Community is everything.

community buzzing

I have said “buzzing” far too often over the past week. But what a fantastic week volunteering in our Prestatyn community. With something for all ages happening. Great feedback from council leaders and the offer of community support from a new business to Prestatyn.

Feedback from local council leaders.

I presented at Denbighshire County Council’s Community Planning Event on Friday 26th October.

Here is the feedback from attendees at the event who were mainly local council leaders from across Denbighshire, I am quite pleased with this.

After the presentation each table was asked to write comments on the content in 3 categories.  Below is the feedback for Artisans Collective.

Strengths 

  • They do only what people ask for rather than chasing pots of funding without knowing the level of need.
  • Actively engaged with community, have a presence in the building all week
  • Collaborative approach working with others (health, police etc.)
  • Have good links, they work with others so that people know where to get help – knowledge is power
  • Commitment and enthusiasm of those involved
  • Population size of Prestatyn (though it may also be a challenge)
  • Premises and location of premises
  • Good IT skills
  • Good leadership skills
  • Reputation – can do attitude – approachable
  • Started fairly small and grew from there.

Further Suggestions

  • Explore more ways in which experience can be shared with other communities
  • More publicity
  • Developing and Finding new volunteers to take it forward – looking at long term sustainability


What will you take away?

  • The importance of focusing on what people actually want rather than trying to fill a none existent need
  • The positive impact the work of the Artisans Collective have on the local community
  • How we might help an ageing population
  • How we might involve young people
  • The potential associated with art therapy
  • The importance of succession planning
  • Thoughts on how to adapt these ideas into a more rural setting – similar challenges faced by communities throughout Denbighshire are the solutions similar.

My new love of lounging

Loungers are supporting Prestatyn Dementia Friendly Community. As chair of the steering group I am very pleased to be working alongside Loungers.

We are always looking for innovative ways our raising awareness of Dementia and the enthusiasm of the loungers team is fantastic.

Loungers – the West Country based restaurant/café/bar group is opening a brand-new site in Prestatyn on Wednesday 14th November 2018. 

Torello Lounge will open on the High Street, creating 25 jobs for local people.

Community loungers

Loungers have spent £650k transforming the site into a family-friendly retro-inspired cosy retreat.

Where eclectic artwork and quirky curios sit next to oversized vintage sofas and old school benches. Strikingly painted table tops and statement lighting, in Loungers’ eclectic style.

Loungers in the community

The team will all undergo awareness sessions to become Dementia Friendly, an Alzheimer’s Society initiative.

They will also raise funds for the cause by donating 50p from every burger and 10p from every coffee sold during the first month of trading.

I am so looking forward to working with them.

Can I say Buzzing again?

Prestatyn Community Spooktacular

What can I say? It was fantastic all day long. The Old Library was extremely busy from 11am to 3pm. Our 6th consecutive event at Halloween in Prestatyn. 

the community loved the spooky bus
It was like this from start to finish for the spooky bus. (Pictures by Steve Fenner)

OP BANG is such a great idea and we were so pleased to be working with our local policing team in Prestatyn and North Wales Fire and Rescue Service. Alongside Prestatyn Town Council. During the Spooktacular town event on Wednesday 31st October 2018.

Artisans Collective  provided a puppet show, Dr Who exhibition and lots more at The Old Library on Nant Hall Road, Prestatyn.

Whilst the witch hunt, spooky bus, and lots of other things were going on across the town,

Spooky kids in our community.
Some of our friends in the community enjoying themselves (Pictures by Steve Fenner)

We reckon there was close to 500 witch hunt sheets given out to children to complete by visiting the businesses community across our town centre.

I love it that all sections of our community benefit from town events like this.

All of this was in addition to our normal weekly activities.

Mens Shed Prestatyn, Coffee Pod bereavement group, Aimee’s Friday art group, Morfa Gateway project, Prestatyn Dementia Friendly Community drop in and Jaynes Saturday junior artisans.

Can I say “buzzing” One more time please?

Anniversary thoughts about Artisans Collective, The Old Library Prestatyn

Our 4th Anniversary where has the time gone?

Artisans Collective CIC 4th Anniversary
Artisans Collective Prestatyn Anniversary

On our anniversary where do I start to talk about the massive impact that the past 4 years have had on my life?

