County Voice

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Local Development Plan consultation closes

Many thanks to those of you who dropped by to see us at our Local Development Plan (LDP) drop in sessions in Llangollen, Ruthin and Rhyl.

The LDP draft Preferred Strategy consultation is now underway. The new LDP will replace the existing one once adopted (anticipated 2021) and will cover the period 2018 – 2033.

The draft Preferred Strategy is the first major stage in the preparation process and sets out the overall proposed growth levels for employment land and housing, along with a broad sense of where growth will be directed. There are no specific land allocations or detailed policies at this stage. The more detailed work will be consulted upon in 2020.

The candidate sites register that accompanies the main consultation documents shows land that has been submitted by landowners for consideration in the new LDP. At this stage none of these sites are indicated for inclusion in the LDP by the Council but comments and any local knowledge are welcomed on them.

All of the consultation documents are available in libraries and one-stop shops as well as online via the Council's website.

Anyone can send comments in, up to Friday 30th August. You can do this via the consultation portal, e-mail or comments form.  The Local Development Plan team are available to answer any questions during normal office hours.  You can e-mail them at planningpolicy@denbighshire.gov.uk or phone on 01824 706916.

All comments received will be reported back to Council along with proposed changes to the draft Preferred Strategy by the end of 2019.

More information can be found on our website.

Countdown to Eisteddfod proclamation begins

Come and see us at the proclamation ceremony for the Urdd Eisteddfod, taking place on Saturday, October 5th in Prestatyn.

The parade will begin at the town’s leisure centre and high school site before travelling towards the High Street and down towards the Nova and to Bastion Fields.

There, the council and a host of other organisations will be hosting fun activities for the whole family.   Schools will also be performing on a stage being provided by the Urdd.

This is a great opportunity to showcase Denbighshire and to announce officially that the Eisteddfod will be returning to the county in May 2020.

For further details about the proclamation ceremony, please visit: www.urdd.org

Get yourselves prepared

September is Preparedness Month – #30days30waysuk - with a focus on providing advice and information to you on a wide range of issues about your health and well-being.

All councils, Welsh Government, the emergency services and utility companies have joined forces to run a social media campaign throughout the month, with a focus on a different topic each day.

Each day there will be advice and information on all kinds of things – from requesting safe and well checks from the fire and rescue service, creating a home emergency plan, safer driving, details about the Choose Well This Winter campaign, fire safety advice, what to do if you have no power, advice on cyber crime safety, driving in winter and much more.

You can follow the messages from September 1st through the Council’s Facebook account: www.facebook.com/denbighshirecountycouncil or Twitter: www.twitter.com/denbighshirecc.

Get involved in the conversation by using the hashtag #northwalesresilience #30days30waysuk.

Free Caravan and Motorhome Weight Checks

Residents in Denbighshire, or anybody passing through the county who own caravans or campervans are urged to take advantage of free weight checks and safety advice from Trading Standards – to make sure they stay on the right side of the law.

Why are we holding these weight check days?

The Council's Trading Standards department want to educate all road users about the risks of overloading. Overloading vehicles not only causes damage to roads and your vehicle but it also puts other road users at risk.

Our aim is not to catch people overloading their vehicle, we’d rather people didn’t do it in the first place.

Who is carrying out the weight checks?

Officers of Denbighshire Trading Standards will be on site to carry out the weight check and advise the owner accordingly. An officer from North Wales Police's Community Safety Team may attend to advise about caravan security. No other agencies will be present.

If I attend the weighbridge, what will it involve?

Pop along with your caravan or motorhome loaded as if you were going away on holiday and we will check the gross weight or train weight (car and touring caravan) and the axle weights. We want to make sure that you are not exceeding any of the plated weights of your vehicle.

What if I am Overloaded?

We will work with you to advise and reduce the load to an acceptable safe amount. There will be no enforcement action taken against you. We want to make sure you are legal and safe to travel on your journey and understand what weights you can carry safely.

Will I be provided with any documentation?

You will be handed a copy of the weighbridge certificate after being weighed, so you have a record of what your vehicle weighed and a reminder of what extra you may be able to load onto the vehicle.

Do I need to bring anything else with me?

Make sure that you have any hand books with you for your car/ motorhome or caravan, just in case we can’t identify the location of the weight plates. You can also bring your driver’s licence if you’re unsure about your eligibility and towing weight restrictions.

The free “Check Your Weight” sessions are being held at the Weighbridge on the A525 between Rhuddlan and St Asaph on the following dates and times.

  • Wednesday, 4 September (12pm - 4pm)
  • Friday, 20 September (9am - 1pm) 
  • Friday, 27 September (9am - 1pm)

You don’t need to make an appointment, you can simply pop along between the listed times on the dates mentioned and find out if your vehicle is within its legal weights. Whilst there you can chat about the security of your caravan/ motorhome with an officer from North Wales Police's Community Safety Team. 

The weighbridge can be found on the Rhuddlan to St Asaph A525 road, approximately ¾ of a mile from Rhuddlan, located in the layby.

There will be signs indicating the weighbridge is in operation.

Recycling and Waste

Your new friendly neighbourhood recycling advisors are here to help!

It is a big year for recycling! All councils must reach at least 64% recycling of their household waste to avoid penalties from Welsh Government.  Thanks to the commitment and hard work of the waste collection crews, recycling officers and members of the public, Denbighshire has hit this target for several years now – but each year it’s getting harder because the weight of easily recyclable waste in our rubbish is getting less and less.  Manufacturers are making glass and plastic bottles lighter and the electronic age has lessened the demand for printed material. This means we have to work harder to capture other recyclable everyday items that are thrown away.  In a bid to secure at least 64% recycling this year we have recruited three extra recycling advisors. 

