News personal blog

Personal thoughts looking back 2016

Thoughts that are my own personal ones and do not reflect the views of any organisation mentioned in the post.

THOUGHTs: “the act of thinking about or considering something, an idea or opinion, or a set of ideas about a particular subject”

My Personal thoughts of 2016 and it has been interesting in a huge number of ways. I have had a number of medical problems brought about by a chest infection and pneumonia at the start of the year, and ongoing heart problems from that, but hopefully they will be sorted soon.

Most of my time has been taken up by work at Artisans Collective CIC. Also with other roles and responsibilities occurring due to being part of a community led organisation.

I am very proud that I was made chair of Prestatyn Dementia Community in May. We have come a long way in a very short space of time with that project.

Being involved with Grow Wild has given me some great opportunities. Including trips to up to Scotland and down to London for the National Lottery awards. I could write a book about that alone.

Alongside our community led initiatives we have been involved with businesses led projects such as The Great British High Street. Cumulating with a trip to the award ceremony in December at Lancaster House London, thanks to our MP Dr James Davies.

It is great being involved with Wales in Bloom and the creation of our Dementia Friends Garden space. All part of raising awareness.

Co-productions with North Wales Police and the town council have been really good this year. Particularly the Spooktacular and Grotto events.

Being awarded the National Lottery “Celebration” award was great and enabled us to have a calendar launch party for Aimee’s art group.

Mens Shed is just another topic, it is brilliant and they are moving into their own premises soon, as well as still meeting at The Old Library each week.

Bikes have played a big role as usual this year. thoughts of a bike rider

I enjoyed riding the Great Orme again this year as part of the i61 Church £10 Challenge. Also whilst raising a fantastic £1800 for Prestatyn Dementia Community and meeting some great people.

We have also taken on the Adapted bikes from DVSC and are in talks with Wheels for All about the longevity of the project.

Outside of the Old Library and Denbighshire the word is spreading.

I am extremely proud to have been invited to talk a number of times for the Alzheimer’s Society, The Older People’s Commissioner for Wales and The Wales Audit Office Best Practice team.

Wherever I have spoken people are so impressed with what we are doing here in Prestatyn, it is amazing. From Bangor to Cardiff or closer to home in Wrexham or Conwy the reception has been fantastic.

Our Health and Wellbeing work with Healthy Prestatyn Iach  is going from strength to strength and I am really looking forward to what potentially happen in 2017.

The Future?

I have never been a negative person but my thoughts are that 2017 could be the most challenging year ever.

Why do I say that?

As I have travelled up and down the UK this year I have seen the fantastic work carried out by the 3rd Sector. I have delivered key note speeches about it. But never in my own County!

I have been offered jobs and secondments by other organisations and other places to develop similar models to Artisans Collective. But I love Prestatyn and it’s community and there is a lot more to achieve here.

Our own County are willing to sell the building from under us in 2017. Hence why I say 2017 is going to be challenging.

We are recognised as doing great work up and down the country. But maybe not within Denbighshire County Council. This could be due to past bad experiences. This I hope to change.

Myself, my colleagues and supporters will be fighting every step of the way to ensure the longevity of Artisans Collective CIC. In my thoughts and ambitions based at a renovated Old Library, Prestatyn.

What are third sector organisations?

My thoughts are that not enough people fully understand ‘Third sector organisations’ , A term used to describe the range of organisations that are neither public sector nor private sector.

It includes voluntary and community organisations (both registered charities and other organisations such as associations, self-help groups and community groups), social enterprises, mutuals and co-operatives.

Third sector organisations (TSOs) generally are independent of government. This is also an important part of the history and culture of the sector and are ‘value-driven’.

This means they are motivated by the desire to achieve social goals (for example, improving public welfare, the environment or economic well-being).

Rather than the desire to distribute profit; and reinvest any surpluses generated in the pursuit of their goals.

For this reason TSOs are sometimes called ‘not-for-profit organisations’. A better term is ‘not-for-personal-profit’. In many cases, TSOs need to make surpluses (or ‘profits’) to be financially sustainable.

TSOs can take a number of legal forms. Many are simple associations of people with shared values and objectives. Many have company status but with a not-for-personal-profit approach.

Very many have charitable status or are community interest companies, industrial and provident societies or co-operatives.

Benefits that third sector organisations can give commissioners

Public services can gain a lot from working with third sector organisations.

