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Work starts on new £8.25m primary school for Pembrey



Work has started on building a new £8.25million primary school for Pembrey.

The new school building is being constructed on the recreation ground/playing field immediately adjacent to the existing school site on Ashburnham Road.


It will provide high-quality teaching facilities to improve the overall learning experience for learners, as well as benefitting the local community.

The new school will have capacity for 270 primary pupils, 30 nursery pupils and will incorporate a Flying Start facility which is currently located in a mobile classroom on the current school site.

Headteacher Helen Jacob said: “We are looking forward to having our brand-new school building at Pembrey where we can continue to provide quality educational opportunities and experiences for our children.

“Everyone is excited at the prospect of learning in a modern purpose-built school that will be at the heart of the community.”

The project is part of Carmarthenshire County Council’s Modernising Education Programme which aims to give every child in the county access to first class accommodation and facilities.


It is being jointly funded by Welsh Government through its 21st Century Schools initiative.

The new school building has been designed by the council’s own architects and the work is being carried out by local contractor TRJ Ltd.

The estimated completion date is the autumn term of 2023.

Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services Cllr Glynog Davies said: “I am delighted that building work has started on the new school for the community of Pembrey. Building it on the adjacent recreation ground means that we can reduce disruption as much as possible.

“The council is committed to investing in our children’s futures, and the new school building will provide the very best educational facilities for both pupils and staff and accommodation fit for 21st century teaching and learning.”


Local member Cllr Hugh Shepardson said: “I am delighted that we are making a start on the new Pembrey Primary School. The facility, which I understand will be completed next year, will provide state-of-the-art teaching facilities for our children at Pembrey and will allow our children to be taught in a modern and welcoming environment.

“I am grateful to the Education department’s Modernising Education Programme team and the authority’s Cabinet for their diligence and hard work in making the completion of the new school a reality.”

To date, the Modernising Education Programme has invested more than £300million in Carmarthenshire schools, including the building of 12 new primary schools, two new secondary schools, and 48 major refurbishments and extensions.

(Lead image: Carmarthenshire Council)

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Carmarthenshire proposes 4.4% council tax increase




Carmarthenshire Council have announced a proposed 4.4% increase in council tax, around £1.15 a week more for the average Band D property.

Despite the proposed increase, the Council must still find and deliver £11.7million of savings over the next three years.


Council Tax raises around £105million a year and contributes to around a quarter of the total annual budget.

Councillors must also find a way to manage the increasing demand for certain services, such as social care, and inflationary pressures – including the rising cost of energy bills and increasing costs of paying the foundation living wage – as well as delivering day to day services and schemes that will benefit and grow the county’s economy.

The council say they continue to feel the impact and uncertainty from the Covid-19 pandemic, with increasing pressure on several service areas and the prospect of Welsh Government’s hardship funding coming to an end.

Cllr David Jenkins, Cabinet Member for Resources, said: “Unfortunately Welsh Government’s funding to councils has not kept pace with rising costs and increasing demands for our services, which is creating a budget shortfall every year.

“The settlement figure we’ve recently received appears healthy on the face of it, but with the Covid-19 hardship fund expected to come to an end, the settlement will have to contribute to the extra costs that we continue to face as we respond to the pandemic.


“We also face rising inflationary costs at the same time as increased demand on our services.

“We will continue to do the best we possibly can, identifying savings proposals that will have minimal impact on frontline services, but difficult decisions will need to be made.

“We truly appreciate the financial hardship that people are facing, and now more than ever we encourage people to get involved in our budget setting process.

“The more people that respond the better as we will have more feedback on which to base our decisions.”

The council’s budget consultation has now opened allowing people to view the proposed draft budget and have their say.


Councillors will consider the views expressed in the consultation when the budget is finally approved by Full Council in March.

People can share their views online at or by emailing

(Lead image: Wikimedia/Creative Commons)

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£500,000 for the love of Franks’ Gelateria




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.


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.


“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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Stormtrooper costume, six bridesmaids dresses and a trumpet: Lost and Found at Travelodge’s in Wales




A Stormtrooper costume, a trumpet, a marriage certificate, six Bridesmaid dresses and a Galleon made of matchsticks make the 2021 Travelodge Lost & Found audit for Wales.

Where would you find a Stormtrooper costume, a trumpet, a marriage certificate, six Bridesmaid dresses and a Galleon made of matchsticks? Where else but Travelodge’s Lost & Found offices in Wales!           


Today, the UK’s first budget hotel chain, Travelodge, has revealed some of the interesting items left behind in its 582 hotels over the last 12 months incorporating its 26 hotels in Wales. With millions of people annually staying in a Travelodge hotel across the length and breadth of the UK, detailed below are some of the unusual treasures that have been left behind in Welsh properties: 

  • A lucky Buddha diamond necklace
  • A stained glass door
  • A 6ft flower arch made from white roses
  • A marriage certificate 
  • A family of garden gnomes
  • A collection of Ronald Dahl books
  • A Christmas village made of lego
  • A Chewbacca costume
  • A suitcase full of business receipts 
  • A vintage pocket watch
  • A Bridegroom’s top hat
  • A set of four palm trees
  • A Japanese parasol
  • A surfboard
  • A work contract
  • A Louis Vuitton dog carrier

With the Staycation being a top holiday choice in 2021, Travelodge hotel staff have reported a significant rise in items being left behind in their hotels over the last 12 months.  Some of the interesting finds include a business plan left behind in Cardiff M4 Travelodge, a set of four palm trees abandoned in Swansea Travelodge and a Christmas village made of Lego, which a customer forgot in Bridgend Pencoed Travelodge.

