Category Archives: News

Press Release

Press release published in the North Wales Pioneer on 31 December 2014.  Cover the official opening of the new roundabout and trim trail.  These were funded by WREN and Cartrefi Conwy, along with others.

Pioneer - Roundabout + Trim Trail 2014

New Ysgol y Gogarth opens to staff and pupils

North Wales Pioneer 17 January 2014

STAFF and pupils have returned to a Llandudno school after an 18-month building project – which cost more than £18million.

The new building at Ysgol y Gogarth – a special school in Craig y Don – opened its doors at the start of January and welcomed pupils to its new array of facilities.

The North Wales Pioneer had the opportunity to take a look around the new school building, guided by David Rowley, head of governors, and Glenda Powell, assistant headteacher.

As well as a variety of purpose-built classrooms for children with a range of disabilities, new amenities include sensory therapy rooms – making use of interactive projectors and touch-screen technology – a climbing wall; an outdoor gym and a heated indoor pool.

Older pupils will also have the chance to train in a variety of skills in a new, on-site cafe.

The school will also provide physiotherapy and behavioural services for pupils from other schools throughout Conwy.

Members of the public will also be able to take advantage of sports and leisure facilties at the new school.

Glenda Powell, assistant headteacher, said staff and pupils had worked with constructors Wilmott Dixon to develop plans for the new school – with pupils suggesting colour schemes and designs.

She said: “The main reason the transition has gone this well is that the teachers, staff and pupils all worked with the contractors during site visits, which prepared them for what’s going to happen.”

David Rowley added: “The new school will help us use the expertise of staff and the excellent facilities to the advantage of all children and young people with disabilities and special needs in Conwy.”

The final stage of the work, with the addition of a new residential space, will be completed by September.

Queens Road closures in July

Queens Road in Craig y Don is going to be closed to traffic for resurfacing during July. Daily closures will occur from 07:00 to 19:00

Phase 1 will affect Queens Road between the junction of Mostyn Avenue and junction of Fferm Bach road from Monday 8th July until Friday 12th July

Phase 2 will affect Queens Road from A470 Roundabout to junction of Fferm Bacj Road.

Llandudno branch of U3A

North Wales Weekly News 10 January 2013 by Mari Jones

THERE are plans to start up a local branch of the most rapidly growing organisation for older people in the UK.

The University of the Third Age (U3A) now has almost 600 branches nationwide and now a Llandudno branch is being set up.

There are thriving U3A’s already in nearby Llanwrst, Penmaenmawr, Abergele and Bangor.

The launch meeting will be held at Craig Y Don community centre on January 22 at 2pm.

The organisers are aiming to attract people from the whole of the Llandudno area including Conwy, Rhos on Sea, Penrhyn Bay, Llandudno Junction, Deganwy and Mochdre.

Further information about the organisation can also be found on the internet at

Sunshine after a ‘reigny’ day…

North Wales Pioneer 13 June 2012

Residents of Craig y Don were set back by Sunday’s rain – but turned out to Monday’s bright skies for a party at Queen’s Park.

More than 200 people attended the party at the park, bringing picnics and browsing stalls set up by the Friends of Queen’s Park group.

Andrew Brazier, chair of the group, said: “We postponed it to the Monday. We did have the Church Hall in reserve, but the forecast for Monday was so nice we decided to postpone it – which appears to have been the right decision.”

He added: “It was exactly the event we wanted to see, with lots of people coming in and using the park.”

Craig y Don marks Queen’s Jubilee

The North Wales Pioneer 23 May 2012

A picnic will be held in Queen’s Park, Craig y Don, to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee weekend from 12 noon on Sunday June 3.

On offer will be tea and coffee, cake stalls, tuck shops, a bouncy castle, lawn darts, football and a welly-throwing contest.

Entry is free and visitors are asked to bring their own picnic.

Llandudno nightspot The Washington Nights closes

Daily Post 17 May 2012

The Washington Nights on East Parade has been bought from Punch Taverns by Fu Lee, owner of Fu’s Cantonese Restaurant in Caernarfon.

It’s unclear what the future of one of the town’s oldest and best known nightspots will be, as the current leaseholder Bijan Sharifian is seeking legal advice after claiming he was forced to cease trading last Friday night.

