Dilwyn Jones – Senior Play Unit Technician – Play Design Team
Aura’s Play Design Team is responsible for the inspection and maintenance of nearly 200 outdoor play facilities across the County. Whilst the vast majority of these play facilities are owned by Flintshire County Council, there has always been scope for Play Design to offer its technical expertise to other organisations as part of a formal contract with an accompanying service charge. The Play Design Team secured its first external service contract in Denbighshire in November 2018 and this arrangement is now in its second year. In February 2020, Aura secured its second annual contract with Treuddyn, a Community Council in Flintshire. Dilwyn Jones, Aura’s Senior Play Unit Technician, has conducted the initial inspection and accompanying report for both the Denbighshire and the Treuddyn service contracts. The impact of both of these inspection reports has been central to the two organisations’ decision to enter into a formal inspection and maintenance contract with Aura. Indeed, Treuddyn Community Council has commended Dilwyn on both his professionalism and the quality of his work.
Congratulations to Dilwyn on promoting the Aura values and for playing a central role in securing two commercial contracts for Aura.
Wes Billings – Swimming Coordinator
Congratulations to Wes for Winning the inaugural ‘Swim Wales Swimming Teacher of the Year Award’ at the Learn to Swim Conference 2020. Wes has been involved with swimming teaching for almost 20 years and his passion has seen a positive impact at Mold during the year 2019 whereby Mold’s learner numbers increased from a target of 680 to 724. Wes has been instrumental by surpassing targets due to positive interaction and engagement on social media platforms, conscious decisions to get to know every child he teachers, links with primary schools and partnership work with the two adjoining high schools. Over the course of 2019 Wes has introduced under 4 splash, mermaid, skilled sessions and wave 17+year old sessions to the programme plus taking the lead role for Mold’s Holiday club programme for Summer, October and Christmas 2019. Well Done Wes and keep up the positive work at Jade Jones Pavilion.
Steph Bryant – Duty Supervisor Mold
For her continued contribution and leadership skills to operate Mold as a Duty Supervisor by taking on further responsibilities to deliver and support the Learn to Swim programme during a period of a vacant Swim Coordinator post and taking a lead role to operate the centre in the absence of the Leisure Manager. During the same period Steph was involved with the Christmas holiday club activities as the lead coach by providing a Swimming Club Camp. Through the month of December Steph demonstrated the Aura’s values and the willingness to continue to provide a positive service for Mold and Aura customers by stepping into other roles and leading Mold team. Well Done Steph for your continued support at Mold LC.
Donna Bullivant – Evans – Disability Sport Wales Development Officer – Sports Development
For Donnas contribution and leadership displayed in Auras successful achievement of the Insport Silver Award. Not only did the panel report highlight Aura’s good work but it personally referenced Donna’s contribution in terms of helping embed the Insport principles across the organisation as well as inspiring staff to be advocates in their daily work. Donna has been instrumental in raising the profile of inclusive sport across Aura, developing participation and partnerships which has seen organisations such as Wales Rugby League wheelchair basketball base themselves from Deeside along with creating exciting new opportunities such as inclusive family ice skating. Donna has performed her daily job functions with a great deal of enthusiasm and professionalism and helps raise the profile of Aura through her networks and effervescent personality. Donna also leads the Community Chest panel of behalf of Aura, which distributes 60k annually into local sport which is over and above what is required and incredibly valuable to funding local sporting opportunities.
Vicky Harvey – Library Assistant – Buckley library
Vicky has built up her Rhymetime sessions in Buckley library from once every other week to two sessions per week. Since April she has had over 1521 attendees.
Her sessions are really popular with our customers and this is borne out by the positive feedback received from them, from helping children for whom English is not their first language to start singing and speaking English, to encouraging shy children and their parents to join in her fun sessions. Vicky really is helping families to start their Children’s literacy journey in Buckley Library.
A local Nursery even insisted Vicky was in their session in the Library again this year because they had enjoyed the story time so much the year before. Her hard work in this area helps to build on the positive image for Aura in the community. Vicky knows her customers young and old well and always strives to provide the best service for them, from dealing sensitively with our customers who have dementia to making a fuss of all the children who come in.
