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Rover by name, rover by nature: 40% of dog owners opt for UK holiday so canine companions don’t miss out

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white and black short coat puppy on black window car

New research from Co-op Insurance has revealed that almost 40% of dog owners would prefer to holiday in the UK with their beloved four-legged friend, rather than go abroad and be forced to leave them behind.

A whopping four in ten stated that it’s so ‘imperative’ that pup can join in the fun, that they’re not entertaining the idea of jetting off to foreign climes, instead opting to drive to British holiday hotspots such as Cornwall, the Lake District and Scotland.

The figures – which offer further proof that the UK continues to be a nation of animal lovers – means that up to 4.8 million pooches could be setting off to popular holiday destinations with their humans this year.

However, Co-op Insurance chiefs are warning pet owners to make sure they’re staycation-savvy.

When it comes to bringing the family hound on holiday, people risk breaching the Highway Code if they drive with an unrestrained pet which may distract the driver. And in the event of an accident, it could actually negate insurance cover as well as resulting in a hefty fine.

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Rule 57 of the Highway Code states that ‘when in a vehicle, make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained’. Whilst there’s no direct penalty for breaking the Highway Code, motorists can still be fined up to £5,000 for careless driving if the police find an unrestrained pet in the car.

And once on holiday, Co-op Insurance is offering a stark reminder to dog owners to be on their guard in unfamiliar holiday surrounds as a dog theft epidemic continues to grip the country. Figures from Dog Lost show that dog theft rocketed 170% in 2020, compared to 2019.

black and white border collie sitting on brown wicker armchair
New figures show almost 40% of dog owners will staycation with their pets (Image: KoolShooters / Pexels.com)

Charles Offord, managing director of Co-op Insurance, says: “We know that many people have welcomed a dog into their home over the past year and it’s understandable that they want their four-legged family members to share in the holiday fun. However, many pet owners don’t realise they’re risking big penalties if they let their dog travel unrestrained in the car with them – not only is it against the law but it could invalidate their insurance, costing policy holders more money if they’re involved in an accident.

“And once people have reached their destination we’d remind them to be on their guard – both owners and their dogs will be in unfamiliar surroundings so they must remain alert if enjoying a drink on the beach or in a beer garden. Dog thieves can be opportunistic and a dog who looks lost is perfect prey.”

Eight top tips for taking a hound on holiday

  1. Check your motor insurance’s own rules for travelling with a dog.
  2. Ensure you have suitable pet restraints for the car – such as a harness or crate so that your dog can travel safely and legally.
  3. Use sunshades on car windows at all times and carry plenty of water for your canine companion. If your vehicle doesn’t have air-con don’t travel on very hot days and never leave your dog alone in the car in hot weather.
  4. Never allow your dog to put its head out of the window, it could lead to a serious injury.
  5. Take a familiar pet blanket or toy along to comfort your dog.
  6. Make sure that your dog has a collar with your name and number engraved on it. Also, check your contact details on the microchip database are up to date.
  7. Remember your dog will be in unfamiliar territory and could get lost more easily, putting it at greater risk from thieves. Don’t tie your dog up outside a shop.
  8. If in rural beauty spots make sure your dog is on the lead and doesn’t stray into farmland where animals are grazing.

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Charity

Tesco brings £300k New Year cheer for South Wales community groups

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Tesco is bringing a positive start to the year for communities in South Wales by launching a campaign to give good causes part of a £300,000 boost.

From 17 January to 6 February, listeners to Heart and Smooth radio stations in South Wales who work with charities or not-for-profit organisations will be encouraged to apply for a £5,000 cash grant.

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Presenters including Jamie Theakston and Jenni Falconer will be telling listeners how to nominate their favourite groups on air, and priority will be given to projects that provide food and support to young people, such as school breakfast clubs, food banks, or charities supporting young people to manage mental health.

The campaign is running in addition to Tesco Community Grants, the in-store scheme where customers vote with blue tokens for community projects and groups, which has been helping local people since 2016.

Among the groups in South Wales to receive funding for recent projects was Twyn Community Hub in Twynyrodyn, Merthyr Tydfil, which was given £1,000 towards its Yum Yum This Is Scrum campaign which sought to aid food exploration and educate on making healthy choices.

