forward to working with national governing bodies and local clubs in developing grassroots sports across Flintshire.”

Demand is expected to be very high for the hire of the new 3G pitch; to express interest in booking the facility, please email: bookings@aura.wales and include your preferred days and times.

Make sure to follow us on social media for sneak peaks and updates!

Facebook: @walesaura

Twitter: aura_wales

For more information on community grants available through Sport Wales, visit: www.sport.wales or www.clubsolutions.wales

Celebrating Inspirational Members: Mark’s story

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“When you’re diabetic, you’re sometimes told you can’t do this or you can’t do that, but I wanted to prove that you can do absolutely anything”: these are the words of Mark Morrelle, a local resident of Mold who very kindly met with us to share his experience of completing the New York Marathon in November 2019.  

Mark Morrelle (pictured below) is a regular user of Mold Fitness Suite, or, in his own words, “I practically live in the gym!”. Discussing his fitness journey to date, Mark explained: “I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was 9 years old. When I started coming to the gym here at Mold Leisure Centre, I was overweight and my diabetes was all over the place. Then, on a Saturday afternoon about 3 years ago, I went along to a Circuits class, not to take part but just to watch. I then went again the following week to take part. I kept going and kept getting fitter and fitter every week.  As a result, I have lost 3 and a half stone in less than 3 years.”

Mark explained how he had completed the London Marathon in 2018, before taking on the New York Marathon in 2019. He explained: “after completing the London Marathon in 2018, I said to myself: never again! The training had really taken its toll on me. But then in 2019, I decided, why not, I’ll do the New York marathon!”

Beaming, Mark expressed to us what it felt like to cross the finish line: “it was like euphoria! I absolutely went for it when I got to the last mile, taking half an hour off my time. I was absolutely amazed! I’m not time based – just doing it is enough for me – but taking off half an hour was a huge bonus. The pride of what I had achieved was immense.”

Looking forward, we asked Mark about his fitness goals for 2020: “I’m looking forward to taking part in the London Marathon again this year. I’d like to squeeze in a triathlon and as many half marathons as I can do.”

The pride on Mark’s face shone through when talking about his fitness achievements: “since I started coming to the gym, I have become so much fitter. My health is brilliant, everything is better, I’m well made up! The instructors are absolutely amazing as well – Spence, Abbie, Simon, all of them! – they let you go at your own speed and if they see you struggling they help you out.”

Keen to inspire others, he said: “there is absolutely no reason why people who have diabetes cannot achieve huge fitness goals like running a marathon. In a sense, the reason I’m doing it is to prove that it can be done. If I can inspire someone else – even just one person – to take up a challenge like that, I would be made up.”

The whole Aura team would like to thank Mark for taking the time to share his experience with us and wish him the best of luck with his 2020 fitness goals.

Aura Swimming Instructor recognised as Swimming Teacher of the Year at National Awards!

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On 7 January 2020, members of the Aura team were delighted to attend the 2020 Learn to Swim Awards hosted in Cardiff.

Aura was shortlisted for ‘Swim Wales Learn to Swim Provider of the Year’ and two of our wonderful Swimming Instructors were recognised for their individual contributions. Toby Pritchard was shortlisted in the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Learn to Swim in Wales’ category, and Wes Billings was nominated for the ‘Swim Wales Educator of the Year’ award, as well as the ‘Swim Wales Swimming Teacher of the Year’ award.

We are delighted to announce that Wes has brought home the Swimming Teacher of the Year Award! He expressed his gratitude, saying: “I have been involved in teaching swimming for almost 20 years and have enjoyed every part of the journey. I’d like to thank customers (past and present) and colleagues who took the time to vote. I have a real passion and dedication for teaching swimming and thoroughly enjoy my role. Learning to swim is the most important life skill a person can gain; being a part of someone’s achievement is a fantastic feeling.”

A spokesperson for Swim Wales said: “Wes gives each and every child the chance to enjoy and progress individually through their own swimming journey. He makes a conscious decision to get to know every child he teaches to ensure that they get the best out of every lesson.”

Sian Williams, Aura’s Leisure Development Manager, also praised Wes’ commitment to teaching, saying: “we are so pleased that Wes and the whole Aura swimming team has received such wonderful recognition. Wes’ contribution over the past two decades has been fantastic, most notably at Mold Leisure Centre.  He is now overseeing the Learn to Swim programme at Jade Jones Pavilion Flint where he is continuing to impact positively on local communities and to provide excellent swimming lessons to children across the County.”

Wes expressed his pride on behalf of the whole Aura team for being shortlisted as Swim Provider of the Year: “‘to be shortlisted for this category just shows the amount of hard work that goes into delivering a successful learn to swim programme. All the Aura swimming teachers across our sites at Mold, Buckley and Flint, work extremely hard to deliver fun and exciting swimming lessons. I’m so proud of all their hard work and dedication.”

Congratulations to Toby, Wes and the whole Aura swimming team on this excellent achievement!

6 Reasons to come along to an Aura Fitness Suite this January!

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Thinking about joining the gym this January? You’ve come to the right place: with Aura Fitness, you can access 3 gyms for the price of one!

Here are 6 reasons why an Aura Fitness Suite is the perfect place to achieve your 2020 fitness goals:

  1. We offer free personal fitness sessions with our welcoming and highly qualified fitness instructors to help you make the most of your time in the fitness suite
  2. We have a fantastic fitness class programme with over 150 classes across our sites to ensure there is something for everyone
  3. Our instructors can create personalised programmes catered especially for you and your fitness goals
  4. With the Technogym® Wellness App that we provide for you right from your induction, you can track your fitness development, log workouts, join challenges and even hook up to your own personal fitness apps
  5. In order to give you plenty of flexibility, we provide a variety of membership packages and what’s more: none of our memberships require a contract! 
  6. Our instructors not only do their best to provide fantastic fitness classes and advice, they also offer regular reviews of progress to help you reach your goals!

Want more information? Drop in and have a chat or contact us directly on:

Deeside Fitness Suite: 01352 704240

Flint Fitness Suite: 01352 704308

Mold Fitness Suite: 01352 704333

Be sure to follow us at @auracymru @aurawales on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with all our news and activities across Aura Leisure and Libraries.

Aura Libraries’ Top Reads of 2019!

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Looking back over 2019, Aura Libraries have compiled together a list of 5 of the best reads of 2019! If you have read these titles, let us know what you think, or which titles you would have included as the best books of 2019!

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert : this charming novel tells the story of Vivian Morris who, armed with a suitcase and sewing machine, takes on New York City in the summer of 1940.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides : Alicia Berenson, the silent patient of Theo Faber, kills her husband and never speaks another word. The discovery of the truth becomes both an investigation into a crime, and an analysis of hidden traumas. 

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood : This is the long awaited sequel to the world famous The Handmaid’s Tale, and joint winner of the Booker Prize 2019. The testimonies of three women are brought together to expose their experiences with Gilead: a future nation which replaces the United States in this chilling dystopian novel.

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo : Both richly historic and energetically contemporary, Girl, Woman, Other – joint winner of the Booker Prize – brings together 12 voices who recount their tales of struggle and strength over the last 100 years.

Quichotte by Salman Rushdie : Sam DuChamp, a spy writer, creates the TV obsessed salesman Quichotte who falls in love with a celebrity, setting off on an adventure with his imaginary son, Sancho, across America.

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