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Pembrokeshire student’s Welsh bakes are on the rise

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Pembrokeshire College A-level student Tom Wickens is a new and upcoming baking entrepreneur whose welsh cakes are grabbing the county’s sweet tooth.

Tom, a passionate baker, launched his business during the pandemic of April 2021 selling freshly baked goods from his family home and leaving out an honesty box as a form of market research to see how much people would pay for freshly baked goods and what the most popular flavours were.

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The launch became very successful, and the word soon spread, leading to Tom starting to take orders online.

Tom said, “The Welsh cakes really took off and I quickly realised I would need to create a website for customers to order them. This also helped me to stay organised and reduce waste as I was baking to order.”

Tom’s bakes soon started to attract local businesses and now Tom provides a service to local farm shops across the county.

Emma Lippiett, Pembrokeshire College’s Curriculum Area Manager for A-levels said, “Tom is an excellent entrepreneur; he has managed to build his own successful business whilst carrying out his A-level studies. We are thrilled to see Plumstone Bakes grow due to Tom’s hard work and commitment (and delicious Welshcakes). He is a true inspiration to students who have their own business ideas and a credit to the College community.”

After College, Tom is looking to start up his own mobile café in the hope that he can inspire others his own age.

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“You can never be too young to start a business. I would advise others to do lots of market research and find a gap in the market that has potential. You also need to be passionate! I learned all my baking skills from my mum and College has supported me with this dream. They have kindly provided me with branded marketing materials for me to use at various events.”

Tom has recently expanded the flavours of Welsh cakes he offers from white chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate and raspberry, lemon and stem ginger and dark chocolate and ginger. To order your favourite flavours head over to his Facebook page.

(Lead image: Pembrokeshire College)

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Ammanford

Jenkins family set to grow Capel Hendre business as the UK’s leading manufacturer of chimney cowls and flue systems

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Midtec, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of chimney cowls and flue systems has completed the construction of 2500 square feet of additional manufacturing space at Capel Hendre Industrial Estate near Ammanford, using a £220,000 loan from the Development Bank of Wales.

Formed in 2003 by Managing Director, Trefor Jenkins, Midtec first benefitted from investment from the Development Bank in 2005.

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They have since had several rounds of funding from the Development Bank to support growth plans and the next generation is looking to the future with the new additional space being used to house a state of the art ENSIS laser cutting machine, supplied by Amada.

Trefor said: “The ongoing support of the Development Bank means that we’ve been able to grow the business, drive efficiencies and invest in new market opportunities. We’ve also introduced new products including the MidCat, an innovative solution for reducing the pollution created by wood burning stoves and the only one of its kind in the UK.”

“Our latest investment in our technology means that we can now offer a laser cutting service that will help to improve our quality and production processes and save time on the turnaround of customer orders. We hope that this will play an important part in our future growth. Indeed, our turnover is on target to exceed £2 million this year and I’m delighted that my son Thomas and daughter Hannah are already playing a vital role in the business as we focus on our long-term sustainability.”

Midtec make chimney cowls and flue systems at their Capel Hendre manufacturing base
Midtec make chimney cowls and flue systems at their Capel Hendre manufacturing base

Richard Easton, a Portfolio Executive with the Development Bank, said: “Midtec is a family run and owned business that is known for its high quality and excellent customer service. With our continued support, Trefor, Thomas, Hannah and the team have created a modern manufacturing facility that has a really exciting future ahead.”

The loan came from the £204 million Wales Business Fund which is financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the Welsh Government. Loans, mezzanine finance, and equity investments are available for deals between £50,000 and £2 million with terms ranging from one to seven years for small and medium-sized businesses (those with fewer than 250 employees) based in Wales, or willing to relocate to Wales.

Construction company TRJ of Ammanford carried out the building work, while Jamie Reynolds of Cennen Solutions has also been providing strategic support.

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Award-winning Pembrokeshire pub celebrates ultrafast broadband boost

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An award-winning pub in the heart of Pembrokeshire has been supplied with ultrafast fibre broadband in a move to boost connectivity in the area.

In 2010, Simon Vickers and Sian Mathias took over 300-year-old award-winning pub, The Griffin, moving from the city to their home roots with their two children for a lifestyle change. Accidental Chef, Simon, was also recently named Pub Chef of the Year 2021.

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The couple celebrated their new broadband connection last Friday (15th July), which has been supplied courtesy of Broadway Broadband.

They were joined by Pembrokeshire Council members Patrick Hannon and Michael Odlin as well as County Councillor Paul Miller, and members of the Broadway Broadband team.

Broadway Broadband has pledged to connect all 224 properties in Dale Village with ultrafast fibre broadband, in their aim to tackle the digital divide currently affecting remote, hard-to-reach areas of Wales.

The area surrounding The Griffin Inn had previously grappled with poor download speeds of around 5-10Mbps, with Superfast and Ultrafast packages completely unavailable. The package supplied by Broadway offers speeds of 100 Mbps for only £19.99 per month.

The new connection hopes to provide a boost for businesses and residents in the local area, who rely so heavily on the internet for day-to-day activity.

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Pembrokeshire Council members Patrick Hannon and Michael Odlin as well as County Councillor Paul Miller, and members of the Broadway Broadband team.

Simon Vickers/Sian Mathias, co-owner of The Griffin Inn, said: “We are over the moon to have now been connected by Broadway to fast broadband! This will bring much needed stability and speed to The Griffin Inn which relies on digital connectivity for almost all aspects of its daily running.

“On top of that, Dale Village is a popular tourist destination for families and water sport enthusiasts, so we hope our broadband upgrade will draw in more tourists looking for a ‘staycation’ holiday.”

Reece Simmons, Wales Regional Manager, Broadway Partners, said: “It has been great to witness first-hand the positive impact superfast, reliable broadband can have on local communities who previously have been disadvantaged by frustratingly slow internet speeds.

“The first connection in Dale Village at The Griffin Inn is a welcome first step in our goal to connect all the properties in the area with affordable, highspeed, reliable broadband and begin to bridge this connectivity gap we see across many rural areas”.

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Business

Aldi retains title of ‘UK’s cheapest supermarket’

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As Brits continue to look for ways to cut household costs, consumer group Which? has yet again named Aldi as the cheapest UK supermarket.

With savings of £12.62 compared to the average Big Four basket, Aldi says its shoppers can be confident they’re getting the best deal.

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Which? conducted its monthly Cheapest Supermarket price comparison and looked at the cost of a basket of 47 items, including groceries and household essentials, with Aldi coming in cheapest at just £74.23.

The same shopping cost a whopping £16.91 more at Morrisons and £12.54 more at Tesco.

The independent consumer group’s research also found Aldi to be a massive £25.23 cheaper than the most expensive supermarket, Waitrose, for an equivalent basket of items.

The full results of the research are as follows:

RankRetailerAverage £
1Aldi74.23
2Lidl75.61
3Asda83.22
4Sainsbury’s86.27
5Tesco86.77
6Morrisons91.14
7Ocado95.33
8Waitrose99.46

Julie Ashfield, Managing Director of Buying at Aldi, said: “We know that across the nation many families are finding things tough due to the cost of living crisis. At Aldi, we’re determined to help by keeping costs low and quality high for our customers. We’re thrilled to yet again be named the UK’s cheapest supermarket.”

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(Lead image: Aldi)

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