Mr Sharifian says the electricity was cut off, making it impossible to open. Up to £1,000 worth of food stored in the bar’s freezers was ruined because of the loss of power.

Mr Sharifian said: “We knew The Washington had been sold and we were negotiating with the new owner as we want to continue to run the venue as a nightspot.

“However, we are now having to get legal advice as the electricity was cut off making it impossible for us to trade.

“The building has been partly boarded up and we are being denied access, so at present I just don’t know how feasible it is for us to reopen.

He added: “If we don’t manage it then I’d like to say a big thank you to all the staff, and to all the people who have supported us over the years.”

Some observers believe that the closure of the nightclub will hit the local economy in the near future.

The general manager of the venue, Nicky Jones, said: “We are all really gutted as we’ve all lost our jobs, and it’s going to have a real knock-on effect for the town.

“Local suppliers, doormen, taxi drivers and DJs are all going to feel this, as well as our 20 staff, two of whom were disabled.

“We are still trying to find a way to pay the staff wages as we have lost so much money not being able to trade last weekend.

“We’ve had so many messages of support on Facebook because people are so upset at us having to close.”

David Harris, who worked at The Washington and who has special needs, said: “I waited outside The Washington all alone, it seemed like hours and I got upset and sad.

“I started crying and thought of the years I had been there, I loved working there.”

On Facebook there were dozens of comments. Holly Augood wrote: “Such a shame, The Wash will be missed by many.”

Christine Hughes said: “Gutted! Some amazing memories have been made at the Wash!

“Good luck to everyone for the future!”

Despite numerous attempts to contact Mr Fu Lee, he was unavailable for comment.

Llandudno to get new lifeboat but boathouse issue needs to be resolved first

North Wales Weekly News 26 April 2012

A NEW state-of-the-art water jet powered all-weather lifeboat for Llandudno has been approved by the RNLI.

The Shannon class craft, which is bigger, has a higher top speed and longer search range than the resort’s existing Mersey class boat, could be in service by the end of 2015.

But before that happens the issue of a boathouse big enough to house it needs to be resolved.

The current boat house in Lloyd Street is too small to accommodate the new boat and it’s important a new location is agreed soon.

“It has been well documented that Llandudno’s current boathouse is not suitable to house the slightly larger lifeboat which will succeed the existing Mersey class lifeboat,” said RNLI divisional inspector Colin Williams.

“A boathouse in the town centre presents obvious problems, so we continue to seek alternative sites to enable us to continue saving lives at sea off the North Wales coast in the quickest and safest possible way.”

Llandudno RNLI press officer Alan Sharp said: “RNLI Llandudno is regarded as an essential part of the search and rescue coverage of the Irish Sea, and everyone involved with the RNLI in Llandudno is delighted at this news.”

The idea of building a new lifeboat station was first mooted more than 10 years ago, but plans to build it close to the pier were rejected by planners after strong objections from hoteliers and conservationists.

They said the building would detract from the beauty of the North Shore, and the Grade II listed pier.

But last year the RNLI carried out successful trials of a new lifeboat launching and recovery unit at a site close to the paddling pool between Craig y Don and Craigside.

Previously the Craig y Don area had been discounted because of the difficulties launching in adverse weather conditions ,but it’s believed the new equipment will overcome this.

The rig has been designed to launch and recover the next generation of fast carriage-launched all-weather lifeboats on different types of terrain.

Among the chief opponents to the idea of a new boathouse close to the pier were conservation group Save Our Promenade, but spokesman John Lawson-Reay said they would look favourably on plans to build it at Craig y Don provided it was designed to blend in with the surrounding area.

“A site between Craig y Don and Craigside would be away from the town’s conservation area, and could be less visually intrusive provided the RNLI comes up with an acceptable design,” he said.


Fashion show

North Wales Weekly News 26 April 2012

DEVA Fashion Designers in Craig y Don held a charity fashion show at Deganwy Quay Hotel recently, raising money for Aberconwy Women’s Aid.

Local businesses sponsored it, and the show raised £1,800 for the charity.

In the company of Ruth Lloyd-Williams – Blazing a trail for She-power in the world of business

Daily Post 18 April 2012

LIKE the best brainwaves, it began around the kitchen table – but now a tiny networking group aimed at helping women into business is a business in its own right. Network She has now notched up its first half decade – and five years on, has left the kitchen table well and truly behind.