Since July, Katie (left), Ryan (centre) and Paul (right) have been visiting households where we know residents are confused about which bin to put their rubbish in or are not currently recycling much at all.  They join an experienced team of three other officers to offer advice around collection times and storage, check households have the right sized containers and help people understand which bin to use for different kinds of rubbish.

We also have 10,000 food waste caddies to give out over the next 2 years to make sure everyone is recycling their food waste. A quarter of the black residual bin (by weight) is unwanted food, despite our weekly food waste kerbside collection service being available to most households across the county.

We are the third best local authority area in Wales for the amount of food waste we collect thanks to the efforts of so many dedicated Denbighshire recyclers.  But we need everyone to go that extra mile to make sure none of their food waste is put in the black bin.  There is still too much unopened food waste being thrown away in the black bin, meaning the food or its packaging are wasted when they could have been separated for recycling.  Clean plastic, metal and card based packaging can usually be recycled into new products and food waste is turned into a soil fertilizer to help return valuable, much needed nutrients to our local soils.  The process the food waste goes through also creates renewable energy. Our Anaerobic Digestion facility in St Asaph produces enough electricity to power more than 2000 homes.

If you produce food waste but don’t yet recycle it, please contact us straight away to arrange delivery of your free kitchen caddy, kerbside caddy and compostable liners.  The Council has the legal powers to fine households who choose not to recycle, so it is important everyone has the containers they need to put household rubbish out for collection in the right way.  You can complete an online form at any time via the Council’s website to request your food waste recycling kit, or call 01824 706000 during normal working hours.

There are a small number of households that we do not currently offer a food waste service to due to their remote rural location.  However, funding from Welsh Government is being sought to enable these properties to be added to our food waste recycling service later this year.

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Gentleman Jack and The Ladies of Llangollen

Anne Lister (1791–1840), now known as ‘the first modern lesbian’, visited Sarah Ponsonby on her travels through North Wales in 1822. She was an enthusiastic traveller, and recorded much of her experience at Plas Newydd as part of her daily diary.

The Ladies of Llangollen feature heavily in the very first research and influence boards for BBC / HBO drama Gentleman Jack. Set in 1832 West Yorkshire, Gentleman Jack is inspired by the true-story and coded journals of Anne Lister (played by Suranne Jones), and follows her attempt to revitalize her inherited home, Shibden Hall.

Tom Pye, costume designer for the series, was particularly influenced by the Ladies of Llangollen when designing the spectacular costumes for Suranne Jones. He states: “My research into Anne Lister told me she wore a small black soft cap, probably created with velvet.

"I tried a few shapes along these lines, but it didn’t seem to be able to convey an understanding to a modern audience of the power or status that could be achieved with a top hat.

"I was particularly influenced by the Ladies of Llangollen, Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby. Like Anne, they also wore all black, and they wore top hats.

"There’s no mention of a top hat by Anne in her diary, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t own one.”

You can view Anne Lister’s journal entries, alongside copies of the initial costume sketches and idea boards, seven days a week at Plas Newydd Historic House, Llangollen.

A Denbighshire chef has been busy introducing Japan to the delights of Welsh cuisine

A Denbighshire chef has been busy introducing Japan to the delights of Welsh cuisine.

Steve Thomas, who runs the tea rooms at Plas Newydd museum in Llangollen, is being featured in a Japanese TV travel programme about Wales.

“It’s a long running show which over the years has filmed across the world,” explained Steve.

“With the Rugby World Cup being hosted by Japan this September they have been filming attractions in Wales and one of the things they wanted to include was our traditional food.”

The TV crew was interviewing people at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod when they were told a visit to see Steve at work in the Plas Newydd kitchens would be highly recommended.

“They phoned up to ask if they could come over here. We made them welcome and I presented two dishes. One was lamb cawl and the other was chicken with leeks in a tarragon sauce,” said Steve.

“The crew tried them both and were most enthusiastic, the meals went down well. So much so that afterwards they even bought scones and Welsh cakes to tuck into for the journey back.”

July has proved to be packed full of activities for Plas Newydd. One of the major events was acting as the host venue for the launch of a mobile phone app promoting the Welsh language and heritage to hikers and walkers. It works by highlighting the original place names and area’s history to the devices’ owners.

Plas Newydd was delighted to be one of the sites used by the ever-popular Llangollen Fringe Festival to perform a laughter-filled production.

The museum’s picturesque grounds were also the backdrop for a special artistic day entitled The Big Draw – where budding artists could come together as a group and commit the beautiful landscape to paper.

Plas Newydd are offering 10 Things To Do In The Dee Valley. The project celebrates the 10th anniversary of the inscription of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal as a World Heritage Site and is designed to give families plenty to do as they enjoy getting out and about.

Participants are able to take part in a fresh challenge at each host destination. At Plas they can tackle a meticulously-laid trail, using just a special map for clues as they track down a series of objects placed throughout the grounds.

And there’s been a great response to an environmentally friendly initiative at Plas. The site has started to grow its own plants in a specially built poly-tunnel using organic peat-free compost.

Some of the plants are to be used in the grounds to increase the flowering period with others being made available for sale to the public.

“There are been a great deal of interest in this, which is very pleasing,” said Plas Newydd gardener Neil Rowlands.

Landscapes for Life Week 21 – 29 September 2019 #♥L4L

The Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB will be joining all of the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Wales & England to celebrate ‘Landscapes for Life Week #♥L4L.

