Community heroes honoured for “amazing” contribution


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A retired chef with a heart of gold has been honoured for being a “brilliant” neighbour.

Great grandmother Gwyneth Davies, from Old Colwyn, is in  her seventies and keeps a watchful eye on her older neighbour and cooks food for her.

Gwyneth received the Outstanding Neighbour Award at a ceremony organised by her landlords, Cartrefi Conwy, at the Kinmel Manor Hotel in Abergele.

Fellow tenant Ian Trethoven, 52, from Colwyn Bay, received the Outstanding Volunteer Award for his work with a number of different community projects.

The awards were presented by Sarah Rochira, the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales.

According to Gwyneth, winning the award came as a total surprise.

She said: “It was totally unexpected and a real surprise. I live in Heather Close, Old Colwyn and there are just a handful of Cartrefi Conwy bungalows. If my neighbours want or need anything I’ll do what I can.

“However, I don’t see that as anything special, it’s how I was brought up quite frankly. I was always taught it’s important to look out for and help each other. I just don’t see it as out of the ordinary if I’m honest.”

Gwyneth, who is a qualified chef who also managed a hotel in Llandudno, added: “My next door neighbour, Miss Thorley, is in her 80s and it makes sense that if I make some fresh soup or another other meal that if I have more than I need then I make her some too.

“If I don’t see her for a few days I will check to see if everything is OK. I know others would do the same for me. We have a lovely little community and enjoy living where we do.

“I have really enjoyed the Older Persons Day and there is no doubt Cartrefi Conwy has put a great deal of thought and effort into making the day mean something to older tenants.”

Ian Trethoven was also very surprised to be named as Cartrefi Conwy’s top volunteer.

He said: “I have lived in sheltered accommodation at Ffordd Pandy, Colwyn Bay for 15 years.

“I volunteer for many different schemes including Conwy Connect and TAPE Community Music and Film as well as helping run coffee mornings and other events at Ffordd Pandy.

“I can’t get a job because I am classified as autistic apparently. It’s quite a mild form but it means I just can’t get a job. I have applied over and over again but just get turned down. Now I’m struggling with my legs and mobility a bit too.

“So volunteering keeps me occupied and means I’m doing something worthwhile. I was very surprised to hear I’d won and I have to thank everyone who nominated me. It means a lot because it shows I’m appreciated.”

Nerys Veldhuizen, Cartrefi Conwy’s Older Person Engagement officer says the idea for the awards was to celebrate the often unheralded community work of tenants.

She said: “The theme of our Older Persons Day was Passion for Life. This was based around four headings, movement, health and well-being, safety in the home and social networking.

“As part of that we decided it would be a great idea to celebrate an outstanding neighbour and community volunteer.

“Our vision at Cartrefi Conwy is to create communities to be proud of and the number of our tenants that actively volunteer and help their individual communities is amazing.”

Sarah Rochira felt it was a privilege to attend the event and present the awards.

She said: “It’s amazing to see the difference Cartrefi Conwy is making to the lives of some of our amazing older people.

“The two awards show just how much of a contribution some people make to their communities. It is a wonderful example to us all.”

Cartrefi Conwy Chief Executive, Andrew Bowden added: “It is important we recognise the effort and contribution of our tenants in helping us improve and build communities we can be proud of.

“Both Gwyneth, who is a brilliant neighbour, and Ian, who works tirelessly as a volunteer, richly deserve their awards and I’m pleased we, in a small way, have been able to recognise the important contribution they make to their communities.”

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