Vicky has also taken on the management of the stock in the Junior area, even in the busiest of times the stock is presented to the highest, user friendly standard. On top of this Vicky’s organisational skills are second to none and she ensures the day to running of the Library is up to speed and communicates information to her colleagues. She has also taken on coaching new members in her team to build up their confidence so they can run their own Rhymetime sessions. Vicky also works hard to find solutions to issues and uses her initiative and experience to resolve problems for the whole service. E.g. Library Management system issues. She is also always willing and enthusiastic to try new ways of working to help grow the service as a whole e.g. supplier to shelf delivery of stock, expansion to delivery of Events in the Library.
Tara Sansom – LMS Support Officer – Head Office
Tara has shown a lot of enthusiasm, passion and commitment with her role as part of the Workforce Voice, including being vice-chair and the development of the workforce newsletter which has now been running for 12 months and is a valuable resource for updating colleagues and providing information on all things Aura. In addition to this, recognition this month goes to Tara for her enormous contribution to the success of this year’s Annual General Meeting by not only organising great prizes for the employee survey prize draw, but also arranging the ‘birthday cakes’ and helping out on the day. Tara in her day to day role provides great customer service and support to colleagues on the Leisure Management System and with leisure bookings and always gives the impression that she loves her job whatever the challenge! Well done Tara and keep up the great effort.
Gary Dixon – Football Lead Coach (Aura Football)
August has seen the busiest summer camps Aura Football have seen. As Head of ‘Aura Football’ Gary’s initial task was to build a programme for Deeside Leisure Centre but now Aura Football is now delivering at all leisure centre sites, not just summer camps, and has also run a satellite camp in Holywell. Gary Dixon has been integral to this growth. We have a multiple different sessions running across the county including large scale festivals and tournaments and community engagement. A great example of this is the charity football tournament Gary organised with 30+ teams taking part raising over £600 for Homestart Flintshire. Over the summer We have seen an increase in playing opportunities across all sites with an overall increase of over 640 children with some additional figures still to come in! Gary’s desire and drive to ensure the growth and success of all of the Aura Football programmes has been clear to see. The one to one work Gary has taken part in with the development of our football coaches is evident to see and nothing shows this more than with the amazing feedback received from the parent of a young child who attended the Mold LC camp(great write up in Aura monthly newsletter)
Great work Gary and the whole of the Aura Football coaching team, keep up the amazing work.
Liz Gilligan – Library Assistant (Flint)
Liz’s enthusiasm, passion and energy for libraries and Aura is infectious and she loves to get out to promote our library services. Most recently at Flint Festival she devised and delivered Space Chase crafts session. Currently Liz is visiting many schools in Flint to promote the Summer Reading Challenge and has had some fantastic feedback from teachers for her assemblies and interactions with pupils. She inspires her colleagues and encourages them to develop their skills and ideas most notably with new members of the team at Flint. Liz has recently been sharing her knowledge of Makaton with colleagues across libraries to enable them to use Makaton signing in their Rhymetimes. She coordinated and delivered a course to library staff on Friday 28th June and is coaching individual staff to develop their skills and confidence using Makaton. Liz has also set up a very successful shared reading group in Flint Library called ‘Chatabout’ which is making a real difference to the well-being of the participants.
Giulio Bianco & Richard Ryland- Deeside Leisure Centre
Congratulations to Giulio Bianco & Richard Ryland on being voted as joint employees of the month for June 2019! This is in recognition of their dedication, commitment and hard work which has resulted in a dramatic improvement in the management of repairs & maintenance, servicing arrangements and energy consumption at Deeside Leisure Centre. Giulio and Richard have continued to develop their knowledge and skills enabling them to complete tasks beyond what was originally expected of them which has helped negate the rising cost of energy and reduce the reliance and costs associated to using external contractors. The impact of this great work has allowed for additional investment in improvement projects throughout the building providing value for money and a better service for our business and customers. It is also really important to also recognise the effort and assistance from colleagues on maintenance tasks and good energy housekeeping throughout the building which has no doubt helped improve the overall performance in this area.
Well done Giulio and Richard keep up the great work.
