Aura’s new tablets bring the digital world straight to your door

In providing a wide range of library services, activities and high quality resources, Aura Libraries hope to support lifelong learning, personal well-being, and community engagement. We feel passionately about providing the best possible service to all our library users both in and out of the library.

Our mobile vans and home service enable us to take the library out into the wider community and bring our resources directly to your door. To lessen the impact of social isolation on individuals, and enable them to share in the digital world, we have introduced electronic tablets available to use both in our libraries or to borrow through our home library service.

We spoke to Donald and Karis Furnival who use the home library service on a regular basis; as our first borrowers of a tablet, we were very pleased to hear that they are finding it beneficial. They explained: “there’s loads and loads of titles to choose from on the tablet. You can also get magazines and newspapers so there is plenty to do”. They further commented, “Reg (one of the mobile library drivers) is always very helpful”.

Home Delivery Visit with New Tablet

Reg Collins, one of our wonderful mobile library drivers, commented: “the Home Delivery team is looking forward to helping all generations access our e-books, audio collection and 100s of free e-magazines. It will also be a great way to find out what is going on in the community such as coffee mornings, health and wellbeing events and local community events.”

Customers who use the library delivery service can use the tablets to:

  • Learn how to access e-resources such as e-books and e-audio books on their own devices
  • Learn how to use our online catalogue to browse and make their own choices
  • Be signposted to local health and wellbeing services and programmes such as books on prescription and Local Dementia Friendly activities

 

For your local library’s contact details, click here 

 

 

 

Well-being with a Twist (and shout!)

Aura Wales goes back in time for an extra special Tea Dance!

On Friday 17th May, Deeside Leisure Centre travelled back in time for an extra special 50’s and 60’s inspired Tea Dance! Over 70 people attended the event which was hosted in the multi-purpose sports hall.

Afternoon tea was provided for all guests who were encouraged to put on their dancing shoes, enjoy some music and meet friends old and new!

Library manager Susannah Hill commented: “We were so excited to be able to host a Tea Dance here at Deeside Leisure Centre. Aura Leisure and Libraries is working towards becoming Dementia Friendly and were accredited by The Alzheimer’s Society in May last year.  We hope this is the first of many inclusive events that will help to improve people’s health and wellbeing.”

The Aura team were blown away by everyone’s enthusiasm at the Tea Dance and were very impressed by all the dancing! Take a look at the photographs below for evidence!

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We asked those who attended what they thought of the event; here is what they said:

“It’s been a great day! We love being all together. We motivate each other and look after each other. The whole Aura team are so good. It’s pleasant to come to the leisure centre or library; from the receptionist to the fitness instructors, they are all superb.”

“Aura says what it does: wellbeing for the body and mind and that’s very true. Events like the Tea Dance or being a part of NERS (the National Exercise Referral Scheme) is so helpful because they are social. When you have left the world of work you can sometimes feel isolated, but this gives us an aim and focus in a social setting.”

“We’ve had a wonderful time and would like to thank Aura for organising this event.”

Aura Wales wish to thank all those who attended and especially for showing such enthusiasm; we had a fantastic time and we hope everyone who attended did too!

 

 

Excellent news for Flint Library as Aura Wales secures £300,000 grant funding!

Aura Wales was recently 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 Wales and Flintshire Country Council will also contribute to the development, totalling £360,000 in new investment.

This funding will transform the library, making it a more flexible space where the community can benefit in lots of different ways. Work will begin in September 2019 and will include a community kitchen, a heritage exhibition area and space for a community garden. The current training rooms and main library will also be redesigned and transformed in order to create more flexible community spaces. By incorporating these changes, Aura hopes the development will provide a well-being hub, aiding us in achieving our purpose of helping the community through the provision of culture and leisure opportunities that improve mental health and physical well-being.

The library will be refurbished and modernised to include self-service machines and updated ICT and digital services. The development’s design will also highlight Aura’s commitment to becoming a Dementia Friendly organisation.

“As a Flint resident, I am really excited about the new development at Flint Library. I use the Library regularly as it is and am especially looking forward to getting involved with the community garden”, said a current user of Flint Library.

