Tag Archives: Ceredigion

Gwesty Seren: Effective asset transfer and a new way of providing respite care

As we live in challenging economic times, it’s likely that a lot of voluntary organisations and Town and Community Councils will have community assets transferred to them. Dyfrig Williams visited Gwesty Seren to hear the lessons learnt from their community asset transfer and how they deliver respite care.

We are often signposted to examples of good practice, but it’s not so often that we hear about a project with good practice to share for a few different reasons.

We went to Gwesty Seren, a hotel based in Gwynedd that offers supported holidays, to learn about how it’s been transferred successfully to the community. But I also had a broader interest in how they’re providing respite care in a very different way.

The charity’s work

Picture of Gwesty Seren

Gwesty Seren

Seren is a charity that is based in Blaenau Ffestiniog, which provides care for people with learning difficulties. The charity was founded 20 years ago under Care in the Community, with the aim of supporting people to move out of institutions and into the community. People create craft and art, which is then sold in the shop and market garden. This helped people to be independent so that they didn’t rely on fees from Gwynedd Council or private individuals, and it also gives them a chance to get a taste of work. This mentality has continued at Gwesty Seren, where they provide work experience.

Gwesty Seren decided to go further than standard respite care. They wanted to provide a different kind of care, so they created a 3 star hotel with a focus on supporting disabled people. The toilets and rooms have been developed so that they are accessible to everyone.

The hotel also allows families to stay there. Their research showed that a lot of families have received poor respite care in the past, so they weren’t happy to leave their children’s care entirely in the hands of someone they didn’t know. The hotel allows them to stay with their children if they want, but whilst also giving them the break they need. This unique service means that the hotel also provides spaces for people who receive services from nearby councils, like Conwy and Ceredigion, with families even travelling to stay from across the border in England.

The success of the hotel has led to it working with three companies that specialise in holidays for people with learning difficulties, and recently, two further companies that specialise in holidays for physically disabled people began using the facilities. The people who have stayed there often end up coming back and making a block booking.

A photograph of a room at Gwesty Seren

A room at Gwesty Seren

The history of the building

The building itself was originally built by Lord Newborough in 1728 as a summer house. It stayed like this until just after the First World War, when the family took in soldiers who had had an accident or shock in the war to have a break or respite.

In the 1930s the building was given to two Franciscan Monks. They invited homeless people to stay, with the youngest monk travelling to London to invite people to stay at Bryn Llywelyn, as it was called at the time. Then the building was sold to Meirionnydd Council as a residential house for children, before being turned into an old people’s home. In 2010 the Council decided to close it.

Seren made a bid for the building to the Welsh Government and the Big Lottery Fund’s Community Asset Transfer Fund. A full application was submitted, before the work began in 2013. The work was completed in April 2014.

Transferring the building

Usually the transfer of assets from the public sector take place free of charge, but in this case, the council decided to sell the building at less than the market price. The council had to go through committees and raise awareness through the media, so it was not a quick process.

The cost of everything, including the purchase, was around £1,000,000, and applying for grants was a laborious process. Because it required a significant amount, the charity went on to borrow from the Charity Bank.

They were aware that questions would be asked about State Aid, so the charity hired a Cardiff law firm that specialised in it. A report was written on minimising the risk and the document showed the rationale for why it did not break the rules. It was a great help when working with European Officers and the Welsh European Funding Office.

Key messages

So one of the main message from Gwesty Seren is that asset transfer isn’t a quick process. But it’s clear by looking at the comments on their TripAdvisor page that the hard work has been worth it. And from the testimonials of other customers (whether it’s directly to the hotel or in a newsletter), I can see that their respite care that has a big impact on people’s lives, has helped the regeneration of  Blaenau Ffestiniog by creating 10 full time jobs and is actively contributing to the area’s tourist industry.

Gwesty Seren: Trosglwyddo asedau yn effeithiol a dull newydd o ofal ysbaid

Yn yr hinsawdd economaidd sydd ohoni, mae’n debyg fe fydd llawer o gyrff gwirfoddol a Chynghorau Tref a Chymuned yn mynd ati i drosglwyddo asedau o’r Cyngor Sir. Aeth Dyfrig Williams i Westy Seren i ddysgu am ei brofiad nhw o drosglwyddo ased a sut maen nhw’n darparu gofal ysbaid.

Rydym yn cael ein arwyddbostio ato arfer da yn aml, ond nid yw’n aml ein bod ni’n clywed am un prosiect sydd gydag arfer da i’w rhannu mewn sawl gwahanol faes.

Aethom i Westy Seren i ddysgu am sut mae ased wedi cael ei drosglwyddo i’r cymuned yn lwyddiannus. Ond roedd gen i ddiddordeb ehangach yn y gwaith gan fy mod i wedi clywed am y gwaith arloesol maent yn wneud wrth ddarparu gofal ysbaid.

