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!

 

 

 

The Phone Call that Changed Two Lives

Over recent months we have shared the stories and personal experiences of several customers who regularly use Aura’s services.  Whilst it has been fantastic to share these individual journeys with you, we are fully aware that we do not always realise the positive impact we have on the silent majority.

With this in mind, Aura Leisure and Libraries was recently thrilled to receive a touching email from a local couple who wish to remain anonymous.  Within the email they explain how their lives have been altered after receiving a phone call from one of our Fitness Instructors, Gavin Jones, who took the time to reach out to enquire about their health.  What happened next is inspiring! They decided to make a huge commitment to improving their physical wellbeing, and continue to show fantastic determination to reach their fitness goals.  Here’s what they had to say:

“Dear Aura Wales,

In the summer of 2016 I suffered heart failure and, upon admission to Glan Clwyd Hospital, my heart output was less than 10%. Thankfully, things improved and I was eventually referred to the Cardio Rehab programme at Deeside Leisure Centre.

I was later contacted by Gavin Jones of Aura Wales for follow up sessions. I was intermittent in attending and, I suppose, apprehensive of the effects exercise would have on my heart. After a few weeks’ absence, and totally out of the blue, at 6.50pm on a Thursday evening I received a telephone call from Gavin enquiring about why I hadn’t been to the gym for weeks. I explained I had been finding it hard and I had had another health scare. He said: “Well, I’ll see you Tuesday at Deeside at 1.15pm”.

Once I put the phone down I considered what had been said. Rather than asking a question it sounded like Gavin was stating a fact.  Why on earth would he be ringing me at that time of the evening?  It suddenly struck me.  If Gavin is so committed to me, I should be committed to me!  I did meet Gavin the following week and joined the gym. I went home and told my wife – we’ve been married 38 years and do everything together – and she also joined the gym.

We are both managing two hour workouts 5/6 days a week and attend Jade Jones Pavilion Flint. We have been following a carbohydrate restricted diet and have lost approximately 20 kilos each since October. Gavin really did make a telephone call that changed two lives! We love the social aspect of coming the leisure centre, we talk to lots of different people; you don’t feel intimidated at all.

Our energy levels have soared, and life is very different. We are so determined to achieve our goals.

Matty, one of the instructors, wrote a programme for us both and it is working so well, he is amazing! Nothing is ever too much trouble for the staff here. We wish to place on record our sincere gratitude to Gavin for his commitment to a one time “Gym Dodger”, and for his continued support and encouragement. We would also like to thank the other instructors at Flint for making the gym a pleasure to be in rather than a burden; they are so friendly and helpful! The whole idea of Aura is brilliant.

That night when Gavin rang – I even remember where we were – it was as if it was the call that was meant to happen, and I’m so glad it did. We haven’t looked back since.”

Aura sends many thanks to this wonderful couple for sharing their kind message and wish them the best of luck with their fitness journey.  We wonder how many other customers, keen to remain out of the spotlight, have similar stories to tell about the life changing impact Aura has had on their lives?

 

Every Child a Library Member!

Across March 2019, Aura Libraries invited year 4 pupils from primary schools across Flintshire to visit their local library and learn more about their library service.

It is the aim of Aura Libraries to encourage every child in Flintshire to become a library member as part of a larger scheme entitled “Every Child a Library Member” (ECALM), introduced by the Welsh Government.

The aim of the ECALM school visits that took place across March 2019 across Aura Libraries was to encourage local children to learn more about why libraries are so important and how beneficial it is to be a library member.

The children received a free ECALM bag with more information about their library service and took part in various activities during their visit including a quiz and writing poems. See below some of the photographs of the ECALM visits, including some of the wonderful poems written by local children.

Library Support Officer Lynn Walker said: “The ECALM visits in Aura Libraries have been great fun! Classes have learned about the huge selection of books they can choose from as well as our fantastic online resources. We did lots of different activities and even made a human shelf to understand how Fiction books are put in order! The children created wonderful Acrostic Poems and took part in a Quiz that took them all around the Library to find the answers. Ultimately we hope the children left with the message that Libraries are fun places to visit, with staff who are there to help.”

