English UK member the Mulberry School of English chose the Llangollen International Eisteddfod celebrations for its official re-opening after a complete makeover, and English UK's Huan Japes was there to cut the ribbon.
Mulberry - formerly known as ECTARC - was originally created to make the most of two European Union language programmes, but when they changed, so did its business model. New director Vincent Iannucci, who has worked in the industry for almost 30 years, thought the school, in Llangollen, Wales, had huge potential. He decided to take up the challenge.
"When I came to look at it I accidentally drove through Llangollen the first time. It's not a big place," he said. "But I sat in a cafe there, and learned that it hosts the International Eisteddfod and a small festival, and the school had points of excellence for teaching and learning. So I went back to London and thought about it."
His thoughts led to a frantic year of work, with a complete makeover for the 140-year-old building - which is a beautiful Victorian single-storey school - and a repositioning of the school as a "boutique" language centre meeting the needs of students in particular from Europe, Japan and Korea.
Mulberry has been running successfully for almost a year, but was officially opened on Friday 8 July, the opening morning of this year's Eisteddfod, by Huan Japes, English UK's deputy chief executive (professional services), who had previously done some consultancy work there. Among the guests were Susan Jones, MP for Clwyd South, and Eisteddfod Vice President Nick Jenkins.
Cutting the ribbon, Huan said he was delighted to see a privately owned ELT school opening for the first time in North Wales and talked about how the country was growing as a destination, with much more potential.
Wales has beautiful national parks, thousands of kilometres of coastline, castles, mountains and unspoilt beaches. It's a land that's full of variety - from the mountains of the north to the cities of the south.
Austin Chemenais Llangollen Town Crier, Rhainnon Hughes, Susan Elan Jones MP, Tony Evans,
Daphne Laing, Sharon Thomas, Nick Jenkins, Vincent Iannucci Executive Director and Huan Japes
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