We call it Landscapes for Life Week, because we’re committed to our iconic national landscapes forever. And those landscapes are so much more than a view – they are landscapes for living. They are a place for nature – which AONB partnerships are actively working to conserve and enhance. They are a place for industry – they are the living, breathing factory floor of our British food industry. They are a place of tranquillity, rootedness and wellbeing, treasured by generations of people seeking peace, exercise and leisure; truly our Natural Health Service.

Landscapes for Life Week is the AONB Family’s week (and a bit) long programme of events to help people reconnect with nature by enjoying and being inspired by the UK’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). This year it takes place from Saturday 21st – Sunday 29th September 2019.

Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB are contributing four events to celebrate the week.

During the week follow us on Twitter @Clwyd_Dee_AONB #♥L4L; Facebook @clwydianrangeanddeevalley, @naaonb @AONBFamily #NaturalHealthService

Countryside Services

Glasdir: living classrooms inspiring children’s interest in nature

Countryside Service has been working on an exciting living classroom partnership with Rhos Street Primary School.

A number of years ago, Countryside Service took over the management of Glasdir in Ruthin, as mitigation land for a new nearby housing estate, with a view to creating a partnership with the local school. Over the past few years, Countryside Service staff worked hard to transform this overgrown area into a haven for wildlife.

We have been working on an area of willow with ditching, which has been identified as ideal water vole habitat. The school have been helping to coppice the willow along the banks of the ditches to allow more light into the water. Further into the site, we are continuing to improve the pond, which was excavated in 2017. Pupils got involved in planting native wildflower plugs, a mixture specially selected for its suitability to wetland habitats. The children enjoy birdwatching from the hide, also built in 2017.

 The bird hide

Recently, pupils planted an orchard consisting of Denbigh plum, Welsh Cox and Nant Gwytheyrn apples. After camera traps were installed, the children enjoyed viewing footage of mammals, including badgers and foxes, exploring the site. They have also been learning about insect pollinators with the installation of solitary bee boxes, which are proving popular with red mason and leafcutter bees. The newly-planted wildflower turf has been a great success, with the resulting bloom shown in the photo.

Wildflower turf in bloom

Earlier this year, we hosted an open evening at Glasdir to give families of the school pupils a chance to see their work. Families enjoyed exploring the site, and had a go at using bat detectors.

Bat detectors in use at the family evening event

In June, Maria Golightly from Grow Wild Wales visited the Living Classroom, along with project leaders from the Morfa Gateway Project in Prestatyn. They were greatly impressed by the efforts of both the Countryside Service and the school. During the visit, pupils installed signs for the orchard trees, and enjoyed some moth trapping.

Moth trapping with Maria from Grow Wild

The children look forward to getting outside, learning about nature and doing something different to traditional lessons. “Rhos Street School is proud and enthusiastic to be part this unique partnership. ‘The Living Classroom’ enables us to provide meaningful and enjoyable environmental tasks and experiences in the wider countryside. This hands-on experience is vital for the children to recognise and value the role they play in a sustainable future”, said Joanne Davies, Eco Co-ordinated, Rhos Street School. We will be continuing our work with Rhos Street School at Glasdir in the Autumn term, and hope this project will spark an interest in nature for future generations.

New Road Verge Policy

Roadside verges have become increasingly important on a local, national and international setting people are becoming aware of their importance as havens for wildlife, plants and pollinators. Unlike many other grassland habitats, the road verges have been left primarily untouched by fertilisers, pesticides or herbicides that can have detrimental effects on our wild species.

There are over 700 species of plant that have been recorded in Britain on road verges (45% of all our flora species). This includes some very rare examples, such as the Bithynian vetch (Vicia bithynica) which is listed as a Denbighshire Local Biodiversity Action Plan priority species and as vulnerable on the UK International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List. By managing our verges correctly we enable a range of wildlife to thrive; from invertebrates to reptiles, amphibians, birds and small mammals.

Since 1930 the UK has lost 97% of its wildflower meadows while England and Wales have less than 1% of the pre-war total area of unimproved lowland meadow remaining. This catastrophic loss of habitat has had massive detrimental effects on insect and plant populations across the UK. For instance, numbers of invertebrate species such as butterfly, moth and ground beetle are showing a decline of between 65 – 70% over recent decades, with many more species now highly threatened.

A report titled ‘The State of Britain’s Butterflies, 2015’ noted that 76% of the UK’s resident and regular migrant butterfly species had declined in either abundance or occurrence (or both) over the past four decades (Fox et al., 2015). While a study by Goulson et al. in 2008, noted that three of the 25 bumblebee species in the UK had become extinct with another eight species experiencing drastic population shrinkages.

Sadly, the outlook for bees is no better. The European Red List of Bees, indicated that a lack of information has severely limited establishing the status of bee species populations, with 79% of the species having unknown population trends. Unfortunately there is currently no official data for trends in wild bee populations for Wales, so populations may be heading towards extinction faster than we think.

The Council’s new verge policy

We are looking to reverse the decline in pollinators and other invertebrate species through the creation of wildflower rich habitats along our road verge network by implementing its new road verge policy.

For the first time, our Corporate Plan has a section on the environment which has included bees as a priority species within the county. With this in mind, the council’s new road verge policy will attempt to increase the overall available habitat and food sources for bees and other pollinators while maintaining the safety of its road users.

The new policy has been developed in conjunction with the North Wales Wildlife Trust, the Bodfari Woodland Skills Centre and a local group (Life on the Verge), with whom the council has worked with for over 10 years.

