ICE SKATERS have been left ‘bewildered’ and ‘confused’ as they say they have been forgotten about.

A petition has been launched for Flintshire Council and Betsi Cadwaladr to review the opening schedule for Deeside’s Ice Rink.

The ice skating area of Deeside Leisure Centre is currently being used as a mass vaccination centre.

Whereas the remainder of the site will have a phased reopening for the sports and community facilities during late summer, the vaccination centre will continue up until March 2022 in support of the vaccination booster programme.

The programme will be 'critical to keeping the public safe' as the pandemic continues on a global basis.

However, a petition has been launched for this date to be reviewed and for another location to be used as a vaccination centre when ice skating rinks are allowed to open under government guidelines.

Ice skater Helen Mellor, from Wrexham, set up the petition.

She said: “Last year we were placed in lockdown and there was an announcement the facility would be turned into a rainbow hospital and people were given 24-hours notice to clear everything out.

“It was completely acceptable back then, we didn’t know what was going on. But then when the hospital was closed, we were told the ice skating rink would be handed back and re-opened by the end of the summer.

“But now we have been told the rest of the facility will be re-opening but the ice-skating rink will be closed until next year which has left an awful lot of people very confused, bewildered and upset.

“It’s such a unique facility, it’s not like a football pitch or tennis court, the nearest rink is Widnes which has a financial impact, or Telford.”

The leisure centre first supported the effort against COVID-19 last year when Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board established it as Ysbyty Enfys Deeside, one of the three temporary Rainbow Hospitals in North Wales, which closed in March 2021.

The leisure centre, run by Aura on behalf of Flintshire County Council, was later identified as a site to become a Mass Vaccination Centre for North East Wales.

Helen added: “We are all fully supportive of the vaccination programme but we can’t understand why they are taking the full sized ice rink when there are plenty of other facilities that can be used.

“There is no specialised need here. So there’s a lot of bewilderment over the decision.

“There’s a lot of users of this ice skating rink, the children have been without for 18-months, they need it back. It’s not something you can replace.

“At the moment ice skating rinks cannot open in Wales anyway, we just want a review of the timing so that when they are allowed to open, this can and the vaccination entre will be moved elsewhere.

“It’s the mental health aspect as well as financial. One woman has to take the train to Widnes, another has qualified for the disabled Olympics and she also has to train elsewhere.

“This facility is an important and integral part of our community. Everyone understood last year. In fact we were proud it was chosen for a hospital, our facility was helping, but it’s past that now.

“There’s vaccination centres everywhere, why here? We are all supportive of the vaccination programme but we just feel a bit forgotten about, ice skating in general has slipped through the net.

“There’s only two rinks in Wales, here and Cardiff. It’s a safe environment, but it’s such a shame.

“People travel from all over to use our facility, we have children’s activities, professional sports, disability activities. Over 1,000 people a week were using it and now they will all be missing out for even longer.”

The petition can be found online at

When announcing the news that the vaccination centre will remain until next year, Colin Everett, Chief Executive of Flintshire County Council, said: “Whilst we fully appreciate that the operators and customers of our ice rink will have a second winter without their cherished facility, and that there will be great disappointment, we must continue to play our part in the regional vaccination programme which is the top priority for public health.

“This is the only suitable centre of location, size and accessibility in the most populated part of North Wales, and has been already adapted for this use.

“The Health Board require continuity of service and this site is a familiar and accessible centre for thousands of residents in readiness for an autumn/winter vaccination booster programme which is under development. The Vaccination Programme needs to be given the highest priority for public health and safety and we ask for the public’s patience, cooperation and understanding.”

A spokesperson for Aura added: “Whilst the continued unavailability of the ice rink is disappointing we understand the requirements of the vaccination programme and remain supportive of the bigger picture which aims to protect public health. We are looking forward to the phased reopening of all other facilities at Deeside in the coming weeks and to welcoming back our loyal returning customers. We also look forward to the return of the ice rink in due course.”