Flint Town Councillor Michelle Perfect, expressed her enthusiasm about the funding, saying: “This is a really positive development and much welcomed investment into Flint Library. This funding will make the library into a vibrant hub for the whole of the town and I look forward to seeing its potential being realised.”

Library manager, Susannah Hill, similarly expressed her excitement about the development, commenting: “The library transformation will enable us to deliver our services in new ways and offer much more to the Flint community. The library will become a more modern and flexible space to explore stories and information and allow us to offer a variety of activities and events for everyone.”

This funding represents an exciting new opportunity for Aura Wales as we continue our mission as a not-for-profit organisation, benefitting the community of Flintshire.

Flint Library 2

 

Aura Wales: Where the Community Benefits

Recently, Aura has been delighted to receive emails and letters from members of the community who use our services. We were very thankful to receive the below statement about Aura’s gym and fitness service:

“Joining the gym can be an intimidating experience, mentally and physically. That’s what I thought before walking into an Aura Wales fitness suite. Now, I look forward to walking through the doors and seeing the friendly faces of the instructors I have gotten to know.

When I first joined, I was walked through the four Aura Steps by Adam who was very friendly and welcoming. I remember how passionately he spoke about his role in the gym and remember his words clearly: “To me, it’s not just about getting people in better shape, it’s about improving how you feel overall as a person.”

He explained that as a not-for-profit organisation, Aura’s priority is to benefit the community. It was nice to understand the place that I was in more, seeing Aura and not just a building. As someone who wasn’t very confident in the gym, it’s great to be able to approach any of the instructors, have a chat with them and feel reassured, even before going into the gym to start exercising. It’s like you have a friend in there, not just a fitness instructor or a personal trainer, it’s a friendly face every time. When you go to one of the fitness suites there is such a wide range of ages. It’s wonderful to see how accessible it is to everyone and not intimidating at all.

The value for money in terms of the membership is amazing when you think about how much the instructors do to support you. At some places, to even go through a fitness plan or have one to one sessions can be an additional cost or an extra on top of a membership. I’m so pleased I decided to take that first step and grateful to Adam for his support. Ultimately, it is all about “improving how you feel overall as a person”, as Adam said to me on my first day at the gym. I genuinely feel so much better in myself and really do believe that Aura is a place where the community benefits.

After receiving these words, we spoke to Adam Renshaw, the fitness instructor mentioned above, about why he feels passionately about working for a not-for-profit fitness suite. Here was his response:

“Knowing that you’ve helped someone to achieve what they set out to do is amazing. It’s great to know that people are feeling so much better in themselves. I really enjoy sitting down with people, devising a plan together of where they want to be in the future and then being able to see them progress and help them on their own personal fitness journey.

At the end of the day, as a not-for-profit organisation, our priority is to benefit the community. Anyone could walk through the doors – regardless of whether they have used gyms before or not – we can start from scratch and we will support you on your fitness journey. I think if you are a personal trainer, there can be a tendency to focus on the people who are paying you per hour, whereas with us, it’s for everyone, regardless of whether you are paying a membership or not: we are here for anyone who comes through the door.”

In light of this, we asked Adam to explain the process of joining the gym and how it is broken up into 4 Steps to ensure that every member is happy and comfortable with the service they receive:

  • “We have our 4 Aura steps. Step 1 is an initial consultation where we will go through a health questionnaire, set the membership up, go through height, weight and blood pressure. We will give you your membership card and give you all the necessary information then and there. If you do want to go through a specific fitness plan, we can also discuss what kind of plan you’d like. We would spend Step 1 just chatting and getting to know each other better, creating a rapport so that you feel comfortable.

 

  • Step 2 goes through the fitness plans we identify for you in Step 1. You could have anything from 2 up to 6 one to one training sessions with a fitness instructor which are 45 minutes to an hour each time. That’s all part of the membership, you’re not paying as a customer for that extra service.

 

  • Then it’s on to Step 3! This could just be a 15 minute review where we’ll ask about how you’re feeling and perhaps suggest a fitness class that would go well with your plan. If it was cardiovascular fitness you were looking at, a spinning class would help to improve it, or even the kettlebell or body toning class. We would have a chat about fitness classes or something different to help promote doing something new.