The verge policy focuses on roads outside the 30-40mph limit and non-principal roads. These roads will be cut once a year after the 1st August, in what will be known as a biodiversity cut. This will also include the removal of the cuttings (where appropriate) which will reduce the nutrients re-entering the soil and limit the growth of brambles, nettles and other more rapidly growing nutrient-loving species in favour of the more slow growing wildflower species.

This cut will be done on roughly 78% of the total road verge network in the county and is made up of over 1,800km of potential wildflower habitat. The single biodiversity cut allows enough time for plants to flower and seed while ensuring a prolonged period of feeding for pollinators and other insects who are then also able to lay their eggs in safer habitats.

A safety splay of 1m wide will still be in place (where appropriate) to ensure the safety of Denbighshire’s road users while also enhancing and developing our road verges as wildlife rich corridors.

We ask all Denbighshire residents to please get behind this policy and help us increase our counties biodiversity by not cutting road verges, even if they do look a little untidy. Wildflower meadows will look better and better over time as they establish themselves, so we can all look forward to having wonderful wildlife and pollinator friendly road verges throughout our beautiful county as Denbighshire aims to become the most ‘Bee Friendly’ county in Wales!

A season of successes for Gronant Dunes and the Little Terns

Possibly the BEST DAY EVER!”, “I don’t want to leave!”, “Thank you so much for bringing us here!”

These are just some of the sentiments that have been said this season from the school groups that have visited Gronant and the little terns.

This season saw the beginning of a new focus for the little tern colony at Gronant, which was brought on by the transition from EU Life+ funding to the Welsh Government’s Landfill Disposal Tax Community Scheme, administered by the Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA).

The focus was to introduce this site with all its wonders to the local communities of Rhyl and Prestatyn to help in the conservation of the little terns and other resident species.

For the community to be able to help conserve the Gronant dunes site and the inhabiting species, they first need to know about it. It is a tucked away site that even some people who have lived there all their lives don’t know about. The best way to achieve this is through schools. They are the keystones of the local communities that have far reaching effects, because if you can inspire the children and the teachers the message will be passed onto the parents and onwards. In total five primary schools and one secondary school took part, with three to four classes visiting from each, totalling 450 children and teachers. At this age everything is exciting, and this enthusiasm is key to learning. So, instead of just showing and telling about the terns, they learnt through actively taking part.

The outdoor classroom was heavily based around the beach, because what child doesn’t love the beach? The terns provided a good focus for the day. After showing them the colony, they went to the beach and took part in activities that allowed them creative freedom while just being allowed to be children and play. This included beachcombing and making egg box treasure chests, building little tern nests, making little tern beach murals, painting Gronant rocks, crafting sea creatures, and some little tern based beach games.

We have set off a ripple effect. We are getting more families and more members of the public out and about enjoying the outdoors, encouraging the development of a more respectful attitude towards their surrounding environment and the desire to get involved in its conservation.

And of course, what about the terns?

Have they had just as good a season as us? The answer is undoubtedly yes! This has been one of the best seasons yet, with good levels of protection from 3km of electric fencing put up by Council staff and North Wales Little Tern Group volunteers, and sterling wardening by both we have seen low levels of predation, which alongside favourable weather conditions have put us on track for record numbers of fledglings.

So a season of successes all round!

For this work to continue the critical thing is to promote communal ownership of our natural spaces and environment, these are our spaces to enjoy and protect. It isn’t solely the job of local authorities, NGOs, or other landowners, it is the job of all of us who use and enjoy these sites. The community and the terns exist in symbiosis at Gronant, mutual benefits are gained by each other’s presence, thus making the funding from the WCVA so critical to both. These natural spaces are all of ours’, for the benefit of nature and the community, that’s what we hope to show here at Gronant.

 

Our Picturesque Landscape

Corwen remembers the 1919 Peace Eisteddfod

This year marks the 100 year anniversary since the Peace Eisteddfod was held in Corwen in 1919. It was a very special occasion being the first Eisteddfod following the Great War and particularly important for Corwen to be the town to host this special event.

To mark the occasion, the National Lottery-funded Our Picturesque Landscape project, has been working with local artists to support the community in a commemorative event.

The pupils of Ysgol Caer Drewyn learnt about the traditions of the Eisteddfod and the actual events that took place in Corwen in 1919, such as:

  • how the A5 road was closed for the Eisteddfod week;
  • how 4 platforms were built at Corwen train station; and
  • how the harpist, Nansi Richards, overslept and arrived late in her night dress and a large overcoat to play her harp and had to stay dressed like that for the whole hot August day!

They also enjoyed using their imaginations to decide what happened to the 1919 Corwen National Eisteddfod Chair, the whereabouts of which is still a mystery to this day.

A commemorative community event took place on Wednesday 10th July where a procession led by the pupils went from Canolfan Ni up to the Gorsedd circle in Coed Pen y Pigyn. Members of the wider community joined in to remember the 1919 Corwen National Eisteddfod together. For the procession, the children at Ysgol Caer Drewyn and some of their parents created giant Druid puppets. The children, who are aged 7-11 formed a percussion band to create a celebratory atmosphere for the procession and they developed drama and dance performances based on the actual happenings at the Eisteddfod in 1919, to perfrom at the Gorsedd at Pen Y Pigyn. The local community were also involved. Groups from Canolfan Ni including the Vale of Clwyd MIND group and the lunch club together with the nursery school children used printing techniques to create banners and flags to decorate the procession. Following the procession the community enjoyed refreshments at the Corwen Museum and spent time enjoying the exhibits.

The occasion was also filmed for the future, to remind people in 100 years’ time how Corwen celebrated this important centenary. You can view the film on the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB Facebook Page.