Gwaith yr elusen

Llun o Westy Seren

Gwesty Seren

Cwmni ag elusen yw Seren sydd â phencadlys ym Mlaenau Ffestiniog. Prif waith yr elusen yw cynnig gofal i bobl sydd ag anawsterau dysgu. Sefydlwyd yr elusen 20 mlynedd yn ôl o dan Ofal yn y Gymuned. Bwriad yr elusen oedd cael pobl ag anawsterau dysgu allan o sefydliadau ac i fyw yn y gymuned. Mae pobl sydd yno yn creu crefft a chelf ac yn rhedeg siop a gardd farchnad. Mae hwn yn rhoi annibyniaeth i’r bobl sy’n gweithio achos nad yw pobl jyst yn dibynnu ar ffioedd o Gyngor Gwynedd neu unigolion preifat, ac mae fe hefyd yn rhoi cyfle i bobl cael blas ar waith. Mae’r meddylfryd yma wedi parhau wrth roi profiad o waith i bobl yng Ngwesty Seren.

Penderfynodd Seren gwneud mwy na chreu gwasanaeth ysbaid wrth ffurfio’r Gwesty. Roedden nhw eisiau gwell ansawdd na thŷ, felly creuwyd gwesty 3 seren sy’n ffocysu ar anabledd a phobl sydd ag anawsterau dysgu. Mae’r toiledau ac ystafelloedd wedi’u datblygu i fod yn hygyrch i bawb.

Mae’r gwesty hefyd yn galluogi teuluoedd i aros yno. Dangosodd ei ymchwil bod lot o deuluoedd wedi derbyn gofal ysbaid gwael yn y gorffennol, ac felly nid oedden nhw’n hapus i adael eu plant yng ngofal trydydd person. Mae’r gwesty yn galluogi nhw i aros gyda’u plant os maent yn dymuno, ond hefyd i gael yr ysbaid sydd angen. Mae’r gwasanaeth unigryw yma yn meddwl bod y gwesty yn darparu llefydd i bobl sy’n derbyn gwasanaethau o gynghorau cyfagos fel Conwy a Cheredigion. Mae teuluoedd yn dod o Loegr i aros yn y gwesty hefyd.

Mae llwyddiant y Gwesty yn meddwl ei bod yn gweithio gyda thri chwmni sy’n arbenigo mewn gwyliau ar gyfer pobl sydd ag anawsterau dysgu ac, yn ddiweddar, penderfynodd dau gwmni arall sydd yn arbenigo mewn gwyliau ar gyfer pobol ag anableddau corfforol ddechrau ddefnyddio’ cyfleusterau. Mae’r bobl sydd wedi aros yn aml yn dod yn ôl ac yn wneud archebion bloc.

Hanes yr adeilad

Ffotograff o ystafell yng Ngwesty Seren

Ystafell yng Ngwesty Seren

Cafodd yr adeilad ei hun ei adeiladu’n wreiddiol gan yr Arglwydd Newborough yn 1728 fel ty haf. Parhaodd fel tŷ haf nes jyst ar ol y rhyfel byd cyntaf, pryd wnaeth teulu cymryd milwyr i fewn a oedd wedi cael damwain neu sioc yn y rhyfel i cael seibiant neu ysbaid.

Yn y 1930s cafodd yr adeilad ei roi i ddau fynach Assisi. Fe wnaethon nhw wahodd pobl ddigartref i mewn, gyda’r mynach ieuengaf yn trafaelu i Lundain i wahodd pobl i aros ym Mryn Llywelyn, fel y cafodd ei alw ar y pryd. Yna cafodd yr adeilad ei werthu i Gyngor Meirionnydd, ble roedd yn nhŷ preswyl i blant, cyn cael ei droi’n gartref preswyl i henoed. Yn 2010 penderfynodd y Cyngor ei gau.

Fe wnaeth Seren cais i Gronfa Trosglwyddo Asedau Cymunedol Llywodraeth Cymru a’r Gronfa Loteri Fawr. Cyflwynwyd cais llawn, cyn cychwyn y gwaith yn 2013. Cwblhawyd y gwaith yn Ebrill 2014.

Trosglwyddo’r adeilad

Fel arfer mae trosglwyddo asedau o’r sector cyhoeddus yn digwydd am ddim, ond yn yr achos yma penderfynodd y cyngor gwerthu am bris llai na’r farchnad. Bu rhaid i’r cyngor mynd trwy bwyllgorau a chodi ymwybyddiaeth trwy’r wasg, felly nid oedd yn broses cyflym.

Roedd y costau rhwng prynu a phob dim yn tua £1,000,000, ac roedd gwneud ceisiadau ar gyfer grantiau ac ati yn broses llafurus. Gan fod angen swm sylweddol, aeth yr elusen ati i fenthyg o’r Banc Elusennau.

Roeddent yn ymwybodol byddai cwestiynau yn cael ei ofyn am gymorth gwladwriaethol, felly aeth yr elusen at gwmni cyfreithiol yng Nghaerdydd sy’n arbenigo yn hyn. Ysgrifennwyd adroddiad ar finimeiddio’r risg ac fe wnaeth y ddogfen dangos y rhesymeg am pam nad oedd yn torri’r rheolau. Roedd yr adroddiad yma yn cymorth mawr wrth ddelio a Swyddfa Cyllid Ewropeaidd Cymru a Swyddogion Ewrop amdano’r gwesty.

