News personal blog volunteer

Think outside of the box?

In a week when Artisans Collective have received an award for innovation and “thinking outside of the box”. It has also taken some self discipline to remain inside the box.

outside the box box

One of the most well-worn phrases in the business world is “thinking outside the box”. It is supposed to mean thinking creatively, freely, and off the beaten path.

It’s the kind of thinking that ,  in an age of increasingly powerful algorithms and neural networks,  attracts significant attention. For now, it’s the kind of stuff that machines can’t do that well.

Sometimes we have to remain inside the box.

This week I received my Dementia Friends Champion Training. Which has an absolutely set format of delivery. Ensuring all friends receive very similar information. Regardless of the person delivering. To me this is inside the box thinking.

“A Dementia Friends Champion is a volunteer who encourages others to make a positive difference to people living with dementia in their community. They do this by giving them information about the personal impact of dementia, and what they can do to help. It’s easy to get involved. “

More information here.
inside the box

“If you never venture outside the box, you will probably not be creative. But if you never get inside the box, you will certainly be stupid. “

The origin of the phrase is not clear, but it became popular because of the nine-dot puzzle. Now a management consultancy staple that poses a problem: how to connect nine dots with four straight lives drawn by never lifting one’s pencil?

The temptation is to draw a box, which does not solve the problem. Rather, one must draw lines outside the confines of the box shape suggested by the arrangement of the nine dots.

The box puzzle

I wish I had a pound for everytime I have seen it used.

So why does it matter?

We are involved in lots of community activities, which brings us in to contact with lots of different organisations, agencies and groups.

Some of the organisations have very strict guidelines and procedures. I see them as restricted by the box. It is not a criticism as sometimes it is statutory requirements that dictate it.

However we are fortunate to have met some very innovative leaders within some of the organisations who see the benefits of co-producing with others “outside of the box”.

One such example is that we have been working recently with Heléna Herklots CBE, Older People’s Commissioner for Wales.

When you get messages like the one below from The Commissioner, it helps us realise that our “out of the box” thinking is sometimes appreciated.

“Thank you very much for coming to the session on Tuesday to review the feedback from the consultation on my priorities, and to contribute your knowledge, experience and ideas to the development of my work programme. I thought it was both an enjoyable and useful meeting, and I hope you felt so too.

I will be publishing my one year work programme and three year strategy in the first week of April and I will of course send you a copy. In the meantime if you have any other thoughts on the work programme please don’t hesitate to contact me.”

Other more regional organisations such as, North Wales Police and the Health Board. In my own personal opinion have leaders who are willing and indeed encouraging input from the grass root level.

Talking about Roots!

I have to mention another major organisation that “get” what we are trying to achieve here in Prestatyn. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Through Grow Wild, Kew is inspiring millions of people to grow as a group, get active, learn about and engage with nature, and give back through volunteering. All of which can improve health and wellbeing, as well as urban and unloved spaces across the UK.

They are supporting our efforts at The Morfa Gateway Project in 2019. Their objectives are totally in line with ours.

It has been a hectic March with lots more exciting things just about to emerge, including our BBC appearance on the box April 5th.

personal blog volunteer

Start of 2019 my first blog post this year

The start of this year has been really amazing already. Below are just some of the things that I have done within the past Two weeks. These are over and above our normal weekly activities at The Old Library. Plus attending a funeral.

Start of the ICAN centres.

mental health

As part of my involvement with the LIT (Local Implementation Team) for mental health. I am very pleased that Artisans Collective will be hosting an ICAN volunteer information recruitment session on the 22nd January 2019. More event information here.

The ICAN CENTRES are based at Ysbyty Gwynedd, Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and Ysbyty Maelor and support the Emergency Departments at each hospital. They will be offering a listening ear to patients who come to the ED. But don’t have a physical injury or a medical reason for seeking help. On a nightly basis many people will arrive at the ED Departments via Ambulance, the Police. In a car or taxi or on foot simply because the lights are on and they have nowhere else to turn for help.

The ICAN Centres are open every night of the week between 7am and 2am. They are looking for Session Supervisors and also Volunteers to join our teams across the three hospitals of North Wales.

We are inviting applications to become part of the ICAN Centre teams from people from all walks of life. From people who are already working within the Third Sector supporting organisations. To dedicated individuals who could offer their time, to students and Health Board Robins. Or retired professionals who want to be part of this huge and innovative new venture.

Full training and induction will be provided. Additionally you will be required to supply a current DBS Certificate. Alternatively be happy for us to apply for a DBS Certificate on your behalf. The Supervisor Session staff will be paid on an hourly range basis. Volunteers will be paid their expenses (up to 15 miles each way from the sites).

For more information please contact Meinir Evans, Project Coordinator or contact your local CVC Office

Women’s Institute Talk

Friday 11th January, it was a pleasure to give a talk to about 80 ladies at Dyserth WI all about what we get involved with. Mostly about Prestatyn Dementia Friendly Community and ICAN.

It felt like I was amongst friends and had some great feedback. Also there was cake.