Following the event in July, members of the community took the Druid puppets to this year’s National Eisteddfod in Llanrwst to remind people of the anniversary of the 1919 National Peace Eisteddfod and encourage people to come and visit Corwen.

Celebrating 10 years as a UNESCO World Heritage Site

10 years ago, in Seville, the 33rd session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee examined the nomination of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal and inscribed the property on the World Heritage List.  

The 11-mile site is a testament to the engineers of the time, and exemplifying new approaches to engineering developed during the industrial revolution and used subsequently in waterway, railway and road construction throughout the world.  

We join the collection of 1092 World Heritage Sites in the world. We are one of the 31 in the UK or one of the 3 in Wales.

To celebrate this 10-year anniversary a range of activities are taking place this year. There was a canal trip organised on the 27th June, the anniversary of the inscription for those involved during the initial inscription process as well as those who are involved in managing the site today.

A world Heritage Site fun day was held at Trevor on the 29th June, which was a great day involving the local community in stalls and activities leading up to the event including making very striking banners and bunting, as well as a piece of dance being commissioned and performed at the event.

There was a presence at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod which was very colourful and generated a lot of interest. It was a really useful way of promoting that the site is 11 miles long and not just focused around the Aqueduct.

We have been working in partnership with Wrexham County Borough Council, the Canal & River Trust and Techniquest Glyndŵr.

There are more activities planned for the rest of the year which will culminate with the World Heritage UK conference in October at Llangollen Pavilion.

There will be an exhibition of all the artwork that has been produced by the various groups throughout the year at Ty Pâwb in Wrexham in November and a unique musical event in Ty Pâwb on the 14th of November which will feature some specially commissioned poetry and music with inspiration taken from the Aqueduct and Canal.

Further updates will be posted on 'Watch the Pontcysyllte' social media pages.

Education Matters

Ysgol Carreg Emlyn pupils settling in well to their new school

Ysgol Carreg Emlyn pupils are reaping the benefits of their new school building, following moving in to the new site in June.

The Welsh medium community school has previously operated on both the Clocaenog and Cyffylliog sites since the amalgamation of Ysgol Clocaenog and Ysgol Cyffylliog in 2014.

The new site includes new classrooms, additional learning areas, hall, community room, external play areas, new vehicle access and car parking with a drop-off area.

The new building will cater for up to 95 pupils aged 3 to 11 from a network of villages surrounding Clocaenog, five miles south-west of Ruthin, including Cyffylliog, Bontuchel, Clawddnewydd and Derwen.

The project was funded by the Council and the Welsh Government as part of its 21st Century Schools and Education Programme.

The main contractor Wynne Construction started on site in May 2018 and during the construction phase staff and pupils visited the site at key milestones during the project to view the progress.

The design includes eco-friendly features such as an electronic building management system, energy-free ventilation, natural lighting and timber framing, which provides added insulation.

Einir Wynne Jones, headteacher of Ysgol Carreg Emlyn, said: “The new school has been a long time in waiting and we think it is brilliant.

“The pupils have so much space - years five and six will have a larger classroom when previously we have made the best of the room we've had. The hall means that we can now stage different events on site.”

“There is more space for outdoor activities too with a modern play area, a football pitch and Games court.”

“We feel so lucky to have received this investment. The school is ideally placed as Clocaenog is a central village and children from surrounding areas will be able to attend.”

Christ the Word set for opening

The finishing touches are being applied to Christ the Word Catholic School which will be opening to pupils in September, the latest project progressed by the Council in partnership with the Welsh Government as part of the 21st Century Schools Programme.  

Christ the Word Catholic School, which will be part of the Diocese of Wrexham, will replace Ysgol Mair and Blessed Edward Jones Catholic High School and Kier Construction is the main contractor.

The building works for the new school were completed this month (August) and the process of settling into the new learning community is underway for the teaching staff.

The school will partially open to pupils on Friday 6th September on a staggered nature with all pupils in the school by the 10th September. 

The new Headteacher Amanda Preston is looking forward to the new term commenting “the last few weeks have been busy getting the learning environment ready for September, it’s an exciting time for all at the school and we can’t wait to welcome the children into our fantastic new home.”

Councillor Huw Hilditch-Roberts, the Council’s lead member for Education, Children's Services and Public Engagement, said: “I’m delighted to see the completion of this brand new school.

“Christ the Word will provide a fantastic learning environment for pupils and along with the staff at the school, this modern facility will further enhance pupils’ learning.

“Supporting young people is a priority for the Council and this school is part of the £90million that has been invested in the county’s schools so far including the £25million new school building for Rhyl High School and Ysgol Tir Morfa.”

Features

Talking Points: What matters to you, matters to us

Talking Points is a way for you to meet and have a conversation about the range of voluntary, statutory and well-being services available throughout Denbighshire.

Staff will take on a holistic approach to your health and well-being to promote and enable you to access and participate in activities, groups and services which will reflect your individual well-being outcomes. This may include opportunities to help develop skills and increase social networks within the local community.

Talking Points provide a community well-being hub, focusing on the provisions of information, advice and assistance. You will be informed of a full range of health, social care and voluntary services available locally, depending upon your identified outcomes.

You can drop in to any Talking Point, or you may prefer to arrange an appointment by contacting Single Point of Access on 0300 456 1000.