Mold Leisure Centre Team
The Mold Team was nominated for its response to a seriously ill customer who had collapsed in the sports hall. A special thank you to John Kirby, Toby Pritchard and Danielle Robinson who, alongside two off duty nurses, performed CPR and used the AED (on site defibrillator). The customer was subsequently taken to hospital since when he has made a full recovery. The Mold team also received positive comments and praise from the customer’s family, emergency services and the local community. The customer has since visited the leisure centre to say thank you to the team for saving his life.
It is also important to mention the monthly National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ) training provided by Lee Tovey at Mold and how the impact of the first aid element is so vital in terms of saving someone’s life.
A very big well done to you all
Marilyn Oldham (Mal) – Library Assistant (Holywell)
Mal has been put forward for the employee of month for her outstanding contribution to the delivery of Library Services at Holywell Library.
Mal’s work with the community encapsulates the Aura values, she is enthusiastic in all that she does and her fun approach to assisting in activities is inspiring to both colleagues and the community she serves. Mal has recently demonstrated particularly good customer service skills during the Summer Reading Challenge, delighting the participants with her Minnie the Minx character.
Mal was also recently praised by a member of the community on how she dealt with a customer living with Dementia. Her care, compassion and concern for their wellbeing has been acknowledged by their whole family and gained Aura Leisure and Libraries some new valued customers. Mal’s understanding of stock helps her make the right choices for both Library customers and Housebound Service. In addition Mal provides a much valued service role in Halkyn running the Community Library each week.
Well done Mal!
Adam Renshaw – Fitness Instructor (Deeside Leisure Centre)
Adam is a fitness instructor at Deeside Leisure and has led recently on the set up and promotion of the Corporate Fitness package for Aura, this piece of work formed part of the 2018/19 business plan and Adam has proactively taken a lead on this for Fitness in Flintshire. Having contacted a number of corporate companies we are now in a position to report we have 100 members who have signed up to corporate memberships, which has successfully contributed to delivering the outcome on the business plan. He has also visited corporate companies to promote health and well-being of employees with his supervisor and always displays enthusiasm and energy for delivering high quality fitness in Deeside. Well done Adam what a fantastic achievement.
Chris Evans – Library Assistant (Buckley)
Chris Evans is a long standing member of staff at Buckley library, she is a positive and enthusiastic member of the team and has fully embraced the new initiatives introduced as we became Aura.
In particular, Chris has taken leading the new weekly social groups in the library in her stride. She has built up the weekly clubs attendance and now has a large group of regulars who attend. Chris’s group is a mixed group with a range of abilities and ages. She ensures all are happy and puts them at ease with her friendly and caring attitude.
Some group members are living with Dementia and again, Chris ensures that all enjoy the session by going out of her way to ensure they all have the right materials. Through conversations with her group Chris also chooses books she thinks may bring back good memories for individuals.
Chris genuinely makes a difference to the lives of the individuals that attend her group and this nomination is well deserved.
Toby Pritchard, Leisure Attendant (Mold)
Toby is a Leisure Attendant and Swimming Teacher based at Mold Leisure Centre, the management team nominated him for the continued high standard of lessons that he delivers, and the ‘above and beyond’ nature and attitude that he has in carrying out all of his duties and responsibilities. Toby demonstrates and upholds the aura values and behaviours and this is reflected in the feedback received from customers who have taken the time to contact Aura and outline their thoughts on his lessons and service, he has along with the other Swimming Teachers at Mold contributed positively towards the significant growth in swimming lessons we have seen. Toby also fulfils the role of Safeguarding Champion at Mold and has received positive feedback.
Sue Hipkiss, Library Assistant (Mold)
Sue Hipkiss is a Library Assistant at Mold Library. Over the last year she has been extremely enthusiastic in supporting the delivery and establishment of the Library Core Activities programme and inspiring and supporting her colleagues to do the same. She has been particularly instrumental in enabling the library service to deliver activities against the digital and learning universal offers for our customers. Sue has a wealth of experience relating to family history research and the use of online resources such as Ancestry and Find My Past which are available in our libraries. Sue has put together a training package for her colleagues so that they can support customers and she has delivered sessions for library staff across the service to enable them to do this. She has also run 2 successful courses at Mold Library for members of the public with another due to take place in February. Attendees of the first course were so inspired that with Sue’s encouragement they have set up a ‘Family History group’ to support each other. She is also very happy to support other colleagues with enquiries as they gain confidence using the resources.
