County Voice

News

Council Education Catering Service recognised for top performance

We are proud to announce that our In-House School Catering Service has been recognised as one of the top 6 best performing Services in the UK for 2019/2020 by The Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE).

This recognition is based upon comparisons with other School Meals Services from across the UK and takes into account things such as food Purchasing Initiatives, School Meal Uptake, Management Costs, staff training/absence levels, communication to customers etc.

Tony Ward, Head of Highways, Facilities and Environmental Services, said: “We are really proud that the commitment and dedication of our Education Catering Service team has been recognised by the Association for Public Service Excellence.

“The Education Catering Service team has worked hard to maintain the quality of service provided across the county, never more so over the last 13 months during the pandemic. This really is a team effort and we are so pleased for all of them that their work has been noticed on a UK wide scale.”

APSE will include a case study about the Council’s service in their best practice studies publication which will be produced this summer.

The performance networks awards will be held online in June.

Five years have passed since the development of the new Rhyl High School building

Rhyl High School is celebrating five years since its new building opened.

The site has been occupied by the school since 1901 and it has developed significantly throughout its long history.

The new building replaced the former site which was demolished, offers a range of modern facilities such as hair salons and construction rooms as well as access to high-tech interactive boards, a recording studio, and laptops for children to use which has been vital, especially during the current pandemic. 

 

Claire Armistead, Head Teacher at Rhyl High School, said: “The new Rhyl High School building has done something really special. It showed the children and the community in Rhyl just what they deserved and provided a space full of opportunity and potential. It has completely changed the way we teach and the subjects we can deliver, ready for our children’s future.

“The old building was classrooms and corridors - a space to be taught not to learn or grow. This new building allows our children to be the most successful learners they can be. You can feel their energy and their ambition flow through the corridors

“I will never undervalue how important this new building is for Rhyl and I will do everything in my power to keep it as spectacular a learning organisation tomorrow as it is today “I am genuinely grateful for this amazing resource that’s been provided for the children of Rhyl.”

Geraint Davies, the Council’s Head of Education, said: “The new school building at Rhyl High School has been providing excellent facilities and learning opportunities for pupils for five years.

“This has helped young people reach their potential and given them the best educational experience. I would like to thank staff for all their hard work over the past five years, and wish all pupils all the best for the future.”

Outdoor hospitality welcomes customers back

Outdoor hospitality has now re-opened, with customers able to enjoy outdoor beer gardens, cafes and coffee houses.

The Council is working with businesses to ensure they are able to re-open safely to help customers enjoy themselves while protecting communities in Denbighshire.

Customers can also play their part by following guidance:

  • There may be some queueing at premises so you will be expected to remain socially distanced from anyone not in your household.
  • All premises must take your contact details for Test, Trace and Protect should they need to contact you.
  • You will not be able to stand in a seating area to consume your drink.
  • Please treat all staff with respect. They've missed you and want you to enjoy yourselves but abusive behaviour towards staff will not be tolerated.
  • If you use public transport or need a taxi you will need to wear a face mask. Drivers, including taxi drivers, have the right not to take you if you do not wear a mask.
  • Proprietors and landlords must stick to the rules as well so if you’re concerned about any premises contact covidppadmin@denbighshire.gov.uk

Emlyn Jones, the Council's Head of Planning, Public Protection and Countryside, said: "Re-opening outdoor hospitality is a major step in the easing of lockdown and businesses have been working hard to ensure they are providing a safe space for customers to enjoy themselves.

"Covid-19 hasn't gone away and we still have to take every precaution to ensure it doesn't return. We are asking customers to please do their bit so we can continue to keep levels low and help protect our communities.”

Virtual open day as £12m Denbigh extra care facility nears completion

Denbighshire residents have been finding out more about a new extra care facility, which promotes comfortable homes and complete independence, by attending a virtual open day.

Awel y Dyffryn in Denbigh has been developed by housing association Grŵp Cynefin, and it is the most ambitious scheme of its type in the history of the group.

The scheme is almost complete and is set to welcome its first residents in the autumn.

People living in Denbighshire and aged 60 and over will be given priority status at the scheme, which will offer a vibrant close-knit community as well as access to 24-hour care and support.

The £12m facility, which comprises 66 apartments and landscaped gardens, promotes a social lifestyle. Tenants can meet others in communal areas such as rooms for activities whilst still enjoying the privacy of their flat.