The sessions are held weekly (unless otherwise stated) at:

  • St Asaph Library (Monday 9.30am - 11.45am)
  • Rhyl Library (Tuesday 9.30am - 3.30pm)
  • Llangollen Health Centre (Tuesday 9.30am - 12.30pm)
  • Corwen Library (1st Tuesday of the month 2.00pm - 4.00pm)
  • Denbigh Library (Wednesday 2.00pm - 4.30pm)
  • Rhuddlan Library (Thursday 2.00pm - 4.30pm)
  • Prestatyn Library (Friday 9.30am - 1.00pm)
  • Ruthin Library (Friday 9.30am - 1.00pm)

For more information please contact Jason Haycocks the Talking Points & Social Prescribing Coordinator on 01824 712937 or via e-mail jason.haycocks@denbighshire.gov.uk

Apply for Pass Plus Cymru

Plus Plus Cymru gives extra training for young drivers to help reduce the risk of accidents. 

The course costs £20 and to join you must:

  • be aged 17 to 25
  • hold a full driving licence
  • have passed your test within the last 12 months
  • live in Wales

The next training session for Denbighshire is on Thursday 10 October at Rhyl Fire Station, Coast Road, Rhyl LL18 3PL.  5.30pm - 8.00pm.

Visit Pass Plus Cymru for more information.

Free driving assessments for older drivers

Do you live in Denbighshire and are aged 65 and over?

You are entitled to have a free initial driving assessment conducted by the Wales Mobility and Driving Assessment Service.

If you are interested to find out more, phone the Road Safety Department on 01824 706946.

Council supports Citizens Advice latest initiative

The council works closely with Citizens Advice Denbighshire to support the well-being of local residents and is pleased to lend its support its latest initiative.

Citizens Advice in partnership with GambleAware is expanding services in Wales to prevent gambling-related harm and get people the support and advice they need.

The Citizens Advice Gambling Support Service in Wales will be delivered by Citizens Advice Denbighshire in the north and mid-Wales region.

These services are two of the 12 regional offices across Wales and England funded by a£1.5 million, two-year partnership with GambleAware. The regional offices work in partnership with the National Gambling Treatment Service to provide support to clients.

In Wales the National Gambling Treatment Service provider is the Addiction Recovery Agency (ARA) which has seen recent additional investment from GambleAware to expand treatment services in Wales.

A dedicated project worker based at the two local Citizens Advice will teach frontline staff to identify anyone at risk of gambling-related harm and how to help them.

Routine screening will take place in both local Citizens Advice to identify clients at risk and provide advice and give valuable insight into who is more vulnerable to gambling harm and the problems it causes.

Specialist treatment services will be provided by ARA for Denbighshire residents as part of the expansion of treatment services in Wales. Citizens Advice research found that more than three-in-four gamblers - and two-in-five people affected by a gambler - had built up debt.

More than one third of families with children interviewed could not afford essential household costs such as food as a result of a family member’s gambling.

And two-in-three gamblers Citizens Advice interviewed by Citizens Advice reported mental distress as an impact of their gambling. 

Healthy and Happy in North Wales

Community Workers from the Healthy Homes Healthy People (HHHP) project are working across North Wales to improve health and wellbeing by creating homes which are safe, sound, warm and secure for all.

Working with partners including; local authorities, Wales & West Utilities and Dwr Cymru, the HHHP team, led by Project Manager Joanna Seymour, offer a wide range of help to residents struggling to heat their homes, pay energy bills or are living in unsafe conditions. The HHHP project is run by Warm Wales, a Community Interest Company based in Port Talbot.

Working through home visits the HHHP Community Workers look at four key areas:

  1. Home and Personal Safety
  2. Income Maximisation and Personal/Family Support
  3. Affordable Warmth
  4. Health and Wellbeing

The outcomes from these home visits can make a huge difference to people’s lives; the project has already seen residents helped with benefit checks, tariff savings on water and energy bills, safety improvements and even new central heating systems. In total the project has already achieved savings of £500,000.

One resident helped by HHHP was a pensioner, Mrs W, who was living alone on a state pension with no savings. She had recently suffered a stroke and was living with no heating or hot water due to a broken boiler. A Community Worker visited Mrs W and provided her with energy saving and CO safety advice, added her to the Priority Service Register, helped her claim pension credit, organised a new boiler installation worth £3,500, and referred her for a level access shower.

If you think you could benefit from a Healthy Homes Healthy People visit you can get in touch with the team by calling 01352 711751 or emailing information@warmwales.org.uk. You can also visit the website at www.warmwales.org.uk.

To access the scheme, you will need to own or rent your home, be experiencing health issues caused by the property, and/or be struggling to pay the bills or heat your home.

Transport to Health

Dear Colleague

Transport to Health

Many of the older people my team and I have spoken with across Wales have shared with us their experiences about travelling to and from health care services and appointments.

In addition to sharing their positive experiences, many have highlighted the challenges they sometimes face when travelling to and from health services – particularly when health and transport services do not appear to be working together to support access.

I am therefore undertaking research that is exploring the experiences of older people and will highlight areas in which improvements are needed and identify good practice that could be more widely adopted. I have recently conducted a number of focus groups, and launched a survey which is available in paper copy as well as online.

I anticipate that this research will be a valuable contribution to the upcoming Improving Public Transport Bill and the ongoing work in developing an integrated, responsive transport model for Wales.

I would greatly value your input into this research, the perspective of your organisation, and any good practice that you’re aware of regarding the challenges faced by older people.

If you, or an appropriate representative within your organisation would like to contribute to this work, either through a meeting, phone call or by submitting written information then please contact my Community Services and Inclusion Lead George Jones at george.jones@olderpoeplewales.com.  

Finally, should you wish to publicise the survey amongst your networks this would be greatly appreciated and I can provide paper copies upon request.

The survey is open until 27 September 2019.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Kind regards,

Heléna Herklots CBE

Older People’s Commissioner for Wales 

Libraries and One Stop Shops

Libraries support brand new chapter for books on prescription

Libraries across Denbighshire are supporting the Reading Agency’s Reading Well Books on Prescription for mental health scheme.

