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New home on Port Talbot enterprise zone for MMEngineering

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Defence engineering specialists MMEngineering are enjoying record growth as they prepare to relocate to their second home on the Port Talbot Waterfront Enterprise Zone.

Established in 2016 by James Morton and brothers Chris and Martin McDermid, the company has grown by 30% over the last year reaching a turnover of £2.6miliion. This is expected to exceed £3.5 million in 2020/21 with increased customer demand prompting the need for additional space.

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An initial loan of £175,000 from the Development Bank of Wales enabled MMEngineering to set-up in a 6,000 square foot unit on Port Talbot Waterfront Enterprise Zone. The company has now signed a new ten year lease for 20,000 square feet. The cost of the move and fit-out is being funded by a £250,000 loan from the Development Bank of Wales. The interest rate of both loans has been reduced by 2% as the business is based in an enterprise zone.

Employing 19 people, MMEngineering designs, manufactures and installs high quality blast and flood defence solutions across the UK and internationally with exports to Thailand, Singapore and South East Asia.

Chris McDermid, Director of MMEngineering said: “The last two-years have been a roller-coaster of a journey as we simply did not know how Covid-19 would impact our performance. Our confidence certainly took a knock last year but with the on-going support of the Development Bank of Wales, we’ve been able to refocus and we’re now busier than ever but lack of space has been limiting our efficiency and ability to grow quicker.

“Staying on the same enterprise zone enables us to benefit from more space with a smooth transition. We also maintain the discounted interest rates which is helpful in terms of reducing the cost of borrowing and lowering monthly payments therefore minimising the impact on cashflow. Of course, we have an existing relationship with the Development Bank but the whole process really has been very quick and straight-forward which is exactly what we needed to be in a position to secure the new unit.”

Donna Williams, Development Bank of Wales & Chris McDermid, Director MMEngineering

Donna Williams and Stewart Williams from the Development Bank of Wales support MMEngineering. They said: “MMEngineering has exceeded all expectations over the last few years with a real surge in growth but the business has been physically limited by space.

“With our support, the team can now increase production capacity and deliver on demand; improving efficiency and preparing for the next phase of growth without needing to relocate away from the area. In fact, Port Talbot Waterfront Enterprise Zone is an ideal location given the support available for businesses like MMEngineering as we work with Welsh Government to offer reduced interest rates on our loans by up to 2%.” 

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There are eight enterprise zones in Wales. With access to a deep water harbour and excellent rail and road links, Port Talbot Waterfront Enterprise Zone benefits from access to enterprise class connectivity,  a range of affordable accommodation and support from Welsh Government and the local authority. With a strong manufacturing heritage, there is a loyal and skilled labour pool living within a 30-minute commute.

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Port Talbot

Port Talbot RNLI shop open again for business

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Following refurbishment, visitors to Port Talbot will once again be able to visit the shop located at the lifeboat station at Aberavon seafront.

The shop refit marks the start of a new era. The shop was opened in loving memory of the previous shop manager, Phil Jones, who sadly passed away in early 2021.

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Phil had kept the shop open single-handedly for over twelve years with much success. Phil’s wife and daughter kindly agreed to officially open the new shop on Sunday 12 June when many memories were shared and there were plenty of best wishes for the future.

RNLI shops started out as simple cake stalls run by volunteers to raise money for their local station. Around 1920 commemorative RNLI products were added and shops were selling souvenirs and Christmas cards, all profits helping to save lives at sea.

The RNLI now has over 170 shops around the coast and inland all of which are run by dedicated volunteers: Port Talbot is no exception.

The shop volunteer team has grown since April 2021 from a team of one to thirteen and is also involved with fundraising.

New Shop Manager Kirstee David says: “It has been amazing watching the shop team develop over the last twelve months and to see how passionate the team is about developing what we offer – and about the RNLI!”

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(Lead image: Port Talbot RNLI)

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Port Talbot

Search begins for Port Talbot panto princess

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A South Wales theatre production company is looking for a member of the public in Neath Port Talbot to join its professional pantomime cast this year by playing a princess in Jack and the Beanstalk.

Newly formed MTAZ Productions Ltd is behind Jack and the Beanstalk which runs at The Princess Royal Theatre in Port Talbot from December 1st to 10th this year and the company is looking to the local community  to find its princess. 

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The lucky person will star alongside a professional cast of actors and will be chosen from an open audition being held on July 21st at the theatre. 

In order to audition you must be 18 years old or above and be available for all rehearsal and show dates. 

The show’s director, Anthony Argyle said: “We are incredibly excited to meet possible actors to play the princess. We have a great line up for this year’s panto and would love to cast a local actor in the role.”

Zoe Richards, Producer at MTAZ added: ‘It’s the first time we have produced the panto at Port Talbot and with Anthony being a local lad we want to make sure it’s a traditional panto experience created by professionals who grew up and have connections in the area.’

To find out how you register for an audition email themtfest@gmail.com 

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MTAZ Productions’ spellbinding Jack and the Beanstalk pantomime will be taking over The Princess Royal Theatre’s stage in December – with both family and ‘adult only’ performances. 

Audience members can expect plenty of laughs, incredible music, spectacular special effects, magic beans and bundles of audience participation in what is planned to be a “giant” of a pantomime!

Tickets are on sale now and already selling fast, to book call The Princess Royal Theatre’s Box Office phone line on 01639 763214 or book online at  www.princessroyaltheatre.com .

MTAZ Productions Ltd is a newly formed company co-owned by Anthony Argyle and Zoe Walters. Established to create experiences in storytelling in family and young people’s theatre. 

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Education

Port Talbot school’s shipping container shop lets people ‘pay what they can’ to combat cost of living crisis

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Port Talbot’s Central Primary School is the latest in Wales to open its own ‘pay as you can’ shop aimed at helping not only pupils but members of the surrounding community.

The Welsh Government funded Big Bocs Bwyd project in the Valleys Taskforce area helps children develop an early understanding of healthy food choices while providing affordable priced food to families in the local community who may be in need of support.

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The scheme originally started at Cadoxton and Oak Field primary schools in Barry and has now spread to a number of schools in Wales including Ynysfach Primary in Resolven.

The project operates from converted shipping containers based on the school grounds. Food is donated from local supermarkets and shops. Charities such as FareShare, which aims to reduce food poverty by re-distributing quality surplus food produced by the food industry, are also part of the scheme.

Central Primary School Head Teacher Samantha Hopkins said: “Our Big Bocs Bwyd is essentially a ‘pay as you can’ shop which is open to everyone in both our school and our wider community.

“Weekly re-stocks from a variety of charities not only help prevent food ending up in landfill, but our families also benefit from good quality food at a cost they can personally afford.

“Big Bocs Bwyd not only supports our families and wider community but it is also an integral part of our new curriculum. The opportunities it provides enable our children to be exposed to truly authentic learning experiences while enhancing their understanding of key concepts.

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“Time devoted to these rich, ‘hands on’ experiences enables them to dwell on the skills they are developing.”

The Big Bocs Bwyd was officially opened in bright sunshine at Central Primary School on Friday, June 10th by the school’s Chair of Governors, Suzanne Amos.

Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Training, Cllr Nia Jenkins said: “We welcome this enterprising scheme which is in line with a number of our key priorities particularly improving education for all and helping people locally with the cost of living crisis.

“I’d like to congratulate all those involved in setting up this latest Big Bocs Bwyd shop. It will be a real asset to the school and those living around it.”

(Lead image: NPT Council)

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