Ian Foster – Ice Rink Coordinator
We are pleased to announce Ian in recognition of a year-on-year 45% increase in skate UK lessons and key partnership work towards the retention and future sustainability of the adult and junior sections of Deeside Dragons ice hockey club. He has also overseen the incredibly successful introduction of the inclusive skate session and the significant improvement in the marketing and promotion of seasonal events. Whilst recognising Ian in this way, we also know he himself would be the first to acknowledge the team effort that goes into maintaining our Ice Rink and as such special recognition should also go to the support from colleagues in the management team, sports development, coaches, volunteers and the team based in the ice rink.
Safeguarding Team – Michelle Thomas, Steve Thomas & Kirsty Hughes
We are grateful to Michelle, Steve and Kirsty for their enthusiasm, imagination and commitment in the planning and delivery of safeguarding training programme for our entire organisation. Safeguarding our customers, communities and colleagues is vitally important to us as an organisation. Not only has the team worked with individual sites and managers to ensure every Aura building now has a safeguarding champion, they have also put together a comprehensive workshop programme that is currently being rolled out. The aim is to ensure that our entire workforce is trained to understand safeguarding issues and its importance. A very big thankyou to you all !
Theo Chaddock – Library Assistant
Theo joined Aura Libraries as a relief colleague in the autumn of 2017, and was successfully appointed to a permanent position within the team in March 2018. He currently works in Connah’s Quay Library and consistently provides a high quality service to our customers. His enthusiasm and talent for filmmaking and editing made him an obvious choice when we first started talking about doing something a little different for our first AGM. Theo soon got to work and started to put together a short film to tell people what it is we do at Aura . I think everyone would agree that the end result was an amazing testament to the fantastic work that Aura does and clearly demonstrates how we can and do make a difference to the lives of local residents. We congratulate Theo for his excellent work which helped make the AGM such a success.
Jason Richards, Swimming Coordinator, Buckley Leisure Centre
As Swimming Coordinator Jason has been an integral part of the team at Buckley since moving from Connah’s Quay in early part 2016. When he left Connah’s Quay the Learn to Swim programme had the highest numbers it had ever had. He continued this trend when he moved and the programme at Buckley has grown by almost 28% over the last 2 years and now stands a 1000 children on learn to swim, a high percentage of which have been encouraged to pay via direct debit. Jason will be the first to say that the success of the programme is down to a team effort, as well as an understanding of the importance of the programme as a core part of our business and the willingness of everyone to adapt to the customer needs. He works tirelessly to reach the targets and encourages others to do the same. He seems to know all of the children by their first names and on any given day at Buckley you will see and hear him talking to customers and interacting with the children on the programme. Well done Jason.
Dan Williams – School and Community Sports Coordinator (Sports Development)
Dan has been recognised for this exceptional work on the Park Lives project running this summer. Working in 5 parks around Flintshire aspiring to get families engaged in physical activity, working with the PCSO, youth service, fire service, drug and alcohol team. Dan has established strong links with StreetGames and secured funding for future for these projects. In addition to this he has also been supporting the existing sport hubs that are already established. The project has run for 5 weeks during the summer holidays promoting health and wellbeing for all the family, using the inflatable pitch, the body zorbs and all the multi-sport equipment. We are currently in the 3rd week of delivery and have had over 300 attending the 5 parks lives session. Lastly, Dan has also set up courses to assist all staff in dealing with anti-social behaviour such as the alcohol and drug awareness course and the challenging behaviour course.
Sian Roberts – Library Assistant – Mold Library
Sian is a full time Library Assistant at Mold Library and always gives 100% in everything she does. She always goes the extra mile for customers and colleagues and is an asset to the team and to Aura. An example of this is all the translation work that Sian does for her colleagues in libraries. Sian is a native welsh speaker and happily translates posters and other material for our libraries on top of her other duties. She always does this quickly and accurately and with a smile regardless of the demands of the day. This enables us to get material out quickly at no cost to Aura. Sian also delivers many events and activities in Welsh at Mold such as story times and holiday activities. She is a friendly and caring face to our many Welsh speaking customers and is supportive of her colleagues in their attempts to learn the language. Sian was also very happy to visit the Welsh medium schools in Mold, Flint and Holywell to promote this year’s Summer Reading Challenge ‘Mischief Makers’ and encourage the children to take part. She has also delivered class visits at Holywell Library.