 

  • Step 4 is basically a full review to see how the first lot of fitness plans went, we can redo your blood pressure, redo weight and body fat measurements. From then on, we would review the plan and look to improve it further. So essentially, we would look back to Step 1 and start the journey again. It’s pretty much an ongoing cycle of one to one training with constant reviews to see how you’re getting on. The value for money in terms of our membership is amazing when you lay it out and put it in that order. The steps can repeat themselves over and over again with no extra cost whatsoever.

Adam’s advice for anyone thinking about making their first steps to improved mental and physical well-being through exercise is: “Don’t hesitate to ask questions, it’s what we are here for! I I’d tell anyone to just go for it, come in here and give it a go and get into your fitness journey.”

Ultimately, we hope Aura is, and continues to be, a place where the community benefits from improved physical and mental well-being. We are here to help you on your way to a happier and healthier life.

NewCo Values and Expectations - FINAL Oct 12.10.16_Page_1_Image_0001

Huge Turnout for Aura Easter Football Camps!

“This is going to be our biggest camp of the year!” said Head Coach Gary Dixon before the Easter half term and he wasn’t wrong! Running from 15th-26th April 2019, Aura’s Easter Football camps hosted across 4 sites – Deeside Leisure Centre, Flint High School (as part of Jade Jones Pavilion), Mold Leisure Centre and Buckley Leisure Centre – have been a fantastic success!

The Football Camps are targeted at children aged 5-13  and the children who attended were able to purchase exclusive Aura football shirts as well as enter into a Nike Voucher Prize Draw at each site each week.

Lee Breeze, Centre Development Officer, said: “We have been delighted in the response that we have had resulting in over 550 children from across Flintshire attending. To be able to offer high quality football provision in safe and fun environments is something we are really proud of.

Our Aura Football programme is growing constantly and more sessions are being added. For more information or to get involved in Aura Football please email our Head Coach Gary Dixon on aurafootball@aura.wales

Aura Wales would like to thank all of the children who attended the Easter Football Camps as well as colleagues across all four leisure centres who worked so hard to make these Camps our best yet! Well done to all the children who showed so much enthusiasm, we hope to see you all again very soon!

 

 

 

Another Fantastic turn out for Jobs Fair held at Deeside Leisure Centre

 

Careers Fair April 2019

On 11th April 2019, a Jobs Fair which hosted 76 different stalls was held in one of the multi-purpose sports halls here at Deeside Leisure Centre. The event was a huge success and welcomed over 800 visitors throughout the day who were able to chat to different companies and organisations.

The Jobs Fair itself was catered for young people and adults who are looking for work as well as training and volunteer opportunities. Local schools also attended the event to receive more information about potential apprenticeships and future job roles.

Bob Neish, an Aura colleague who represented Aura Wales at the Jobs Fair, shared his views about the success of the event. He said: “I thought the jobs fair was a smashing success with a massive turnout! It was a great opportunity to share my experience working as part of Aura in Deeside gym and an engaging insight hearing more about the roles of my colleagues in different service departments. It was also great meeting the other vendors, some of which are already working with Aura. I think the event definitely increased our connection with the community.”

We were pleased to see that despite the busyness of the event and large number of visitors, there was still lots of opportunity for people to have one to one chats with the various companies and organisations, which we hope helped people to get the most out of their time spent at the Fair.

Aura was similarly involved in a separate Employability event earlier this year in March 2019 in Mold Library entitled: “Step Up Your Skills with Aura”, which, slightly different to a traditional jobs fair, offered 6 different areas of support for anyone looking for employment or volunteer opportunities. As a follow up to this event, Aura will host a “Get that Job!” session at Mold Library on Wednesday 22nd May from 11.00am-2.00pm where we welcome people to come along and meet potential employers and make the connections needed.

Thank you to all that attended the Jobs Fair, Aura Wales hopes to host many more important events such as these in the future.

Revitalising Recreational Spaces: Improvements to Flint Coleshill Bowls Club in time for the New Season

Clwb Bowls Coleshill y Fflint, mis Ebrill 2019

Pictured (from left to right) are Mike Welch, Managing Director of Aura Wales, Councillor Ian Roberts, Leader of Flintshire County Council, Richard Roberts, Aura’s Play Design Officer, Eifion Williams, Club Secretary, and Pat Pearson, Club Treasurer.