Aura Libraries would like to thank all the children that visited the library and hope they enjoyed themselves. The library doors are always open!

Meet the Artist Event – Flint Foreshore Public Art

We want your opinion!

Special Event on Saturday 6th of April 2.30-4.30pm at Flint Library! 

As part of the current regeneration initiative curatorial Project Managers Addo and Flintshire County Council, in partnership with Cadw and a range of local partners, recently invited applications from experienced artists to produce artworks for Flint.

Two commissions were advertised; Commission One – an ‘iconic’ artwork to be situated on the Flint Foreshore. Commission Two – an Art Trail connecting the foreshore with the town as part of the wider regeneration of this unique and compelling landscape.

Five artists have been shortlisted to produce initial designs for an Iconic artwork on the foreshore area. These initial ideas will need to sensitively consider and respond to nationally significant features such as the scheduled monument area of Flint Castle. Each artist was selected due to their enthusiasm for the brief and ability to work with others in the development and delivery of artworks. These initial concept ideas, which will be further developed, changed or evolved, will be on public display at Flint Library during 1st-6th April.

Local people will have an opportunity to comment and provide views on these initial design ideas and to meet the artists to discuss their ideas at a special event 2:30- 4:30pm on Saturday 6th April at Flint Library. The session will also provide an opportunity to view initial concept designs on the proposed new innovative community hub on the foreshore that will encompass football, rugby and social club facilities, visitor centre and Lifeboat Station.

The short-listed artists are:

Manon Awst is an artist and researcher based in Caernarfon, who has developed site-specific sculptures and installations across Europe https://manonawst.com

Howard Bowcott http://www.howardbowcott.co.uk is based in North Wales and works on arts and regeneration projects throughout the UK and further afield.

Richard Harris http://www.richardharrissculpture.co.uk makes human-scale environmental sculpture at sites across the world and is based in mid Wales.

John Merrill http://www.johnmerrill.org is based in North Wales and makes large-scale public artworks, which respond to natural landscapes.

Rich White http://www.counterwork.co.uk makes installations, which examine the relationships that develop between people and their environment

To help improve connectivity and sense of place between the Foreshore and Town Centre, artists Grennan & Sperandio have been selected for the Flint Art Trail Commission. The duo are based in North Wales and the USA and are particularly known for their relational, social and collaborative artworks. The focus of their work is to draw out local stories and characters.

The Regeneration steering group and partners selected artists who were able to demonstrate a willingness to immerse themselves in the life and culture of the area and embrace the opportunity to work with local groups, communities, businesses and the wider regeneration project team (including foreshore development architects) as an integral part of their practice.

For further information about both the Public Art and Art Trail commissions please contact Gwenno Eleri Jones gwenno.e.jones@flintshire.gov.uk or Tracy Simpson

Step up your skills with Aura!

Make 2019 the year to make a change and find your true potential!

Employability Workshop held on Tuesday 19th March from 1.00p.m – 6.00pm at Mold Library!

Step Up Your Skills With Aura

If you are taking your first steps into the jobs market, considering a change in career, or returning after a break in your employment, this event will offer something to suit everyone and allow you to recognise and make the most of your existing strengths and develop new skills for work.

This program will offer a hands on practical alternative to the traditional jobs fair, and provide you with the confidence to take the steps you need in the search for new employment and in your professional and personal development.

Our experts are waiting to help you reach your full potential, and everyone who attends this event will receive an invitation to attend a follow up session where you can meet key local employers and businesses with renewed confidence and purpose in the search for the ideal job.

Skills for Work

Employability workshop held on Tuesday 19th March from 1.00p.m – 6.00 p.m. at Mold Library

Drop in and talk to our advisors, they will work with you to answer your questions and give you practical tips and suggestions.

You can choose from any of our 6 key areas of focus:

Application Forms

  • How to make your application stand out from the rest
  • Why should employers select you – what are they looking for?
  • What are the pitfalls to avoid?