Its founder Ruth Lloyd-Williams has now acquired office premises in Craig-y-Don and taken on two part-time workers: Julie Jones, office and accounts manager, and Jo Harrison, network coordinator, dealing with events and advertising.

Ruth hopes these positions will become full time before long.

At its inception Network She was about pulling together and supporting female entrepreneurs in North Wales and supporting rural businesses.

Ruth never thought there would be any demand for it anywhere else.

But when women started to turn up at her meetings from as far afield as Warrington, she realised that the need was there across a much wider radius.

And now the group is setting up in Liverpool.

It is, says Ruth, “an exciting time” and she and the team are “thrilled” to be branching out into Merseyside.

Network She is about helping women succeed in the traditionally male-dominated world of business.

“We create opportunities for women to meet to develop themselves and their business,” Ruth told Business Post.

“We put on events and well structured workshops which look at business services and information that is pertinent to what they do.

“We also put on social events – there’s something there for everybody to get involved in.”

She added: “We do it on a flexible basis, so that they can come as and when they like.

“We give women the flexibility to dip in and out when they can.

“It might be that they need opportunity to increase their own confidence and bring themselves out into an environment where they can learn how to expand and develop their business’s social aspect.”

Does Network She help businesswomen ultimately to become more successful and reap higher profits?

“We know that from feedback we get,” replies Ruth.

“People have told us that had they not joined they would never have met their customer base or have the confidence to take that next step with their business, they wouldn’t have thought of that missed opportunity.

Members come in all shapes and sizes.

The latest recruit is just 18 and poised to start her business in May.

Others might be semi-retired but wanting to keep their links with the business community and some are women who want to get out of their current jobs and try their hand at something different.

Membership is via a one-off fee and Network She acts “as a funnel” channelling the information women need as they seek to make it in the business world.

But in an age of equality and laws in place barring sex discrimination, is a group specifically for women rather an outdated concept?

“The only people who say that are blokes!” retorts Ruth.

“Some men will say there is nothing specifically for us but I’d say, have you never been to the Masons, the Rotary, the Lions, and the golf club?

“There is a massive amount out there, and a lot of the networking groups that were there four or five years ago were very male dominated.

“There is a gender issue as far as networking is concerned, and the age question, an awful lot of people won’t get involved in formal networking who are 25 or under because they don’t think they will get taken seriously.

“Also we don’t say ‘no’ to guys, if they want to come to our events they are more than welcome and a lot of them do because there is a room full of their target market.

“When did you last wake up and say I need a new kitchen – you didn’t, but there’s a room full of 40 women who want one.”

Ruth Lloyd-Williams, who combines a full-time job with running Network-She, first realised the need for a women’s networking group when she saw the difficulties her own daughter was having in the wedding industry.

“She is only 25 but when she started four years ago, she found it very difficult to get in front of her customer base,” said Ruth.

“I was talking to the conference and banqueting manager at the Ramada Plaza in Wrexham explaining how difficult it was for Rhian to do that and she said to me ‘have you ever tried networking?’ and I was amazed to find that people did it on a formal basis.

“I couldn’t get my head round it. Why would you need to do that?”

She added: “Once you start to get your head round it, once you get into it, you realise that it is a great, cost-effective way to promote your business.”

The high point of the year for the ladies of Network She is their glittering awards night, held each November amid great fanfare and publicity when North Wales women’s achievements are showcased and celebrated.

They also have produce a glossy magazine with a circulation of 10,000 twice a year which tells the stories of high-achieving women across the region.

Network She is about giving something back as well as succeeding – it supports numerous charities through sponsorship and promotion.

Now Ruth says the hope is to carry she-power across the border and help spread the word even wider still.

Network She’s next event is Celebrating Women in Rural Business on May 2.

It will be held at the Alison Bradley Gallery, Betws y Coed, from 6pm.

For more information or to find out more about the group, log on to or call 0845 0095081.

Llandudno family’s search for much loved pet

North Wales Weekly News 5 April 2012

A TEENAGE brother and sister are heartbroken after their pet dog escaped from their home over a week ago.

And they’re worried she might have been taken in by a family who don’t realise she’s a much loved pet.