There is also an additional facility for friends and family to stay overnight in guest suites onsite.

Grŵp Cynefin’s Head of Housing Services, Noela Jones, said: “Everybody in Grŵp Cynefin is excited about this new development. We’re looking forward to welcoming residents through the doors of Awel y Dyffryn and we hope the modern apartments and wider facilities such as the garden will make it feel like home.

“We have already had people put their names down to live at Awel y Dyffryn. These types of schemes are vital in communities as they enable older people to continue living independently and enjoy the independence they had before, whilst being assured there is always access to care and support.

“As well as having your apartment, there will be an on-site hairdressers, restaurant and laundry room as well as rooms for activities to promote good health and wellbeing.”

Awel y Dyffryn features 42 two-bedroom and 24 one-bedroom apartments, with each one consisting of a bathroom, kitchen and living area. It is the fifth for Grŵp Cynefin, which also has other developments in Bala, Porthmadog, Holyhead and Ruthin.

Awel y Dyffryn, built by North Wales-based RL Davies, has also resulted in significant local investment, with 80 per cent of subcontractor and major supplier appointments made within 30 miles of the extra care scheme and local apprentices from Coleg Llandrillo and other trainees benefiting from work experience.

Phil Gilroy, Denbighshire County Council’s Head of Community Support Services said: “We are extremely proud to be working in partnership on this important project with Grŵp Cynefin.

“Awel y Dyffryn will help older Denbighshire residents maintain and improve their independence while also supporting our communities to be more resilient

“We encourage all interested residents to attend the virtual open day to learn about the fantastic support this new great new facility will offer them.”

If you or your family member are interested in Awel y Dyffryn, please contact us to find out more. Call 0300 111 2122 or email: post@grwpcynefin.org.

Climate Change

Denbighshire’s Wildflower Meadow project is expanding

The Council's Wildflower Meadow project is expanding after its successful pilot supporting ongoing biodiversity last year, following the Council’s declaration of a climate and ecological emergency in July 2019.

An additional 30 wildflower meadows will be created this year, bringing the total number of sites managed for local wildflowers to 55 - contributing to the council’s improved species richness ambitions. These sites, along with the Council’s 11 Roadside Nature Reserves, contribute to almost 60 acres of local provenance wildflower habitat.

The project is a three-year initiative which aims to build a nature recovery network across Wales, engaging people, communities, businesses and decision-makers in both practical action and strategic planning for a healthy, resilient and nature-rich Wales.

Plas Lorna, Rhuddlan

Emlyn Jones, the Council’s Head of Planning, Public Protection and Countryside Planning said: “The sites are managed in line with Plantlife’s Managing Grassland Road Verges guidelines which sees the grass cutting at these sites prohibited between March and August each year, giving wildflowers enough time to grow, flower, and set seed.”

He adds, “A cut and collect regime has been implemented to reduce soil fertility and provide the wildflowers with the best conditions possible. These sites will be monitored and borders cut around the sites to ensure there is no impact on the highway network or road safety.”

The project now includes sites in Prestatyn, Rhyl, Meliden, Rhuddlan, Dyserth, Rhewl, Denbigh, Henllan, Nantglyn, Llanferres, Llanrhaeadr, Pwllglas, Ruthin, Corwen, Cynwyd and Llangollen which will all be given a ‘full cut’ in early September.

Park Alafowlia, Denbigh

Since the 1930s the UK has lost 97% of its wildflower meadow habitats, nearly 7.5 million acres, with just 1% of our countryside now providing this vital home for pollinators such as butterflies and bees. In turn this has impacted the wildlife that relies on these meadows for food and shelter, such as hedgehogs, badgers and hares, as well as birds such as the Lapwing, Meadow Pipit and Skylark. This project is an important step to helping to reverse this decline and increase species richness within our county.

With No Mow May approaching and Plantlife’s Every Flower Counts survey running from May 22nd to 31st now is a great time for you to get involved too! You can help by leaving an area of your own garden to grow wild. With 15 million gardens in Britain, our lawns have the potential to become major sources of much needed nectar.

You can find more information, including how to get involved in the survey at https://www.plantlife.org.uk/everyflowercounts/.

Domestic Abuse

Live Fear Free Helpline

Get in touch with Live Fear Free advisors free of charge by phone, online chat, text or email.