The benefits vary across policy and geographical areas. But some of the common themes are TSOs’:

Understanding of the needs of service users and communities that the public sector needs to address;

Closeness to the people that the public sector wants to reach;

Ability to deliver outcomes that the public sector finds it hard to deliver on its own;

Innovation in developing solutions; and Performance in delivering services.

TSOs also speak out for people and their needs to the public sector and to wider society.

Such activity may be based on a local, drop-in advice service for people living with Dementia, right through to a charity’s national communications campaign. Such work dovetails with TSOs’ services to the public.

Personally I really want to push the fact that the 3rd sector is not a bunch of “do gooders” prancing around volunteering for the sake of it.

The Third sector is now a necessity to enable our communities to function.

We are as professional or if not better than some of the “establishment”.

I would not wish to see anybody pushed out of work because of volunteers.

That is a big misunderstanding we are not here to replace. But to enhance what is available to our community. Sometimes in a more relaxed less formal way.

We aim to

  • Act immediately on any project or task that we feel needs attention. Without the historic constraints of other larger institutions or organizations.
  • Partner with larger or smaller organisations.
  • Not compete with statutory services.
  • Facilitate and help other groups form, grow and develop.
  • Continue to enable others to benefit from our experiences.
  • Be self-funding.
  • Always be community led.
personal blog Workshop

New bike projects underway

Projects Update 2016

With lots going on recently at Artisans Collective CIC, Prestatyn Dementia Friendly Community and Prestatyn Men’s shed my personal bike projects had been placed on hold.

Jayne at Surf Snowdonia with our 1990 Mazda Eunos that is fondly nicknamed WTF due to its registration letters.

August was also very busy with work away from Prestatyn including a PR trip to Glasgow for Grow Wild. Also I went back to my roots adding a Mazda MX5 Classic sports car to our projects.

I have installed a new radiator, sound system, windblocker, cockpit brace, and am currently renovating a hardtop for use in the winter. I raced a couple of similar cars in UK race championships a few years ago. They are really nice to work on.

Having entered the Great Orme sponsored bike ride for charity again this year, it is time to consider what bike to use, last year I used the trike that I built for Jayne.
testing the trike projects



Latest Concept

This year I am considering designing, building and riding a 2 wheel drive electric bike.

The concept will use a 300 watt rear wheel and 250 watt front wheel to aid stability. I hope to be able to utilise a single Lithium-ion 36v 15ah battery. My calculations say that that would give just over 1 hour of power at about 25mph, when off road.

The current regulations limit electric bikes to 15mph and 250 watts when used in public areas. I propose to just use the front wheel drive when on public roads and enable the rear wheel drive when off road.

universal bike

I will utilise the bog standard Universal bike for testing the concept before building a higher spec bike if the concept works well.

If it proves successful I will build the mark two version around an aluminum framed mountain bike with suspension and disc brakes.

News personal blog Workshop

Specialized Rockhopper bike in the workshop today

Specialized Rockhopper my Old School favourite hardtail bike.

Specialized rockhopper bike
Specialized rockhopper bike

Specialized Bicycle Components, Inc., more commonly known simply as Specialized, is a major American brand of bicycles and related products. It was founded in 1974 by Mike Sinyard and is based in Morgan Hill, California. Their UK website is here.

The rockhopper model has been in production for over 20 years and has been constantly evolving into the model below which is the 2015 version.

Rockhopper Expert 29
Rockhopper Expert 29

The version we are working on today has really good rim brakes and twistgrip shifting, of which I am not a great fan.

The bike has a problem on the front derailleur that has not been cured by the fitting of a new chain and twistgrip.

So today we are upgrading by fitting a new Shimano Deore LX front mech.

Also a side stand, rack, panniers and bags to enable the cycle to be used as a daily commuter bike are being fitted.

I will be removing the old Shimano front mech by drilling a rivet out of the cage on the shifter mechanism, to avoid the need to split the new chain. The new mech already has a removable bolt to allow this.

Specialized Rockhopper front mech
Starting to setup Specialized Rockhopper front mech

The new mech has made shifting much easier and smoother, with less effort needed at the twistgrip.

It did take quite a bit of setting up, as what felt right in the workshop needed a slight tweak  after a road test and lubrication of the chain and gear set.

Fitting the rack and panniers has added weight but as the bike is being used mainly on the daily commute this is fine as the space to carry equipment to and from is essential.

Not a bad half hours work and it is only 8am now !