A town council in Gwynedd has been named the Best Local Council in Wales at an awards ceremony held at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells.

Criccieth Town Council picked up the accolade at this year’s awards, hosted by One Voice Wales - the principal representative body for community and town councils - which celebrate and showcase the work of local councils across various strategic and operational categories.

Cllr Mike Theodoulou, Chair of One Voice Wales, paid tribute to the achievement of so many councils that deliver grassroots services at the heart of their communities. He also spoke about the cultural change affecting the community and town council sector, arising from challenges such as climate change, the cost-of-living crisis, and post-covid pressures. He also referenced the devolution of powers and responsibilities. Big challenges lie ahead, and these awards help to spread learning about such issues.

The Chief Executive of One Voice Wales elaborated on these challenges and achievements in his keynote address. He thanked all the councils for engaging with the event and praised their commitment to sharing good practice.

These are also times of achievement and change for One Voice Wales with record membership levels, growing partnership arrangements and a tangible commitment to deliver sustainable and digital solutions.

Delegates participated in Innovative Practice Sessions, identifying and disseminating Best Practice in areas such as environmental projects, community and youth engagement, cost-of-living actions, heritage and tourism.

Record entries for the awards made it tough for the judges but the highest accolade - the Caerwyn Roberts Prize for Best Local Council in Wales - was awarded to Criccieth Town Council in recognition for work in partnership with the community and for its excellent and varied projects.

They also won Best Environmental Project, Best Tourism Initiative, and second prize for Best Heritage Initiative and Annual Report.

Town council Chair Cllr Delyth Lloyd said: “It’s an honour to receive these awards, which provide clear and independent recognition of the breadth of activity the council has achieved in partnership with Criccieth community.

“We’ve led on a number of imaginative projects with residents from the young to the elderly involving hundreds of volunteers in support of our Community Plan developed with the community.

“It’s involved a lot of paint, arts, crafts and gardening to celebrate our history and heritage. The awards are also testament to our many innovative collaborations and success in achieving funding. We will build on these successes to ensure Criccieth continues to be a better place to live in and visit.”

Cllr Theodoulou said it had been a wonderful day. He encouraged delegates to go back to their communities and share their experiences.

“Talk to the people” he urged.

The voice of community and town councils must be strong, for there is much work to be done. The day demonstrated and epitomised how the whole of Wales benefits from the work of community and town councils.

It was a celebration of local council life and of the people and communities of Wales.