Residents of Flint have watched the town’s landscape change significantly in recent times, visible, for example, by the construction of more than 70 apartments for the Over 60s being built as part of a £9 million extra care housing scheme.

As part of this new development, positive impact has been further generated due to a Section 106 Agreement between Flintshire County Council and Anwyl Construction. This agreement ensured that an off-site commuted sum of £53,509 was earmarked to make improvements to the local area and community.

One of the lucky recipients of this funding is Flint Coleshill Bowls Club which met with Aura’s Play Design Officer, Richard Roberts, in late 2018 to discuss refurbishment works to the bowling Pavilion and grounds.  A generous sum of £2,500 was put towards improving the facilities which included new spectator shelters, decoration and refurbishment of the Pavilion’s kitchen and toilets, and newly purchased litter bins and equipment to maintain the grounds. Following the completion, Eifion Williams, Club Secretary, kindly thanked Aura Wales and Flintshire County Council for all they had done for the club.

Aura’s Play Design Officer, Richard Roberts, shared his enthusiasm about the improvements, commenting: “Aura is really pleased to be able to help Flint Bowls Club to refurbish their facilities in readiness for the new season.  It’s great to be able to utilise Section 106 funding for improving recreational space for local communities.’’

Aura Wales hopes these improvements will impact positively upon the Flint community and will contribute towards the success of Flint Coleshill Bowls Club.

UK’s No.1 Scooter Rider ramps up praise for Aura’s Skate Park

Aura recently spoke to Jamie Hull, aged 17 from Widnes, and his parents, Jane and Nigel Hull, about how the skate park at Deeside Leisure Centre has impacted upon his already extremely successful career.

Jamie holds the title of UK number one scooter rider, his “biggest achievement” so far, in his own words. He explained: “I was about 10 when I first ever came to Deeside Leisure Centre, when the skate park was first opened and there were queues out the door! I used to come every single day because the other local indoor skate parks near me didn’t let scooters in, but Deeside did. It’s an amazing place.”

“For us as parents” continued Jane, “we like the safety element. The staff are always here to supervise. This place has been really influential because when the scooters first took off, not very many parks let them in and there was quite a bit of conflict. Scooters allow younger children to access the ramps. When the park opened here, it was open to everybody. It was great! I think that this centre has really helped with the scooters by letting them in. The facilities are great; not just the skate park but the toilets and the café. Its very family orientated. The car park is very handy too. It has everything. For any parent, it’s a real positive place for kids to come to.”

Jamie shared what he likes most about the skate park, saying: “the fact that it’s an indoor park and it’s warm is a big bonus! The ramps aren’t too big and they’re not too small so they are right for learning and right for different ages. The transitions are really smooth. It’s about the people that you’re with and the people who come here are really nice.”

Jamie Hull

Jamie’s parents very kindly complimented the team at Deeside Leisure Centre, commented that: “they have all been so supportive of Jamie as well all the other children. All the kids that come here to skate feel like they belong to something. You don’t get many leisure centres that give off that feeling.”

Earlier this year, Jamie took part in a Wheeled Sports Festival held in Aura’s skate park. The purpose of the festival was to introduce children to a mixture of wheeled sports including scootering, skateboarding and cycling. Jamie was asked to attend and stated afterwards: “it was really heart-warming. There were a few kids that came that were scared at the start but by the end they were so happy and had done really well.”

Jamie’s mother added: “when people say how well he’s done and what a nice kid he is, for us, that is our reward. Seeing people root for him is amazing. Even though we aren’t local to the area, the staff have always treated us as if we were locals. We need to learn a bit of Welsh next!

It’s great to see how much the leisure centre has progressed over the years. We like the café because it’s a focal point, the kids know where you are and we know they’re safe. It’s the same with the ice rink.”

Jamie hopes to encourage more young people to get involved with wheeled sports and uses his own experience to emphasise how rewarding it can be: “I was once a kid at the skate park who was learning like the young kids are doing now. You’ve got to persevere and keep at it. It won’t happen overnight, it takes a long time, it’s taken me 8 years but that just goes to show that if you stick at it and you believe you can do it than you will achieve it.”

