A visit to the Wrexham Lager brewery tonight prompted a real sense of pride in our town's achievements over the past few months.
Firstly, we have a fantastic new brewery in the centre of town taking on the lager multinationals and already serving 45 pubs in the area after just a few months. Building on a great tradition and using state-of-the-art equipment, this local enterprise has produced a great tasting local product and provided local pubs with a real boost in this recession.
Secondly, we have a fine Victorian listed building in the centre of town - the old Seven Stars pub - re-opening at the end of this month as Wrecsam's Welsh centre and trading as Saith Seren. It will, of course, be serving Wrexham Lager as well as other local and Welsh food and drink and will provide a welcome for all. It's been re-opened by a cooperative venture that's attracted investors locally as well as from as far afield as San Fransisco.
Thirdly, our resurgent football club has finally been taken over by the fans with another cooperative. That has coincided with a fine run of form under Andy Morrell, which is always good to see, but in the long-term it means we will never again fall prey to the vultures that have circled the Racecourse for more than a decade. The Wrexham Supporters' Trust is fast approaching 2000 members, who all co-own the club, and deserve our wholehearted thanks and support.
The re-birth of the Crusaders rugby league team as North Wales Crusaders has also come about as a result of fans taking the lead. Having been shafted by the previous owners and subsequently dumped out of the Superleague, there will be a period of rebuilding from the grassroots. Good luck to them.
This is what we can achieve when ordinary people do extraordinary things. The bankers and big business can sit there counting their obscene bonuses because they don't care about communities. We don't have that luxury - if the Welsh economy is going to develop, we'll have to do it ourselves and these new community-based enterprises point the way forward.
All these projects have been achieved in the past six months (although some of these projects have been years in the making) - a time of deep recession and general economic pessimism. All give Wrecsam a lift and a profile both nationally and internationally. The glass is certainly half full!