Live Fear Free Helpline

Live Fear Free can provide help and advice to:

  • anyone experiencing domestic abuse
  • anyone who knows someone who needs help. For example, a friend, family member or colleague
  • practitioners seeking professional advice.

All conversations with Live Fear Free are confidential and are taken by staff that are highly experienced and fully trained.

  • Call: 0808 80 10 800
  • Text: 07860077333
  • Email: info@livefearfreehelpline.wales
  • Live chat service

All the above services are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Education Matters

School Transport

As well as secondary school transport, you can now apply for primary and sixth form transport for your children for September 2021. You can only apply for free school transport if a place has been confirmed at a school and you live in Denbighshire.

To apply online, please visit our website.

Tourism

Destination Management Plan

With further changes to Covid 19 restrictions taking place in Wales, the Council has developed a Destination Management Plan to ensure that key sites and facilities are ready to welcome visitors and that local residents will feel safe and well-informed.

Denbighshire’s Destination Management Plan has been developed in partnership with the tourism businesses across the County and seeks to co-ordinate activity over the coming months to ensure a positive experience for visitors, residents and business.

Graham Boase, the Council's Corporate Director for Economy and Public Realm said: "According to latest figures, Tourism contributes £552m to Denbighshire’s economy, so it is critical that the county is best placed to be able to maximise tourism opportunities as opportunities open through the reduction of covid-restrictions. We want people to come to Denbighshire this summer and return again year after year, so it is important that we make the county safe and welcoming to visitors while giving residents confidence that they remain safe."

Activity across the authority will be co-ordinated within its Business Recovery Group which has representation from all relevant Council services as well as from North Wales Police and the private sector.

Emlyn Jones Head of Planning, Public Protection and Countryside Services said: “The Authority has worked closely across services throughout the covid pandemic and as part of Business Recovery it has been clear that a coordinated approach to our destination is the best way forward in the current circumstances.”

Actions within the Destination Management plan include:

  • Engagement with businesses, communities (through City and Town councils) and with residents and visitors
  • Ensuring that Denbighshire’s facilities, sites and attractions are ready for residents and visitors as the tourism industry gradually moves back to full capacity
  • Promoting messages about responsible visits and developing sustainable tourism

The Tourism Strategy Group will monitor delivery and be ready to identify any issues that need to be addressed to ensure that Denbighshire has the most successful tourism season possible.

Tourism Leaflets

Calling all businesses. To order free leaflets for your customers, just fill out the online form and leave the rest to us.

Come to Denbighshire for your staycation

Denbighshire with its partial coastline has some of the best award winning beaches in Wales.
Let Rhyl and Prestatyn give your staycation a bit of nostalgia for bucket and spade holidays as well as quieter alternatives to the overrun beaches in West Wales. Visit the North East Wales blog for lots more information.
 
 

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Ranger Team During Lockdown

While lockdown has meant difficult and unusual times for many people work has continued at the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) to ensure it is a safe and enjoyable place for the public and wildlife alike.

The reduced footfall within the parks has afforded the ranger team the opportunity to carry out some much needed improvement works to the Leete path at Loggerheads Country Park. These works have now provided a smooth and accessible surface all the way down to the road, which now gives much better access to Devils gorge. There has also been plenty of work carried out resurfacing and expanding the car parks at Moel Famau, as well as introducing new parking ticket machines which accept card payments. Hopefully these improvements will make the publics return to the park an even smoother and more enjoyable experience. Fencing works have been undertaken around the country park to protect the fragile path from erosion due to heavy footfall. Along with this, boundary fence improvements have been carried out to help prevent dogs entering neighbouring farmland and disturbing livestock. But please remember that dogs must be kept under control at all times.

The ranger team have put a lot of energy into improving the AONB for the benefit of wildlife. We set about doing this clearing overgrown sites and using conservation grazing to manage these locations, our plan is for these to return to productive wildflower meadows with a much greater species richness and as such are really looking forward to beginning our species monitoring to watch the progress over the coming years. At Loggerheads Country Park work has been carried out to open up sections of the limestone pavement to allow more light in and create suitable habitat to benefit a huge variety of species of plants, reptiles, and mammals. There has also been a program of bird nest box improvements and replacements across the country park, this included a survey of the species which had been using them and an evaluation of possible improvements. Finally, the ranger team have been working with local communities and the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust (ARC) to regenerate existing ponds and create new ponds for the benefit of many species but with a focus on the Great Crested Newt.

