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16 October 2014

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Turn Your Anger Into Action

By Ann-Marie Connor
May 2007, Colwyn Bay
A digital story from Capture Wales

"I hate people moaning about things and then not doing anything about it. We all do it, but I now know you can make a difference. This is our success story, and a tribute to a few ordinary people who are working together to turn a neglected area of a Welsh seaside town back into the beauty spot it once was.

I live in The Dingle, Colwyn Bay. 100 years ago, it was known as Dingle Dell, a wooded haven with stone walls, the dingle stream, and footpaths linking the hotels of the town with the prom.

Four years ago, it was a mess and I was angry. Years of neglect and valdalism had left us with piles of rubbish, graffiti, fallen trees, dog dirt and flooding. It was more a haven for teenage drinkers and druggies. Something had to be done, so I got together with a few neighbours, and a couple of dog walkers who all wanted to make a difference.

We couldn't get any official help, so we set up our own conservation group - Friends of the Dingle, or to look better when applying for funding, The Colwyn Bay Conservation & Environment Federation, which is a mouthful, but works.

We got funding and started to make a change. There I was, pregnant, and picking up drink cans and aerosols with my two little girls at our first litter pick, and we haven't stopped since. It's been worth it. A few weeks ago, my son James and his whole nursery class came to the dingle on a nature walk. I was so chuffed when I saw them coming down the new path.

You can make a difference - turn your anger into action."

Please tell us a little about yourself.
I moved from Manchester to Colwyn Bay 14 years ago. I'm 40, married with three children and I'm a nurse. I spend most of my life playing the role mum, nurse, wife, but occasionally on nights out I get to be me! Four days being me and doing something fun and interesting and completely different from usual life was fantastic!

What's your story about?
It's about setting up a conservation group to try to improve the area I live in. I wanted to express the fact that you can make a difference. I wanted to tell a success story to hopefully inspire other people and as a tribute and thank you to everyone involved in Friends of the Dingle. I'm really chuffed with the end result and we can use it as a group to illustrate what we do.

What did you find most rewarding about the workshop?
I loved having a laugh with the team and participants, being able to relax, be myself and learn how to produce a digital story. The venue and catering was great! Thank you! I am very proud of the end result! I was nervous about participating as it is completely different from what I usually do but I am glad I made time to do it.

Your comments

"Great effort Annmarie it is really good to see The Dingle looking good and well cared for. Shows what can be done if the will is there. Can't beleive how your children have grown since we left. Very well done." Sylvia Walker Tasmania Australia

"What a good story, its such a shame that in modern society the council, government and europe will do anything to cut costs, and it is so fortunate that there are still good honest hard working people who will do many hard hours for free to help do the job, that should not be neglected in the first place, the dingle was once the pride of north wales appearing in many tourism books, its nice to see that maybe one day it could return into these books. WELL DONE!" Brian Owen, Colwyn Bay.

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