Launched at the national Eisteddfod at Llanrwst in August, the bilingual scheme means that health professionals in Wales can now prescribe free library books to assist people in managing their mental health or dealing with difficult feelings and experiences in what experts behind the scheme are calling ‘bibliotherapy’.

Reading Well Books on Prescription for mental health has been developed by The Reading Agency and public libraries, leading health organisations including the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Mind, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the British Psychological Society and the Royal College of Nursing, as well as individuals who have personal experience of mental health needs and their relatives and carers.

Free copies of the books are now available to members of the public to borrow from all 22 public library authorities in Wales. The books can be recommended by a health professional and borrowed free of charge from a local library, or users can self-refer and borrow the titles as they would any other library book.

Bethan M. Hughes, Denbighshire’s Principal Librarian, said: “Libraries can offer a safe place for people to go within their local communities where they can read a variety of important books, and the Reading Well scheme is a great example of this. The strength of this campaign is that it has so many credible partners behind it including Public Health Wales, Welsh Books Council and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board. We are thankful for the support provided by Welsh Government and this collection is more than a list of books – they represent the power and impact reading can have in changing lives.”

The collection provides helpful information and support for managing common mental health conditions, or dealing with difficult feelings and experiences. It also includes inspirational personal stories from people who are living with or caring for someone with mental health needs. These include Reasons to Stay Alive by award-winning author Matt Haig, which explores his personal experience of coming close to suicide at the age of 24, and The Recovery Letters, an anthology of heartfelt letters written by people who have recovered or are recovering from depression.

With mental health conditions representing the largest single cause of disability in the UK, The Reading Agency believes it is vital that this support is accessible to all, and as such is working with Welsh Books Council to translate the books into Welsh.

For more information about the Reading Well Books on Prescription for mental health visit: https://reading-well.org.uk/wales.

Working Denbighshire

Communities for Work: Case Study

Communities for Work (CfW) is a Welsh Government partnership Programme, between the Local Authority and Department for Work and Pensions, supported by the European Social Fund, to deliver employment support services in all 52 Communities First Clusters in Wales.

Here is Mr F's story on how Communities for Work has helped him:

Mr F has had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol for over ten years and this hugely affected many areas of his life, including housing, mental health and he had involvement with the police. Over the past twelve months Mr F has been placed in supported accommodation due to his positive engagement with services and has been receiving tenancy support, support for his alcohol use and attended counselling and his quality of life has improved immensely.

Mr F felt ready for further support therefore North Wales Police referred him to Communities for Work in Working Denbighshire, for one to one mentoring support to source training and volunteering opportunities to lead him closer to the labour market. Mr F was allocated an Employment Mentor and they have met on a regular basis to discuss Mr F’s current skill set and how they can be developed. Mr F used to be a tree surgeon for many years and he has many creative skills, he enjoys sketching and creating items from wood. Mr F’s aspirations for the future were discussed with his mentor and he would like to gain employment where he can be outdoors. Mr F has previously worked for many years and he has been clear that he would love to be able to gain employment again in the future. Mr F does not feel ready for employment at this present time due to still concentrating on living a healthier lifestyle, and improving his mental health. Therefore an action plan was developed to increase Mr F’s skills and experiences.

Mr F wanted to increase his IT skills as he felt behind in the technology based world so he was supported to attend the initial sessions of an IT course by his mentor as he was apprehensive. Since then Mr F has attended every week and has now completed a number of modules and is returning to the course in September to continue his learning. Mr F has stated he has “enjoyed this course a lot more than what he thought he would.” Other courses were identified for Mr F, to increase his skills for practical outdoor employment, such as Emergency First Aid in the Workplace, Control of Substances Hazardous to Health and he is waiting to attend Health and Safety in a Construction Environment course which enables him to take an assessment to gain a CSCS card. An outdoor volunteering opportunity was also sourced for Mr F. Denbighshire Countryside Services have a Nature for Health volunteering programme where they encourage citizens to get outdoors and volunteer in their local area to complete various tasks such as conservation and bench building. Mr F is now attending this regularly and has upped this from one day to two days due to the level of enjoyment he is getting out of it. This volunteering will increase Mr F’s confidence and social skills being in a group and also his practical skills.

In summary since Mr F has engaged with Communities for Work, he has attended numerous training courses and is volunteering regularly, so is continually improving his skills, getting him ready for sustainable employment again. Mr F’s involvement with the police has decreased dramatically which shows the positive progress Mr F has made. Mr F is feeling very optimistic about his progress and he is enjoying the fact his weeks are becoming busier with positive activities to increase his skills and improve his mental health. The mentoring with the Employment Mentor will continue and Mr F’s action plan will be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure he continues to progress towards his future goal of employment.

Mr F said: “Since having support from Communities for Work I have attended many courses and I have been volunteering. They have helped me a lot and I am glad I engaged with the project.”

 

If you need any further information please contact Cerian Phoenix, Adult Employment Mentor, Communities for Work, Working Denbighshire via e-mail cerian.phoenix@denbighshire.gov.uk or 01824 706491.

Working in Partnership with Communities and Job Centre Plus

    









           

ADTRAC Denbighshire: Food and Mood Wellbeing Day

The Denbighshire ADTARC team and project participants took part in a food and mood wellbeing day as part of mental health awareness week earlier this year.