New Llangollen nature reserve opens to visitors

A former landfill site on the outskirts of Llangollen has taken on a new lease of life.

The Council and the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) team have worked together with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and European Rural Development Fund, to create a new nature reserve on the former landfill site at Wenffrwd – just outside Llangollen.

Visitors are now able to use a small car park at the nature reserve and explore the new site by following the 0.5 miles of new surfaced path which winds through a variety of habitats and offers views of the River Dee and across the valley.

Huw Rees, Countryside and Heritage Services Manager said: “It’s hard to imagine now that this whole mound of land is the result of several decades of tipping household from the Llangollen area. Up to 75,000 tonnes were dumped each year until it stopped receiving rubbish in the 1980s, although the transfer station was available for the local population until 2008.

“Nature has done an excellent job at reclaiming the site. The wildflower meadows provide food for pollinators and yellow meadow ants which make the anthills that you will see. The thick bramble offers safe areas for birds and mammals.

“This is still a work in progress and in the coming year we will continue to work on creating links from this site to Canal and back to the Health Centre in Llangollen along the old railway line. We will also be adding diversity to the site through tree planting and the creation of new wildflower areas.”

Winner of the Clwydian Range & Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Landscape Award Announced

The AONB Partnership agreed to award this year’s AONB Landscape Award to Ysgol y Foel, Cilcain, in recognition of the huge achievement of the School’s Decarbonisation Project. The school has been entirely remodelled and was now housed in a building that was totally carbon neutral.

84 solar panels had been installed, these solar panels would take in U-V light and convert it to usable electricity via a big inverter. The school now make their own electricity to power their lights, charge computers, and run an air source heating system. A new battery system stores energy produced over the holidays and when the school is closed and stores it for term times.   The school now produce more energy than they need – exporting the surplus to the National Grid.

 

The pupils at the school have been involved every step of the way learning about climate change and the importance of moving towards a more sustainable way of living and working. The school were able to meet most of the refit costs from a grant from the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB’s Sustainable Development Fund (SDF) which comes from Welsh Government. Flintshire County Council also provided support for the project by providing a loan, which was being paid back from the savings made on energy bills.

In addition to the decarbonisation project, the Clwydian Range & Dee Valley AONB Sustainable Development Fund also contributed to an outdoor classroom. This would be used for other local schools to come and visit and learn about the decarbonisation path to net zero and to study the wide variety of flora and fauna the school has (when restrictions allow) across the school grounds and demonstrating how like Ysgol Y Foel they too could achieve net zero and become a sustainable school for future generations.

The AONB make the award every year to a community, individual or business that has made an outstanding contribution to the landscape of the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB and the AONB were are delighted that this year the award was is recognising the work at Ysgol y Foel, a school that was within the AONB that is and leading the way in this vital matter.

Many congratulations to Ysgol y Foel and all those involved.

More information about the Sustainable Development Fund can be found here: https://www.clwydianrangeanddeevalleyaonb.org.uk/projects/the-sustainable-development-fund/

Countryside Services

Well Connected Project

As the second year of the Well Connected project comes to an end we reflect on what was achieved in the most challenging of circumstances. Despite the set-backs there have been many things to celebrate and the project has continued in all possible ways through the work of the diligent teams, both the Council rangers and Keep Wales Tidy officers.

Prestatyn wetland is now looking more like a wetland, with excavated ponds, grazing, an accessible viewing platform, the wading birds are already prospecting! Prestatyn wetland is central to this project, as it is a key urban green site along the green/blue corridor, and as such these large scale works are cause for celebration. Now this work has been done the site can begin to grow and mature into a wetland this spring and summer, with more work to be done on grazing and interpretation signage for visitors to improve the site further. We will see substantial changes in the next few months so be sure to take a visit.

At the Rhyl Cut, another key project site, a new accessible fishing platform has been installed by Elwy Working Woods, a local sustainable timber supplier. Alongside this the fishing platforms along the rest of the cut have also received repairs and the local Help for Heroes fishing club have been supplied with timber and tools to enable them to carry out further repairs. The club will be custodians of the fishing platforms and will become active along this section of the cut once lockdown restrictions ease. As well as this we are working with a local fisherman to set up a new fishing club to engage with the kids in the local estates, connecting them to their landscape and the green/blue corridor, providing them with skills and a positive outlet for energy.