The housekeeping team at Swansea Central Travelodge were pleasantly surprised when they entered a room to be greeted by a 6ft flower arch made of white roses sitting on the bed, while a customer staying at the Llanelli Central Travelodge left behind his prized collection of garden gnomes.  A Louis Vuitton dog carrier was also left behind in Rhyl Seafront Travelodge.

The 2021 Travelodge Lost & Found audit has also revealed a growing trend of wedding-related items being left behind by brides, grooms and wedding guests across the company’s hotels.  A newlywed couple staying at Swansea M4 Travelodge were in such a rush to get to the airport to catch their honeymoon flight to Dubai that they left behind their wedding certificate!

A bridesmaid staying at Cardiff Llandeyrn Travelodge had the important job of taking six bridesmaid dresses to the wedding venue, due to being too focused on her ‘bad hair day’. Luckily, the hotel manager managed to get them to the wedding on time for the vital ceremony. 

A forgetful groom staying at Bridgend Pencoed Travelodge was in deep trouble with his future wife when he forgot to complete his bespoke wedding outfit with the Top Hat he’d left behind in the hotel. Luckily, the hotel team, who love a challenge, stepped in and got the hat to the church in time!


With more road warriors staying at Travelodge hotels than ever before, the hotel chain has seen a rise in items being left behind by workers across all sectors. This includes a suitcase of receipts left behind in Llanelli Crosshands Travelodge Plus, a work contract forgotten at Halkyn Travelodge and a portfolio of shop front designs being left at Leeds Central Travelodge.         

Shakila Ahmed, Travelodge Spokeswoman said: “In 2021, following Freedom Day, we welcomed back millions of customers to our 582 UK Travelodge hotels including our 26 hotels in Wales and we saw a significant increase in bookings. This has led to a range of interesting items being left behind by our customers across our UK hotels. This year’s Lost & Found audit includes a rise in holiday themed items, wedding props, precious sentimental items, smart gadgets and beloved pets.   This includes a Stormtrooper costume, a trumpet, a marriage certificate, six Bridesmaid dresses and a Galleon made of matchsticks.

“When it comes to why so many of our customers forget their treasured items, it’s basically due to us all being time poor, juggling multiple tasks and being in a hurry to get from A to B. In the rush, valuable possessions are easily forgotten.”

Listed below are the top 30 interesting items left behind at some of Travelodge’s 26 hotels in Wales in 2021

ItemTravelodge Hotel
A Stormtrooper costumeCardiff Travelodge
A magician’s black book of tricksCardiff Central Queen Street Travelodge
A trumpetCardiff Airport Travelodge
A galleon made of matchsticksCardiff Atlantic Wharf Travelodge
Six bridesmaid dresses Cardiff Llandeyrn Travelodge
A business plan Cardiff M4 Travelodge
A pop-up tuck shop     Cardiff Travelodge
A collection of Christmas jumpers Cardiff Whitchurch Travelodge
A lucky Buddha diamond necklaceCaerphilly Travelodge
A stained glass doorNewport Central Travelodge
A 6ft flower arch made from white rosesSwansea Central Travelodge
A marriage certificate Swansea M4 Travelodge
A family of garden gnomesLlanelli Central Travelodge
A collection of Ronald Dahl booksLlanelli Crosshands Travelodge
A Christmas village made of LegoBridgend Pencoed Travelodge
A Chewbacca costumeLlanelli Central Travelodge
A suitcase full of business receipts Llanelli Crosshands Travelodge
A vintage pocket watchSwansea M4 Travelodge
A Bridegroom’s top hatBridgend Pencoed Travelodge
A set of four palm treesSwansea Travelodge
A Japanese parasolRhyl Seafront Travelodge
A surfboardColwyn Bay Travelodge
A work contractHalkyn Travelodge
A Louis Vuitton dog carrierRhyl Seafront Travelodge
A cuckoo clockLlanudno Travelodge
A jeroboam of Moët & Chandon champagneRhyl Seafront Travelodge
A portable beach hut Bangor Travelodge
A mini jukeboxHalkyn Travelodge
A Victorian dolls houseColwyn Bay Travelodge
A pearl necklace that was a wedding gift 50 years agoRhyl Seafront Travelodge

Listed below are the top ten most popular items left behind in Travelodge hotels during 2021:

  • Chargers for mobile phones, smart devices, kindles and laptops
  • Mobile phones, tablets and Kindles 
  • Books
  • Teddy Bears
  • Toiletry bags with contents
  • Jewellery
  • Clothing
  • Toys
  • Business papers / notebooks / presentations  
  • Gifts / presents

All items left behind in Travelodge hotels which have not been claimed within three months are donated to the local British Heart Foundation Charity Shops, Travelodge’s nominated charity partner.

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