We were touched by the Hull family’s words and wish to thank them sincerely for sharing them. They left us with this final comment: “We can’t shout about this place enough, we always have done. It’s a fantastic model that others should take on board.”

 

Driving Social Inclusion Forward

driving social inclusion forward

Aura Wales are excited to announce our involvement in an exciting new project in collaboration with Lindop Toyota!

The project aims to bridge the gap between senior citizens and younger people across Flintshire. Both Aura Wales and Lindop Toyota hope the project will deliver positive and durable impact on the community. By driving social inclusion forward, we wish to help tackle social isolation and further contribute to the educational needs of the younger generation.

The project will take place between 1st April – 31st March 2020.

Our focus will be on the following areas of concern within the local community:

  • Road safety
  • Social inclusion
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Cross-generation integration
  • Tackling isolation

Lindop Toyota have expressed their desire to work with Aura’s present connections and partnerships with – for example – local primary schools, as well as Aura’s current work around becoming Dementia friendly, in order to  improve cross-generation and social inclusion. Flintshire has many residents who are socially isolated and through introducing them to the county’s younger generation, we hope to improve their day to day lives and help them find a more positive purpose.

There will be a lot of focus on the educational needs of the younger generation during the project. Therefore, Aura’s library service and resources will be utilised to help improve the reading and writing abilities of the primary school children, and the older generation will assist. As well as reading and writing, we will be focusing on road safety also as part of the children’s learning experience. Colleagues from both Lindop Toyota and Aura Wales will work closely with all external parties to help deliver this project.

A spokesperson for Lindop Toyota said: “We are pleased to have secured support from the Toyota Fund for a Better Tomorrow, to help tackle social isolation. As a family business, we believe that it is important for us to contribute to the local community. Aura Wales do an excellent job of raising awareness about the importance of inclusion and we are proud to be involved with the project.”

Aura Wales are excited about the collaboration with Lindop Toyota and thank them for allowing us to be involved in such an important project. Together, we can drive social inclusion forward for the Flintshire community!

 

 

 

Knit and Natter Group celebrate their first birthday at Broughton Library!

The Knit and Natter group at Broughton Library have recently celebrated their first birthday! There are about 10 people who regularly attend each week who enjoy socialising and knitting together.

As well as knitting, the members who attend the group also take the time as an opportunity to take out library books or renew ones they haven’t quite finished! Sometimes during the sessions, they will listen to stories or have poetry readings.

It all started last year with knitting poppies and ever since, a whole array of different things have been wonderfully created. In celebration of their birthday, a display was put together in Broughton Library as seen below in the photographs.

The members who attend enjoy knitting at all different levels and are friendly and welcoming to any newcomers.

One of our lovely librarians, Sandra, very kindly brought in cake for the group in celebration of their first full year. On a regular basis, the library will also provide tea and biscuits.

One member of the group stated: “most of us didn’t know each other before joining the group. A couple of us didn’t realise that we had been in the same school together over 50 years ago!”

The members of the group shared their favourite things about joining Knit and Natter, placing emphasis on the social aspect of the sessions. One person said: “it’s nice that we learn together”, as well as another stating: “my favourite thing about knit and natter is socialising and doing something practical at the same time. It’s a lovely little social group.”

When asked to sum up the Knit and Natter sessions in 3 words, the group collectively decided upon: “friendly, funny, and fabulous!” Aura Libraries couldn’t agree more!

Aura are so pleased to see the group celebrating its first birthday and would like to thank them for sharing their thoughts.

  • Broughton Library runs 2 sessions a week on a Monday from 10.00am -12.00pm and on a Wednesday from 2.00pm-4.00pm
  • Buckley Library has a Knit and Natter group which meet on Thursdays from 2.00pm-3.00pm
  • Flint Library has a Knit and Natter group which meet on Wednesdays from 9.30am-11.30am
  • Holywell Library has a Knit and Natter group which meet on Wednesdays from 3.00pm-4.00pm.

A warm welcome to all at any of our libraries!

For the libraries’ contact details, click here! click here!