Maybe by turning the clock back to a year before we moved into the old library. 

Prestatyn was about to be changed forever with the opening of a new shopping park. A lot of people believed that its arrival would mark the start of the decline of our traditional high st.

My background as a business development manager made me think otherwise. I think now in 2018 we still have a brilliant town centre in Prestatyn.

With the support of our business forum and town council. A very small group of local artists and craftspeople set about creating Totally Local Prestatyn.

Totally Locally is a free marketing kit that creates strong, vibrant towns and sustainable local economies.

Independent businesses and shops are the bedrock of our communities, and when they thrive they create real jobs, cohesive towns and strong economies. Totally Locally helps people to rediscover and fall in love with their high streets.

Anniversary of totally locally launch 2013
Our friend Neil, Chris Ruane MP at the time an old dragon and somebody in costume. At the Totally Locally Prestatyn launch

As result of this my volunteering within the Prestatyn community was started.  Wow I have just realised am in my 6th year of volunteering now!

You can see what an average week consists of here. Also events are featured on the Artisans Collective Website here.

As part of Totally Locally Prestatyn, we ran Artisan fairs on the high st and town centre car parks. To raise awareness that our wonderful town had much more than just a shopping park.

The Old Library.

I cannot actually remember who came up with the idea but no doubt it was over a coffee during an artisan market somewhere,

Denbighshire County Council were upgrading the Library service in Prestatyn and moving into a new facility. Which meant our town centre would have a derelict building facing a brand new shopping park .

No better place to turn into an outlet for local artisans were our thoughts.

From retail to a creative community hub.

Within a very short space of time of moving in Four years ago we realised that our community wanted more than a retail outlet on the site. Also that we had the space to enable other activities.

In fact before we officially opened to the public alongside the town council we ran our 3rd halloween event from the building. Something we will be doing again this week for the 6th time in 2018.

We had already been working on children’s arts and craft events. So it was a natural progression to offer them to the public each week.

Jayne’s junior artisans was born, soon to be followed by a meeting with the lovely Aimee.

Who asked us if she could use our room at the back to host an adult art group. Instantly we recognised Aimee’s ethos was the same as ours. 

We have literally carried out 1000’s of different art and crafts activities with groups over the past 5 years,

Aimee’s Friday art group was formed and continues to go from strength to strength. She has taught me a lot, as the least arty of us all, without me raising a brush, pencil, or pen. 

Anniversary Owl
As a wise owl once said (picture from a juniors activity over 4 years ago.)

Creativity takes many forms, and we are all creative in different ways. By practicing that creativity it helps our health and wellbeing. Physically and Mentally. 

Thanks for helping me realise this xx

Tardis time.

So now in 2018 here I sit using the hour that the swap back to GMT has given me reflecting on the past Six years.

Gosh – lots has changed, with some of us going our different ways, hopefully to start things that will suit them more. I certainly wish them the best of luck.

You can not take away the fact that the personal creativity and love of our town that pulled us together 6 years ago. Is still a common thread that needs to respected and defended.

So what next?

Personally for me it is a 5 year plan to ensure the longevity and success of a sustainable community hub in the centre of Prestatyn. A succession plan if you like?

Over the past few years I have travelled across the UK promoting the voluntary work that we all do in Prestatyn. Whilst also recognising some of the work of PTC.

On our fourth anniversary in the old library, I would like to think we are getting close to achieving our goals.

As we say in motorsport not until you see the chequered flag waved above you, is the race over.

And finally……

Over the past few months we have done lots of presentations and media stuff.

With lots of different subjects from social prescribing, creating connected communities, health and wellbeing through creativity.

The list is immense with lots of buzz sayings and other things beginning with the same initials.

For me personally it is all about friends and community.

So a huge thanks to all the friends I have made though all of the activities I get involved with.

Including Prestatyn Mens Shed, Coffee Pod, Aimee’s Art group, Jayne’s Junior artisans, Prestatyn Dementia Community, Prestatyn in Bloom, Grow Wild, Morfa Gateway project and lots more.

Including the lads and lasses I share a pint and a chat with now and then. We will have an Anniversary chat soon 🙂