The programmes that these two employees are running are of great value and given that they are so similar we decided to award it to both of them.
Lisa Jones – (Customer Advisor, Deeside Leisure Centre)
Lisa had the idea to set up a social club for over 60’s and others at Deeside Leisure Centre, she was inspired to get people visiting our Leisure Centre for social purposes, tackling isolation and wanted to provide something enjoyable for this group of people within the community. She is a Dementia Champion, a subject she is passionate about, she has recently been signed off as an accredited dementia friends trainer and is delivering dementia friends training to her group. She does this in her own time but is also a very customer focused employee and is working hard to raise awareness of dementia within the community which is a great asset to Aura, well done Lisa.
Andy Bacon – (Attendant, Jade Jones Pavilion)
Andy had identified a need to develop and run a form a social group / club within the centre. He wanted to get people visiting the centre, to tackle community isolation and improve engagement at Jade Jones Pavilion. Andy went on a bowls workshop and decided to work with the management team to implement a social bowls session. Andy now delivers a social bowls session for community members every Tuesday and the feedback on the session has been great, Andy was also involved in delivering a session at the dementia friendly event at Jade Jones and is working towards becoming a Dementia Champion. It is great that Andy has got involved in something new having been an Attendant working in Flint for many years. A big well done and keep up the good work.
A big well done and congratulations to you both!
Emma joined Aura back in the Autumn of 2017 through the Flintshire Trainee programme as our very first library apprentice, and from day one has been a fantastic addition to our team .
She is hardworking, positive and enthusiastic with excellent customer service skills . She has taken every opportunity to learn and develop within her role, and was recently appointed to a permanent position as library assistant at Mold library. Emma has the work ethic, attitude and ability to go far in her career.
Emma’s successes in 2018 continue to inspire, with her being named as Foundation Trainee of the year 2018 and asked to present her work at the Welsh National CILIP Libraries Conference.
A big well done and congratulations!
MATTHEW DOWNES – (Leisure Attendant / Ice Steward) – Part Time
Matty was nominated by a number of his colleagues at Deeside Leisure Centre as well as members of the Deeside Leisure Centre Management team. All of the people who nominated Matty mentioned his efforts in going over and above to actively promote, market and advertise the Ice Rink Disco, which has seen a really big rise in numbers of people attending as a result.
Matty has also been extremely proactive in the implementation of a new system in which is now used to sell Ice Skating Aids (penguins and polar bears) to customers, even to the extent of identifying and implementing this system as well as providing employees with the necessary training in his own time. Implementing this system has seen a marked increase in sales compared to the same period last year and better service to the customers.
Matty is only contracted to a small number of hours with Aura and this goes to show what can be achieved in a small amount of time!
A big well done and congratulations!
REG COLLINS (Caretaker / Housebound Assistant)
Reg was nominated by his library managers and support officers for his exceptional and noted services to the housebound customers, library customers and library colleagues. He has received a number of compliments from these customers whose comments include that Reg is exceptionally helpful, reliable and friendly. Some of these customers are very isolated and this service and Reg, in particular, are extremely valued.
It is noted that Reg regularly goes above and beyond what is required of him and is caring and compassionate to his colleagues (demonstrating the Aura Way)
A big well done and congratulations!
JORDAN MAPP – JONES (Duty Supervisor)
Jordan was nominated by Leisure Operations Managers and other colleagues for his outstanding work commitments and efforts in relation to the role he played in the running of Theatre Clwyd Christmas Ice Rink.
Not an easy task to complete all of the required risk assessments, operating procedures and staffing challenges over the Christmas period and still managing to deliver great customer service to the Theatre and the visitors to the Ice Rink . He also managed the adversity and the challenge that unforeseen weather conditions present (and of all things to contend with it was snow!!), this was dealt with professionally and efficiently. Notable recognition goes to Jordan in the efforts made to presenting the monitoring and evaluation of the project in financial terms.
The management team also would like to recognise that this was a very big team success with other leisure colleagues heavily involved in its initiation and delivery.
A big well done and congratulations!