Awards for Conwy Neighbours with Hearts of Gold

CARING neighbours with hearts of gold were honoured at a housing association’s special day celebrating the lives of older people.

Cartrefi Conwy's Older Persons Day at Venue Cymru, Llanduddno. Pictured: Renee Williams wins an award

More than 200 tenants of Cartrefi Conwy from across the county were invited to the Older Person’s Day at Venue Cymru in Llandudno.

The gala event, with the theme of “Live Life, Love Life” gave them the chance to meet and mingle with people of a similar age from some of the association’s 3,500 properties.

They were able to see examples of the services available to older people and what they themselves can achieve with the right motivation.

Highlight of the day was a glittering Oscars-style awards ceremony in which three elderly tenants were honoured for their voluntary work in the community and. being exceptionally good neighbours.

The Outstanding Volunteer Award, went to Renee Williams for the way she has pioneered a friendship group with the aim of brightening up the lives of fellow residents at The Fron development in Colwyn Bay.

The Older Person’s Champion accolade, was presented to Olwyn Rowlands to mark her continued support of her elderly neighbours and for her ability to make others smile.

The Outstanding Neighbour Award went to Dilys Roberts for the way she goes the extra mile to ensure her neighbours at Maes Cwstennin in Llandudno Junction are comfortable and happy in their homes.

Renee Williams, 77, who has lived at The Fron for just over five years, said: “I set up the friendship group about 12 months ago because I realised there were quite a few people like myself who were living on their own.

“We now have 25 members and meet regularly in the community centre to have a chat and a cup of tea and to hear talks from guest speakers on a wide range of subjects.

“I think the group has helped people to come out of their shell and to make new friends.”

Renee, who has a dozen grandchildren and one great-grandchild, added: “I can’t believe I’ve won and the award – it’s a great honour.”

Olwyn Rowlands, 80, is a longstanding Cartrefi Cowny tenant and was one of the first to move into its £4.2 million Cysgod Y Gogarth development earlier this year.

Olwyn, who is grandmother of 14 and great-grandparent to nine, said: “I noticed that there were quite a few people like me living alone and I felt sorry for them not having any visitors on a Sunday, which is a family day.

“That’s why I set up the Sunday group, which now has 10 members.

“We meet up in the communal area or, if it’s a nice day, we gather in the garden outside for a chat and a cuppa.

“I didn’t expect to win the award but I’m delighted to have got it.”

Dilys Roberts, 77, was unable to collect her award due to illness but it was accepted on her behalf by her Independent Living Co-ordinator, Lynda Whyte.

Councillor Andrew Hinchcliff, who presented the awards, said: “I helped to choose the winners and it was a difficult job as they are all outstanding people with hearts of gold.

“Renee is a highly thought of person who has done a huge mount for the community, Olwyn goes out of her way to make people where she lives feel welcome and Dilys has a warm and compassionate nature and puts others before herself.”

The third annual Older Person’s Day began with a showing of a film highlighting what Cartrefi Conwy’s older people have been up to over the past year,including the new Men’s Shed in Colwyn Bay, the home safety courses run for them and the opening of Cysgod Y Gogarth.

Guests were then given the opportunity to hear about the vital support that is provided to Cartrefi Conwy tenants at their independent Living schemes, and to get on board the Supporting People Campaign to ensure the funding continues.

There was a musical welcome by a choir from Ysgol John Bright and a rousing farewell from the Trelawnyd Male Voice Choir.

Nerys Veldhuizen, Cartrefi Conwy’s Older Person’s Engagement Co-ordinator, said: “It’s been a great day which has highlighted some of the amazing accomplishments of older people and the things they have achieved throughout the year.

Andrew Bowden, Chief Executive of Cartrefi Conwy, said he was also delighted with the way the day had gone.

“It’s within the DNA of Cartrefi Conwy to engage with our tenants and it’s been particularly special to engage with our older tenants at such a fantastic event,” he explained.