For mental health awareness week, they decided to deliver a food and mood wellbeing day based in the environment at the Hwb in Denbigh. This was to address issues that had arisen such as negative body image, not eating due to the cost of food, unhealthy diets and low mood. Five participants attended and they began by discussing how a healthy diet can positively impact on your mental health, and provided fact sheets to go along with this. They then went for a walk up to Denbigh Castle and completed a mindfulness session in the sun on a bank outside the castle.

Everyone gained a lot of new information on healthy eating and that you can still eat healthily on a budget.

The group then returned to the Hwb where they had the opportunity to taste healthy alternative snacks and cooked chicken fajitas. In addition to the dietary information and mindfulness, friendships were made and moods an optimism were lifted.

Everyone left with a goodie bag of food, factsheets (including a cost comparison sheet and menu/food diary notebook) and a reusable water bottle.

Tourism

New Tourism Ambassador Scheme Launches in Denbighshire

A brand new Tourism Ambassador Scheme has recently launched in Denbighshire. This free scheme is designed to improve the visitor experience for people who work in tourism, work with visitors, live or study in the area.

A series of interactive online training modules with quizzes have been produced on various themes such as Denbighshire towns & city, walking, cycling, history, and welsh language & culture. Each module takes 30-60 minutes to complete with text to read, images and films to watch as people learn in different ways.

There are 3 levels of awards – bronze, silver and gold, depending on the amount of modules completed. Each person will receive a certificate, pin badge and window stickers on completion of the awards. There is also online resources for people to download related documents, branding and links to relevant websites.

Councillor Hugh Evans OBE, Leader of the Council said: “The scheme aims is to create a baseline knowledge level and sense of place to ensure consistent messages are being communicated about the area. The online training offers a flexible approach and enables everyone to learn at their own speed, convenience and location. We are hoping many businesses will embed the scheme into their existing staff induction programmes to increase their understanding of the local tourism offer and take pride in being part of a shared interest community. We are very excited to launch the scheme in Denbighshire as it is the first of its kind in Wales.”

A series of learning journeys will also be offered to Ambassadors, to enhance and compliment the online learning. People will have the opportunity to visit a variety of tourism highlights including the11-mile World Heritage Site, the Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB, and the Vale of Clwyd. Workshops to share best practice and encourage partnership working will also be organised.

A number of businesses who participated in the user testing have completed the modules and initial feedback has been very positive -

Fiona Sayle, from Corwen Holidays says, “I’m so pleased to have achieved my Denbighshire Ambassador Silver Award. Many thanks to Denbighshire Tourism for providing such an informative and interesting course. I would recommend all who are passionate about Tourism and Denbighshire to take up the challenge.”

The project has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

Ian Lebbon, Chair of Denbighshire Destination Management Partnership said: “I would encourage businesses, individuals and students to become Tourism Ambassadors to deepen their knowledge of the county and help boost our local economy. The longer-term aim is to create Ambassador high streets, communities and even towns and get our younger generation involved by establishing Young Tourism Ambassadors.”

For more information on the scheme and to complete the modules please visit http://www.denbighshireambassador.wales/

Denbighshire Tourism Forum

Do you have an interest in tourism?

A Forum set up to keep tourism businesses, students and anyone with an interest in tourism, up to date with the latest developments in the industry takes place this November.

The next Denbighshire Tourism Forum will be on Wednesday 6 November at the Oriel House, St Asaph. This free event offers a great opportunity for delegates to network, share experiences, knowledge and ideas.

To book on the Tourism Forum please visit https://denbighshiretourismforum2019.eventbrite.co.uk/

 

Keep posted on tourism news!

Would you like to hear about the latest tourism news in Denbighshire & North East Wales?

If so, it’s easy and simple to sign up –

www.denbighshire.gov.uk/business-sign-up-for-tourism

Leaflet Distribution Service

Denbighshire’s Tourism Team provides a free tourism leaflet distribution service for businesses to order leaflets and brochures. This information is produced to encourage visitors to the area, and to enhance their experience once they are here.

Products include:

  • Town Trail leaflets
  • The 5 Journeys brochure
  • SC2 Rhyl  leaflets
  • Ruthin Craft Centre brochure
  • Heritage leaflet

Who can order?

  • You can order from the leaflet distribution service if your business is in and around North East Wales and you come into contact with visitors.

How to order?

  • You can order from the Tourism Leaflet Distribution Service online and the leaflets will be delivered to you, free of charge.

Order deadline

  • Please place your order by 17/09/2019 for your leaflets to be delivered the week commencing 23/09/2019.

Order from our Tourism Leaflet Distribution Service online 

Heritage

Ruthin Gaol Halloween Week: 26th October – 1st November

Spectres are in the night air, and creepy creatures lurk in the shadows….it’s that time of year again - Halloween Week! Ruthin Gaol opens its doors for people of all ages to enjoy spooky activities within the Gaols eerie walls.

Take part in seasonal craft activities and a Halloween trail around the cells and basement of the Victorian prison. Come in your scariest Halloween costume to get into the spirit of things, visit if you dare!

All activities are included in the admission. No booking required. Open 10am to 5pm between 26th October and the 1st November (Last entry 4pm).

Please note that warm clothes are advisable.

Off-Season group visits to Ruthin Gaol and Nantclwyd Y Dre

Ruthin Gaol Museum and Nantclwyd y Dre House & Gardens (Ruthin) will close to general visits on the 30th of September, but are open for off season visits all winter by pre-booking.

You can book your private group tour, led by one of our fantastic guides, most days in the winter months at a time to suit you (subject to availability, fees apply).

You can also hire our period rooms (and guides) for special events or functions.

To book your private/group visit or to enquire about function hire, please contact us at: heritage@denbighshire.gov.uk or call 01824 706868.

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