ICT

  • Practical hands on support with IT technology
  • How to access online job sites and download application forms
  • Leave with a quality C.V
  • How to create perfect presentations

Volunteering Opportunities

  • How to get vital work experience and learn new skills
  • Fill in those gaps in your employment profile
  • What is available to you – where do you start?
  • Make a difference to your community – give something back

 

Know Yourself

  • What are your strengths? We will help you understand what you have to offer employers
  • ‘Coaching Couch’ with an executive coach
  • How to sell yourself to employers
  • What are your areas for development – we will help you understand these and show you what to do next.

 

Beat the Nerves

  • Mindfulness sessions to relax and prepare yourself for an interview
  • Simple tricks to aid your memory
  • Gain focus and feel more confident

 

Interview Skills

  • What can you prepare – things you will definitely be asked
  • How to make a good impression, make sure they remember you for the right reasons
  • Interviewing 101 – the view from the other side of the table

 

We are committed to ensuring that everyone will leave feeling they have the tools to take the next step up into work and employment.

Get That Job

Use your new skills, experience and confidence to ‘Meet the Employer’ at this follow up event.

Follow Facebook to find out the date of the follow up event.

Once you have been given the right tools and support to take those important steps forward, we want to offer you the opportunity to meet potential employers and make the connections you need. You can build on your confidence, communication and networking skills and get on to the right path to employment.

 

Book Recommendations from your Librarians, Happy World Book Day!

Happy World Book Day from Aura Libraries!

We asked a few of our lovely librarians for some book recommendations to help celebrate World Book Day 2019. Let us know what you think of their recommendations, or pop into your local library to have a chat with them about the books they chose! Here’s what they came up with:

Sam Roberts, based at Deeside Library said: “I would highly recommend Terry Pratchett’s series Discworld this World Book Day, as well as Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files, another fantastic series”.

Sue Hipkiss, based at Mold Library said: “I would like to share with you my book recommendations for World Book Day. For reading with younger children I recommend Isle of You by David LaRochelle which is a wonderful book to share and has beautiful illustrations by Jaime Kim. For confident readers I recommend Fing by David Walliams.  This is another very funny story with the main character Myrtle Meek on a quest to find a Fing.  Myrtle starts her quest by visiting the spooky library vaults to delve into the dusty pages of the mysterious Monsterpedia and so the hilarious adventures begin!”

 

Sian Roberts, based at Mold Library recommends: “Cymru ar y Map / Wales on the Map for the lovely illustrations and interesting information about Wales, as well as, Dau Mewn Cae / Ruck in the Muck by Ceri Wyn Jones which is a wonderful story about two brothers playing rugby in a field but imagine that they are playing for their country at the Millennium Stadium.  A great story to read alongside the Six Nations too!”

And lastly, Susannah Hill, one of our Library Service Managers, said: “I love books and stories and get really excited seeing all the new books arriving in our libraries.  I love sharing stories with other people too! My recommendations for World Book Day are Penguin by Polly Dunbar, George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl, Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer and Blood Red Snow White by Marcus Sedgewick.

Let us know what you’re reading this World Book Day and what you love about your library! Happy Reading Everybody!

Keep up to date with your library service by following aura_cymru and aura_wales on Twitter, or visit the Aura Libraries Facebook page: Aura Llyfrgelloedd/Libraries

Public exhibition of proposals for a solar farm development at Flint Landfill

Flintshire County Council has long promoted and invested in low carbon and renewable energy; from installing technologies such as solar photovoltaic (PV), heat pumps and wind turbines in Council buildings and Council housing to developing and operating 2 solar farms on closed landfill sites in Buckley. Indeed in 2017-2018 the Council generated 4.5 million kWh of electricity from solar PV, wind, landfill gas and combined heat and power. This is around 5% of the Council’s electricity usage, or equivalent to the power used in around 1500 homes and approximately 2090 tonnes of carbon.

