Clock tower construction work to begin in New Year following grant windfall

CONSTRUCTION work will begin on an iconic North Wales landmark in the New Year.

Enbarr Foundation director Vicki Roskams and fellow ‘Guardians’ of the John Summers Clock Tower in Deeside are hoping more people join their “revolution” in 2022 and help bring the dilapidated building back to life.

More than £600,000 in grants and financial support was secured over the last 12 months from organisations including Welsh Government, Transport for Wales, the National Lottery, the Welsh Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA), Comic Relief, Architectural Heritage, CADW, Parc Adfer and Flintshire County Council.

And the many kind donors and hundreds of people who volunteer every week will be rewarded with a belated Christmas party on January 15 – subject to Covid-19 restrictions – thanks to IKEA and the National Lottery Community Fund, which have joined forces to support thriving and sustainable projects across the UK.

Reflecting on a year in which significant progress was made on and off site, Vicki said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has got behind us, especially those who are here every week carrying out general maintenance and improvement works, planting trees and helping with the renovations.

“The backing we’ve had, especially from local businesses donating time, machinery and materials – notably Tata Steel, Delta Rock, Ardagh Group, GTM Heavy Machinery, Thomas Roofing and Kimberly-Clark – has been incredible; we could not do it without you, and there are so many more.”

She added: “We’ve made huge strides and there has been a lot of change, so that is very good news when you consider the challenges all industries have faced during the pandemic, and the restrictions placed upon us.

“From January, with the grants and funding received, we can start the construction phase of the development and bring all of this effort to fruition.

“We are so excited to begin this next chapter and hope even more people will join our revolution; to finally see this much-loved place back in use.”

The John Summer Clock Tower building opened in 1907 and was home to the general office of Shotton Steelworks – now Tata Steel – on the banks of the River Dee, before closing in 2009 and falling into serious disrepair after being sold by the company.

With widespread plans to open a community hub, heritage skills and training centre, live events venue and much more, the Guardians are well on their way to realising their vision.

A fun day during the summer raised thousands towards that dream, and Vicki said 2022 will be even more action-packed.

“It is going to be bigger, brighter and even more positive, I’m sure of it,” she said.

“The foundations have been laid and now it’s time to see bigger steps taken towards our end goal.

“To secure the future of this site, and make it a vital asset for Deeside and beyond to enhance the lives of thousands of people through training, support, skills, and unity for generations to come – we will do it!”

For more information or to get involved, follow Guardians of the Clocktower on Facebook or visit the website: www.savetheclocktower.co.uk.

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