Case Studies

AtkinsRéalis lead innovative wellbeing hub in North Wales after procurement through Pagabo

09 October 2023

An ambitious community hub and holistic centre for wellbeing is coming to the small North Wales village of Penygroes.

Canolfan Lleu is the first of its kind in Wales, providing integrated health services, independent living flats, residential care home, children’s nursery and performance theatre. Situated around a central public courtyard, the five buildings aim for BREEAM Excellent certification, employing Passivhaus principles and a net zero energy strategy.

AtkinsRéalis (formerly Faithful+Gould) was appointed by Grwp Cynefin to provide multi-disciplinary lead design services, including project management and cost management. The appointment has been made as a direct award through our Professional Services Framework, with construction work expected to run from March 2025 to April 2028.

Housing group Grwp Cynefin is the lead partner on the scheme and will retain responsibility for the residential and care provision. Grwp Cynefin is working closely with Gig Cymru, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board; Cyngor Gwynedd; Theatr Bara Caws and the Welsh Art Council, and the local community.


Multiple-stakeholder complexity

The centre aims to influence every aspect of the Nantlle Valley communities through the lens of wellbeing. It follows many years of close consultation with local people and with the many stakeholders involved.

Initially, AtkinsRéalis provided input into many months of grant funding applications, to support the strategic outline business case and full business case. There are multiple funding streams, each with its own complexities and reporting requirements.

For AtkinsRéalis, the challenge has been to manage the diverse stakeholder groups, aligning their individual needs with the overall vision for the new facility, alongside maintaining programme and budget.


Nearing the end of design phase

This is an unusual project for Grwp Cynefin, and AtkinsRéalis’ focus is on guiding them through each stage of detailed design, planning, tender and construction. Client communication is a key aspect of the role, ensuring they are fully briefed on all aspects, and that the interfaces with the scheme’s other partners are fully understood and are underpinned by clear processes and actions.

Via our framework, AtkinsRéalis have brought an excellent supply chain on board, and our combined experience is enabling the scheme to progress successfully. They are currently nearing the end of the detailed design stage and moving towards the procurement exercise.


Social value support

AtkinsRéalis’ specialist social value team is exploring initiatives that maximise the development’s community benefits. These will align with Canolfan Lleu’s vision for strengthening communities across the Dyffryn Nantlle valley, supporting health and wellbeing through a range of traditional and preventative services. The scheme also aims to strengthen the local economy and act as a catalyst for community resilience.

Using Loop’s specialist social value calculator software, AtkinsRéalis have been able to forecast the following outcomes for the project:


Championing Welsh language

Canolfan Lleu will benefit the celebration and protection of the Welsh language. The centre will provide primary healthcare training in Welsh and it will become the permanent home and performance space for Bara Caws, the Welsh language community theatre company.


Canolfan Lleu facilities:

  • 36-bed residential home.
  • 17 flats for independent living.
  • Core general medical services with shared facilities, community pharmacy and dental service.
  • Traditional and preventative community health services.
  • Multi-purpose spaces for young people, support services and third sector outreach provision.
  • New home for Theatr Bara Caws including offices, rehearsal space and theatre.
  • Spaces to promote intergenerational activity.
  • 60-space children’s nursery.
  • New Grwp Cynefin offices.

With its ambitious remit and wide network of governmental, national and local stakeholders, Canolfan Lleu is set to become a highly visible project that may well be emulated elsewhere.


Jonathan Oram, Framework Director at Pagabo, said: “We’re delighted to have our Professional Services Framework involved in such an influential project which will bring many benefits to this local community, including the delivery of significant social value to the area. AtkinsRéalis are doing a great job as lead consultant and we can’t wait to see it completed.”


Gwyndaf Williams, Development Manager at Grwp Cynefin, said: “The AtkinsRéalis team has been excellent in supporting us to date on Canolfan Lleu. Providing clear direction in project management of the scheme and the wider team, responding quickly to any matters that have arisen and providing clear guidance and advice to us as a client.”


Matthew Harries, Associate Director at AtkinsRéalis, said: “This is such an innovative and exciting scheme. Canolfan Lleu is named after Lleu Llaw Gyffes, a figure from Welsh mythology who possessed great skill, agility and resourcefulness. At AtkinsRéalis we aim to embody these qualities in providing Grwp Cynefin with a wealth of experience and expertise to guide their project journey. The centre will provide a vibrant and dynamic hub for the local community to come together and celebrate their language and culture.”


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