Now under the ‘Green Council’ Council Plan priority and the Renewable Energy Action Plan; the Council is seeking to further its commitment to renewable energy through developing a ground mounted solar PV scheme on the closed landfill site at Castle Park Industrial Estate, Flint. It is proposed to install 2 MW of ground mounted solar PV and associated infrastructure such as inverters, transformers etc. This will generate around 1.8 million kWh of electricity per year which is enough to power around 700 homes, saving approximately 800 tonnes of carbon a year. This will not only help reduce carbon emissions; mitigating climate change and air pollution but will also contribute towards the Council’s own carbon reduction target of 60% by 2021 and the Welsh Government’s target of Wales generating 70 per cent of its electricity consumption from renewable energy by 2030.

A planning application is being prepared and as part of the pre-application consultation the Council is holding a public exhibition between Thursday, 7 March and Wednesday, 3 April at Flint Library, Church Street, Flint, CH6 5AP. Representatives from the Council and the Council’s Planning Agent; Stephenson Halliday will be available on Monday, 18 March to take questions directly. The public exhibition will provide information on the proposal including location, designs, layouts and draft planning documentation/reports providing an opportunity for the local community to provide feedback and comments on the development before the planning application is formally submitted.

Information relating to the proposal or the public exhibition may be obtained by contacting the Council’s Planning Agent; Stephenson Halliday:

  • Post: Stephenson Halliday Ltd, 30 – 32 Lowther Street, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 4DH
  • Email: info@stephenson-halliday.com
  • Telephone: 0141 204 7900

The exhibition will be available to view during library opening hours:

  • Monday, Wednesday and Friday: 9am-5pm
  • Tuesday and Thursday: 9am-6pm
  • Saturday: 9am-1pm

It is hoped that the planning application will be formally considered by the Local Planning Authority later in the spring.

 

Come along and see what all the fuss is about: How the new developments at Jade Jones Pavilion are making waves!

In 2018, Jade Jones Pavilion Flint underwent a £936k development. Now, almost 6 months on since the new development opened in October 2018, colleagues and customers have expressed their enthusiasm and excitement.

The development included an extension of the existing fitness suite to create a 55 station gym, a refurbishment of the existing swimming pool wet changing rooms, and an increased poolside spectator viewing gallery.

Hannah Zeise, a local resident of Connah’s Quay, took her young daughter, Enfys, who was 6 months old at the time, for her first ever swim. Hannah and Enfys attended the Adult and Baby session which runs every Tuesday and Friday morning from 10.00-10.30am at Jade Jones Pavilion. Hannah kindly shared her thoughts with us, here’s what she had to say about the experience: “We had a great time for Enfys’ first ever swim, she took to it wonderfully. It was a lovely clean pool area as well as clean changing areas. Shona, the swimming co-ordinator was very friendly and welcoming and as I am very fussy and don’t like swimming much myself,  it made my experience much better, as well as the facility being so nice and clean.

“They had a family changing area where it was ideal for me and my little girl to get ready. It was spacious enough so I could put a mat on the floor for Enfys to play while I got myself ready. The spectator area gives other family members who don’t want to swim the opportunity to watch at the pool side so they can still be a part of the experience and not miss out.

“We had a toasted tea cake and coffee after the swim with the other parents that were there; the café served fabulous coffee and food was very nice with lots of options available on the menu. We will definitely be going back! We are excited to try out the Pirate Ship Soft Play facility as well as the Tenpin bowling alley when Enfys is older. We are lucky to have a great facility like this on our doorstep!”. See the below image of Hannah and Enfys enjoying the Adult and Baby session.

Hannah and Enfys' first swim

“The brand new changing village has modernised our swimming pool facilities with a variety of cubicles to suit our customers’ needs. We have team changing rooms for our local swimming club and state of the art equipment for our disabled users”, said Jordan Mapp-Jones, a Leisure Supervisor at Jade Jones Pavilion. Jordan expressed his enthusiasm about the new development, saying: “I think the development has had a really positive effect on the staff and we hope our customers are able to see the positive changes we are trying to make as Aura Leisure and Libraries.”

The development at Jade Jones – as well as the development of the fitness suites at Mold Leisure Centre which also took place in 2018 – represents a major commitment from Aura Leisure and Libraries to provide high quality facilities, with a variety of activities, to encourage more people to live happier, healthier and more active lifestyles.