Prif negeseuon

Felly’r prif neges o Westy Seren yw nad ydy’n broses cyflym sy’n digwydd mewn chwinciad. Ond serch hynny mae’n glîr trwy edrych ar y sylwadau ar ei dudalen TripAdvisor bod y gwaith caled wedi bod yn werth chweil. Ac os edrychwch chi ar y geirda yma o ofalwr neu’r erthygl yma mewn cylchlythyr, mae’n glîr bod y gwesty yn cynnig gofal ysbaid sy’n cael effaith mawr ar bywydau pobl, sydd wedi cyfranu at adfywio ardal Blaenau Ffestiniog gan greu 10 o swyddi llawn amser, ac wedi cyfrannu at y diwydiant twristiaeth.

Disaster recovery in action

Effective use of Information Technology

Before I moved to Cardiff a couple of years ago, Aberystwyth was my home for the best part of a decade. I used to walk past the National Library of Wales every day on my way to work and pause for a second by the building so I could check out the fantastic view of the town from there.

When a fire broke out in the Library, my friends’ social media accounts were consumed by the story, as they all worried about friends who worked there, the building itself, and resources that it holds that are treasured both locally and nationally.

Effects of fire on the National Library of Wales

A picture taken from the BBC website of the effects of the fire on the National Library of Wales

The scale of the reaction was dwarfed by the effects of the fire. When pictures emerged we were all shocked by them.

Einion Gruffudd and Owain Pritchard spoke at our IT shared learning seminar about how the Library managed to get their IT systems back online amidst all this. The fire occurred on the Friday, but amazingly computer services were up and running on the Monday, and the library was open for business as usual on the Tuesday.

Owain Pritchard speaking about the effect of the fire

There were lots of lessons to be learnt and experiences to share from Einion and Owain’s accounts. I wasn’t aware that most of the damage was caused by the water from extinguishing the fire rather than the fire itself, but incredibly data was recovered from 90% of the equipment affected. We heard how two data centres, a mesh network and virtualisation had all played a role in the system recovery.

Lots of the key messages from the session were highlighted on Twitter and can be seen on the Storify of the seminars. I highly recommend watching our interview with Einion too. Fortunately few of us ever need to put our disaster recovery systems into practice, so there’s lots for us to learn from people who’ve had to put their plans into action.

–      Dyfrig

Rhoi cynllun adfer ar ôl drychineb ar waith

Defnydd effeithiol o Dechnoleg Gwybodaeth

Cyn symudais i i Gaerdydd cwpl o flynyddoedd yn ôl, roeddwn i’n byw yn Aberystwyth am bron i ddegawd. Pan fyddai fi’n cerdded i’r gwaith byddai fi’n stopio ar bwys adeilad Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru er mwyn edrych ar yr olygfa wych o’r dref o ‘na.

Pan roedd yna dân yn y Llyfrgell, roedd cyfrifau cyfryngau cymdeithasol fy ffrindiau i gyd yn ffocysu ar y stori, wrth iddyn nhw boeni am eu ffrindiau oedd yn gweithio yna, yr adeilad ei hun, a’r adnoddau sy’n cael eu trysori yn lleol ac yn genedlaethol.

Tân Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru

Llun o effaith y tân ar Lyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru o wefan y BBC

Serch hynny roedd maint yr ymateb yn fychan iawn i’w gymharu gydag effaith y tân. Pan gafodd lluniau eu cyhoeddi roeddwn ni gyd wedi synnu.

Siaradodd Einion Gruffudd ac Owain Pritchard yn ein seminar dysgu a rennir ar Dechnoleg Gwybodaeth am sut wnaeth y Llyfrgell llwyddo i gael ei systemau yn ôl ar-lein. Dechreuodd y tân ar y dydd Gwener, ond mae’n rhyfeddol i feddwl roedd gwasanaethau cyfrifiadurol ‘nôl fyny ar ddydd Llun, ac roedd y llyfrgell ar agor fel yr arfer ar ddydd Mawrth.

Owain Pritchard yn siarad am effaith y tân

Roedd llawer o wersi i’w dysgu a phrofiadau i’w rhannu o sesiynau arddangos Einion ac Owain. Doeddwn i ddim yn gwybod bod rhan fwyaf o’r difrod wedi’i achosi gan y dŵr a diffodd y tân yn hytrach na’r tân ei hun, ond cafodd data ei adennill o 90% o’r offer yr effeithir arnynt. Clywsom sut wnaeth dau ganolfan data, rhwydwaith “mesh” a thechnoleg rithiol chwarae rôl mewn adfer y system.

Cafodd llawer o’r prif negeseuon y sesiwn eu hamlygu ar Twitter a gellir ei weld ar Storify. Fi ‘n bendant yn awgrymu eich bod chi’n gwylio ein cyfweliad gydag Einion hefyd. Yn ffodus does byth rhaid i lawer ohonom roi ein systemau adfer ar ôl drychineb ar waith, felly mae llawer o bethau i ni ddysgu oddi wrth bobl sydd wedi gweithredu eu cynlluniau.

Dyfrig