Another was Theatr Iolo in Cardiff, which received £1,000 towards the creation of free creative play packs for families in need in order to spread a little kindness and joy.

Claire de Silva, Head of Community at Tesco, said: “We know the start of the year can be tough for many families financially, so we wanted to find a way to give something extra to the communities our stores support across the nation.

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“We hope that Heart and Smooth listeners will help us celebrate all the community groups who make such a difference to young people and families, not just in January but year round too. We’re really proud to be launching this new campaign, which is an extra boost to our Tesco Community Grants scheme that already helps thousands of people every year.”

Graham Duxbury, Chief Executive at Groundwork, the charity that works with Tesco on community initiatives, said: “For many people the combination of money worries and the ongoing impact of the pandemic is making the start of 2022 a challenging time.  

“That’s why it’s so important that we continue to support the local charities and community groups who work tirelessly to provide essential services and bring people together in neighbourhoods across the nation. Money is tight for many of these groups too, so we’re delighted to be working with Tesco to make extra funds available so that they can expand their activities and help more people.”

To nominate your chosen charity or community group and to find out more about Tesco Community Grants go to www.tescocommunitygrants.org.uk 

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Lifestyle

Bouldering wall and yoga studio open at Wild Lakes Wales in Pembrokeshire

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Wild Lakes Wales, which recently rebranded from Pembrokeshire Wake Park, has opened a new bouldering wall, boosting local employment and further expanding the range of activities available at the centre.

The addition of the wall and a new yoga studio in the same building is enabling the centre to stay open through the winter for the first time since it launched.

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A family business, Wild Lakes Wales is run by siblings Sarah Harris, Mark Harris and Stephanie Harris. The trio grew up in Pembrokeshire and decided to create their own Wake park after moving back to the area and always wanting to run a family business. The park now provides up to 30 local part time and full time jobs.

All three siblings are sports enthusiasts, and they have channelled this into Wild Lakes Wales. The new bouldering wall is a bespoke creation made by Mark Harris (one of the Harris siblings), with the help of Walltopia. It offers an array of different routes, holds and angled sections and a cave area. The plan is to have route sections reset every two weeks to keep the wall current and interesting for locals. To provide further interest, a guest route setter will also create a new route each month. 

The bouldering wall at Wild Lakes Wales

The bouldering wall is located in a new 12m x 20m building, which includes a reception area and an area to relax and catch up with friends, coffee and cakes. The bouldering wall is open for anyone aged seven and years and up. Membership and bulk buys are available, and the wall will also host social events and competitions. Children’s and adults’ lessons led by qualified coaches will be offered on a group basis and casual ‘open’ bouldering is on offer for competent climbers. 

The addition of the bouldering wall will benefit the local community in more ways than one: as well as providing a new attraction, it has created several full-time positions at the centre.

“We always enjoy challenges and want to expand our venture year on year, so with the recent lockdowns we were provided the time to crack on with building works at the park,” says Stephanie Harris.

“We wanted to extend our seasonal business and make it more viable with the offer of full-time jobs. A bouldering wall made the perfect winter alternative to wakeboarding and already we’ve seen lots of our wakeboarding members make the transition. Bouldering is a great sport and having an indoor centre provides opportunity during the winter for local climbers to continue working on their skills and keep fit.”

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The new yoga studio, located on a mezzanine floor in the same building as the bouldering wall, will further expand the centre’s offering.

“We decided to capitalise on the height of the new building and use the loft space,” explains Stephanie.

“As we have a yoga instructor already in the team, we thought the space would be perfect to create a studio. Yoga is a great crossover for those utilising the water sports and bouldering facility – it’s an opportunity to create more well-rounded athletes. Classes in the mezzanine will begin from February and have numerous instructors offering a flow for everyone. We plan to utilise the mezzanine for workshops too, whether that’s a yoga workshop, first aid training or crafty bits. It’s another space onsite that provides opportunity.”

The Harris siblings are delighted to be boosting job opportunities in Pembrokeshire.