Making a start with Ageing Well in Denbighshire.

I am delighted to have been invited to join the Ageing Well in Denbighshire (AWD) Group.

The group comprises various organisations and individuals who come together to consider wellbeing of our citizens in Denbighshire. Whilst the Ageing Well in Denbighshire forum is predominantly about Older People’s issues. It seeks to develop and promote its activities, intergenerationally. Across all age groups in Denbighshire.

The meetings will encourage members to share information and exchange best practice relating to recent. Current and suggested future activity. Particularly in terms of influencing and promoting, health, social care and wellbeing.

Link to the plan here.

Alzheimer’s Society filming and an invitation to present at their National Conference

start of filming

Proud to have filmed with Jo from Alzheimer’s Society Cymru on Wednesday morning 16th at  Artisans Collective a Community Hub at the Old Library Prestatyn where Peter and Steve  talked about our day to day activities.

Further more on March 7th I will be presenting at the National conference in Cardiff after an early morning start. Talking about all we do in Prestatyn and North Wales to help promote awareness of Dementia Friends and community engagement.

Prestatyn Dementia Friendly Community

Myself and Steve who is One of our champions were volunteering at the Morfa Gateway Project on Thursday 17th. When we received a message telling us about a chap in distress at a local business. Where staff have recently become Dementia Friends.

I went to offer help and support and thankfully there was a good resolution.

We did not realise that a member of the public had been observing the proceedings. Furthermore they have written a wonderful message to the manager of the establishment, part of which we have included below.

Part of what the member of the public wrote.

We will be holding a general meeting of Prestatyn Dementia Friendly Community soon. Everybody will be welcome to attend and can sign up to become a Dementia Friend or additionally become part of our steering group.

Everybody can make a difference in our community and to the wellbeing of its citizens.

Community engagement/planning meeting.

We had a great meeting on Thursday 17th at Artisans Collective a Community Hub at the Old Library Prestatyn  including representatives from Prestatyn Town Council, Denbighshire County Council,  Prestatyn Branch. The Royal British Legion.  Additionally Paul and Craig from Sound Radio WalesHGC Dinbych Arfordirol ac Abergele / NWP Denbighshire Coastal and Abergele and others. Organised and all pulled together by our good friend David Evans from Bangor University.

Composting Workshop arranged close to the start of spring.

The start of events at Mens Shed Prestatyn

Free Adult learning 

We have helped organise a free composting workshop at Men’s Shed Prestatyn. So please come along to our one day course on how to make your own compost from your household waste.

Please dress appropriately for hands on outside learning. Also please bring your own packed lunch. 

The Benefit of making a start at Composting

Approximately 1/3 of your domestic waste can be composted at home, therefore saving energy and resources and benefiting your garden and your pocket.

Please book your space

Space is limited so please contact Mair Davies ASAP on 07969891683 .

Or email to book your place or alternatively find out more about the course.


Mens Shed is on Fern Avenue, Prestatyn. The closest car parking is available on Fern Avenue car Park. It’s then only a very short walk to the Men’s Shed Building on Fern Avenue.

Morfa Gateway and Long Forest Project

On a cold and damp day at the start of the year. Our volunteers joined others from Hedgehog Help PrestatynPrestatyn & District Environment AssociationMorfa Gateway ProjectDyserth WI. Plus lots of other citizens including Anton, the mayor of Prestatyn. Working alongside Denbighshire Countryside Service planting hedges as part of the long forest project on Coed Y Morfa .

Some of the volunteers and countryside services rangers at the first planting at the start of 2019

The First App completed.

Pleased that we have now completed the start of many  Morfa Gateway Project Nature for Health Trail apps at The Coed Y Morfa Community Woodland.

This is a very simple 1Km accessible flat terrain walk ideal for somebody just getting back or making a start into exercise. The start is from the car park at Morfa Gateway. Also the walk finishes in the same place.

Based around the existing trim trail. We are using smartphone GPS technology to notify the app user of their current location. Furthermore the completion level.

Future bounds will have much more detailed information and will be extended to other areas of our locality.

Grow Wild and Eden community.

On Friday 18th Steve and myself were in Bangor giving a presentation for Wales Eden Communities and Grow Wild about the 5 ways to wellbeing.

We were first up talking about one of the topics “connected”. Which was very appropriate as Aimee’s Friday Art Group met at CookHouse Prestatyn  Also the afternoon Prestatyn Dementia Friendly Community session met at Torello Lounge. Talk about connected 🙂

A huge thanks to both establishments for connecting with our community groups.

It is great presenting about connecting within communities. In conclusion we have engaged with over 60 different different organisations locally and nationally as part of our voluntary efforts. Amazingly this is in just the first Two weeks at the start of 2019.

News volunteer Workshop

Festive activities and new pathway for 2019. – Morfa Gateway Prestatyn

December 21st a fantastic festive activity day at the project with DCC Countryside Service and lots of participants during the Free Wooden Reindeer workshop

Source: Festive activities and new pathway for 2019. – Morfa Gateway Prestatyn