Schools play a major role in the Well Connected project, and despite restrictions inhibiting our engagement work we have spent the winter improving school grounds through our tree planting campaign as well as SUDS projects across the whole project area. 8 schools received tree planting this winter, ranging from Kinmel bay to Gronant, in the form of hedges (600m in total), small woodland areas, mini orchards (with local fruit strains) and willow circles. Alongside the PLANT project at Glan Morfa, which is another site along the green/blue corridor, 6,300 trees were planted this winter. In addition to this, we have a SUDS (Sustainable Drainage Solutions) project for each year of Well Connected (3), and this year it was carried out at Christ the Word in Rhyl, and work began at Ysgol Gronant who will receive the 3rd year SUDS project. Christ the Word received a timber outdoor classroom structure with a green roof, also made by Elwy Working Woods, raised beds, a water collection system, and tree planting in the form of hedges, a small woodland area and local strain fruit trees.

With restrictions set to ease this spring we are hopeful of a more engaging year with the community, where we can show off our new and improved green spaces and get the community involved in the care of their local landscape.

Features

Blood donation in Denbighshire

The Welsh Blood Service have been in touch once again to thank you all for your continued support with their Denbighshire blood donation campaigns. Your support really does have a huge impact on many lives.

There are several sessions coming to Denbighshire during May, so please click on the link to find one near where you live >>> https://wbs.wales/DenbighshireCouncil

Vacancies

Did you know that new vacancies go on our website every day? Why not take a look – there may be a job there that appeals to you.

We also post certain jobs on our social media as well.

To find out what kind of jobs are being advertised, and to apply for any of them, please visit our website www.denbighshire.gov.uk/jobs.

Get a COVID 19 Test

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 there are a number of mobile testing units on offer, as well as mass testing sites. Some sites also offer lateral flow self-testing kits collection (LFD).

For further details, book a test and to find out your nearest testing centre, please visit the BCUHB website >>> https://bcuhb.nhs.wales/covid-19/book-a-covid-19-test/

Trends in social care and early years and childcare

Libraries and One Stop Shops

Update on Library Services

We were excited to re-open our libraries and we are now able to offer a range of services by appointment to ensure your safety.

Our Order and Collect Service has been really popular, and will continue, but if you prefer to come and choose your own books you can now call your local library and arrange a 20 minute appointment to come and browse the shelves. We’ve got lots of new books to choose from.

You can also now make an appointment to use our computers and printing facilities, photocopiers and also get help with Council Services and making payments.

Unlimited magazines from your local library

Over 1200 popular magazines are now available to download and read on any device 24/7 via Libby, the reading app from Overdrive. Just download the Libby app and log in with your library card and PIN.

The magazines have no waiting lists and are available to download immediately. Titles include Good Housekeeping, Hello, New Scientist, Autocar and BBC Gardener’s World.

Reading Well in Libraries

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week 10 - 16 May and our collection of Reading Well titles provide helpful information and support for managing common mental health conditions, or dealing with difficult feelings and experiences.

Some books also include personal stories from people who are living with or caring for someone with mental health needs.

The books are available to borrow from your local library.

Working Denbighshire

How can Working Denbighshire help you?

School Leavers - Post examination results options

Denbighshire Leisure Ltd

Find out the latest information on Denbighshire Leisure

To find out what’s happening at Denbighshire Leisure Ltd, why not visit their Facebook page. They post all their latest information on there.

https://www.facebook.com/DenbighshireLeisureLtd/

You can also visit their website for all the latest news and information.

https://denbighshireleisure.co.uk/news/

 

Archives

North East Wales Archives is now open

The archives at Ruthin will open on Fridays.

The same pre-booking requirements that were in place before Christmas will be in place for the foreseeable future.

These include:

  • Booking ahead, with at least 72 hours’ notice. Limited search-room places are available
  • Pre-booking, preferably using our website at www.newa.wales
  • Opening times are 10am-12.45pm for the morning session and 1.45pm-4.30pm for the afternoon session
  • Up to 10 documents can be viewed per session, all documents must be pre-ordered

The following practices in place, to help protect customers and staff:

  • Tables have been spaced out according to social distancing guidance;
  • No access to the paper catalogues or local studies library;
  • The search-room counter will be protected with a Perspex screen;
  • Toilets will be open on a one-in, one-out basis. Please use cleaning products provided;
  • Face masks are mandatory, unless you are exempt.

For their opening hours and pre booking, see their website at https://www.newa.wales/visit-us/planning-your-visit-2/

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