“We always had plans to expand the business, but the main reason was to offer some of our great and loyal staff full time positions, to keep the talent in Pembrokeshire,” says Stephanie.

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“Often, Pembrokeshire is seen as such a seasonal destination but there are visitors and especially locals in the winter looking for places to go and new things to try. Adding an indoor bouldering facility and yoga studio allowed us to open through the winter as the water becomes too cold, it also goes hand in hand with our new chef and restaurant that will also run from February to December each year.”

Over the winter Wild Lakes will be offering bouldering for competent climbers as well as lessons, different flows of yoga and a restaurant with food cooked by an award-winning chef.

“This will be our first winter we stay open; we previously closed from November to the end of March,” says Stephanie.

“We had a soft opening of the bouldering wall in the last two weeks leading up to Christmas and now we’ve reopened with yoga coming soon. The restaurant will follow in February and our watersports reopen at end of March. We’re really enjoying our first winter still in operation. We also plan to have live music events as they went down so well over the autumn, and we hope to hold a spring fair.”

Wild Lakes is at Cott Ln, Martletwy, Narberth in Pembrokeshire.

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Ammanford

£500,000 for the love of Franks’ Gelateria

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It was in 1922 that Francesco Dallavalle first started selling his ice cream around the Amman Valley on a horse and cart.

The Italian art of making ice cream has since been passed through the generations with grandsons Renaldo and Giulio Dallavalle, Directors of award-winning Frank’s Ice Cream, having now opened a new gelateria and innovation centre alongside the company’s existing manufacturing site in Capel Hendre.

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Funded by a £500,000 loan from the Development Bank of Wales, the new purpose-built facility houses the latest in ice cream making machinery and technology. Built by lead contractors Malpross Services of Cross Hands, the 4,300 square foot building features a product development centre and an ice cream parlour specialising in artisan gelato and semifreddo deserts that will be open to the public along with an open viewing and tasting area. Interactive classes will be available in a bespoke visitor room that will also host school visits.

Up to 12 new jobs are expected to be created in the new facility, which includes a short-run manufacturing unit that will improve efficiency by enabling the creation of specific one-off flavours and occasion ice creams.

Having been awarded their first major supermarket contract in 1990, Franks Ice Cream opened their first manufacturing site in Capel Hendre in 1993. The company went on to launch a diabetic range of ice cream with Morrisons before investing £1.5 million to increase production capacity and then beginning to export to the Middle East in 2019. They now supply dairy ice cream, vegan ice cream and ice cream for diabetics to a range of UK supermarkets and global brands.

Director Giulio Dallavalle said: “Our story is almost 100 years old. Since the early 20th century, my family has worked hard to grow our business with the same passion and integrity we use to create our award-winning ice cream.

“Our love of great-tasting, high quality, ice cream desserts is now shared by customers throughout the world. Our new innovation centre will allow us to stay ahead of the competition with rapid product developments as well as giving our loyal customers a place to enjoy our ice cream here in the community.

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“The funding from the Development Bank has helped us to begin the next chapter of our story; creating jobs and further enhancing our offering in this highly competitive market. We couldn’t have asked for better support which is why we now very much consider them as part of our Frank’s family.”

Giulio Sallavelle, Director Frank’s Ice Cream, Alun Thomas, Development Bank of Wales

Alun Thomas of the Development Bank of Wales said: “Franks’ is a long-established manufacturing business. This latest development enables the family to go back to their roots and sell ice cream direct to the public while also showcasing the very best innovation in the Welsh food sector. They’re a lovely family with a great business making the very best Italian ice cream. We wish them every success with their latest venture.”

Funding for Frank’s Ice Cream came from the £204 million Wales Business Fund. Financed by the European Regional Development Fund, the Welsh Government and the Development Bank of Wales, the fund offers loans, mezzanine finance and equity investments from £50,000 to £2 million for small and medium-sized businesses (those with fewer than 250 employees) based in Wales, or willing to relocate to Wales. Terms range from one to seven years with finance prioritised for businesses in economically deprived areas of Wales.

Lead image: Giulio Sallavelle, Director Frank’s Ice Cream, Alun Thomas, Development Bank of Wales 

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