“She’s a family dog and we love her. I’m really missing her and so is my brother who’s 14,” said 16-year-old Ysgol John Bright pupil Ashleigh Roberts.

One-year-old Border collie Jessie got out of the family’s former home in Penrhyn Bay on March 16 after jumping out of an open window.

She was last seen on the day of her disappearance at a newsagent’s shop in Trafford Park in Penrhyn Bay at 4pm. It’s believed she was with two teenage boys with dark hair who went into the shop asking for water for her and they also borrowed a lead saying they were taking her to the RSPCA. She never arrived there.

“I have seen the CCTV at the newsagents and I’m sure it’s Jessie. The two boys said they’d found her and asked to borrow a lead saying they would bring it back the next day but they never did.

“She’s so cute they may have decided they wanted to keep her.

“Jessie’s identity tag had come off because that has been returned to us after someone found it in Craig-y-Don. We’ve also had a message that she was seen with two boys in Craig-y-Don park. If anyone has seen her or knows where she is, please contact us,” pleaded Ashleigh.

The family, who now live in Conway Road, Llandudno, have put posters up around the area asking for Jessie’s return and have scoured the streets looking for her.

“We have had calls from people saying they’ve seen her but when we’ve got there she wasn’t there. We’ll keep looking though,” added Ashleigh.

She can be contacted on 07825 662329.

Friends pay tribute after Ben’s body is found in woodland

North Wales Pioneer 4 April 2012

TRIBUTES have flooded in for Ben Steen, a Craig y Don man whose body was found in woodland near St David’s College on Sunday, after he went missing on Friday March 23.

Ben, a former pupil of Ysgol John Bright and Ysgol Craig y Don, worked for his stepfather’s removal company Bill Jones Removals, and played darts for the Conservative Club on Mostyn Street.

Ben’s older sister Becky, 28, paid tribute to her younger brother, describing him as “a jack the lad”, known for his “cheeky smile”.

She added: “We’ll miss him.”

A Facebook group set up to find Ben, called Bring Ben Steen Home, had more than 1000 members by Monday afternoon, many of whom left tributes to their friend.

Becky wrote: “He was the best little brother in the world and I love and miss him so much and miss his cheeky smile!!! Thank you again everyone. Goodnight and godbless you all.”

On Ben’s own Facebook page, Antony Hanson wrote: “RIP Ben such a shame!! The laffs we used to have squabbling on the dinner table in primary!!! Love to all ur family!!!”

Ben leaves Becky, mother Dana, 53, father Mike, 59 and stepfather Bill Jones, 63.

North Wales Police confirmed they found the body of a man in Maelgwyn Woods on Sunday, April 1, and that no suspicious circumstances were linked to the death.

Children were upset after being barred from Craig y Don Community Centre loos

North Wales Weekly News 29 March 2012

CHILDREN were left distressed and crying after they were refused entry to toilets in a community centre.

But the centre’s committee says after several instances of vandalism it has a policy of only allowing people attending events at the building to use the washroom facilities.

Grandmother Margaret Wagstaff from Llandudno was left angry and upset after her daughter and her daughter’s children, aged between two and 13, were refused admission to Craig-y-Don Community Centre’s loos on Monday afternoon.

“She had taken them to Craig-y-Don park and the little one, who is only just out of nappies, needed the loo. Some of the others needed to go too so they and their mum crossed the road to the community centre.

“When they got there a man blocked the way, even though my little granddaughter was crying and he could see they were distressed and he refused to let them in.

“In the end my daughter had to break the law and let them go behind a bush, and the little one wet herself and had to travel home with wet clothing.

“What was supposed to be a lovely family trip to Craig-y-Don park turned into five children and their mum traumatised and upset,” she said.

“This community centre is being run like a private club and they should scrap the word ‘community’ if they won’t let people use the loo. The only community it serves is the elite who can pay to use facilities.”

But Craig-y-Don Community centre chairman Philip Jones explained there are no public toilets available because of repeated vandalism.

And he pointed out that the centre is only open when it is in use for a function or event, and the door is kept locked at other times for security reasons.

“The committee took this decision because there had been repeated abuse of the facilities and vandalism which cost a great deal of money to put right.

“Having said that, we do our best to accommodate people as and when we can. And in light of this incident we will review our policy again,” he said.