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B&B wins tourism award

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OAKS B&B near Narberth has won the Visit Wales Gold Award for the 8th year running.

Canaston Oaks B&B: 8th Visit Wales Gold Award.

Canaston Oaks B&B: 8th Visit Wales Gold Award.

The 2014 awards were announced at the end of last year, with several winners being from Pembrokeshire.

Canaston Oaks offers five star luxury accommodation with panoramic views of the Pembrokeshire countryside. The buildings are a skilful blend of converted traditional farm stables with modern additions, all designed and built by Pembrokeshire craftsmen.

David and Eleanor Lewis own the B and B, which was previously a working farm dating back to 1939 and run by David’s parents. They moved into the property when David’s parents passed away, but feeling the farm would be too much work, decided to turn it into a B and B in 2007.

Eleanor says ’When we started 8 years ago, I thought it would be lovely to win the Award just once. To win it 8 years running, is fantastic. We’re the only one in Pembrokeshire to have done this, and possibly Wales as well.’

The Visit Wales Gold Award rewards outstanding quality, exceptional comfort and hospitality in the serviced sector in Wales. The award also recognises businesses that have been successful in a Mystery Shopper exercise to test their customer interaction skills.

“We don’t know who the assessor is” Eleanor says, “It could be anyone that stays here. We are assessed via a telephone enquiry and through our email response times too.”

They have 5 staff and are currently expanding to add an extra 3 rooms, a kitchen and 2 new dining rooms catering for up to 30 guests. They hope the improvements will be complete by May 1, in time for the summer season.

When I ask if guests return to Canaston Oaks she says: “One lady is due to return for her 17th time. We rely on guests coming back and recommending us to others. We pride ourselves on providing quality and consistency.”

She is also keen to point out that they continue to support their local community: “We do Pembrokeshire and we sell it. We use local craftsmen and source local produce. Due to the expansion we will have a number of job opportunities arising and hope to help boost the economy. People can apply by sending CV’s to us.”

Eleanor says she believes the success of the business is down to it being family run. Her daughter has just returned to the area with her family, to help with the expansion and take a central role in the business.

“As well as the extra guest rooms and facilities, we are also thinking of offering an afternoon tea service. It’s such a beautiful area and easily accessible. I think that would be ideal.”

She says that everything that has been achieved has been with the support of her family.

“I’ve enjoyed watching the business grow. I wouldn’t want Canaston Oaks to go out of the family. If something goes wrong, we work together to fix it. I think family does it best.”

 

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Business

Freeport status ‘key’ to unlocking potential

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FREEPORT status for Pembroke Port could unlock a multitude of employment and economic opportunities for the local area.

That’s the belief of Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire Senedd candidate Samuel Kurtz.

While freeports are a Westminster policy, the Welsh Government are involved in the process but they have been far from enthusiastic over its potential benefits. 

Commenting, Cllr Samuel Kurtz said: “Freeport status for Pembroke Port would turbo charge the recovery of the local economy, helping to boost employment opportunities for people in Pembroke, Pembroke Dock and the local area.
“That fact that the Labour government in Cardiff have sat on their hands over freeports, while England has already announced its freeport locations, shows the party has little regard for helping the economy recover and grow. 
“This is a key policy that shouldn’t be overlooked simply because of party politics. Recovering from the effects of the pandemic needs collaborative work between Cardiff, London and local authorities.”  

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Business

Port of Milford Haven confirms compliance with National Marine Safety Code

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THE PORT OF MILFORD HAVEN has confirmed its compliance with the Maritime & Coastguard Agency’s Port Marine Safety Code (PMSC).

The confirmation comes following an audit by leading maritime consultants ABPmer.

The Port Marine Safety Code is a national standard that applies to all harbour authorities. The Code and its accompanying guidance provide an essential toolbox to ensure the control of risk and the maintenance of safety in ports and in the marine environment.

Port of Milford Haven’s Harbourmaster and Marine Director Mike Ryan is proud of the Port’s continued compliance with the Code.

“This is further endorsement and confirmation of everyone’s commitment here at the Port of Milford Haven to providing a safe operation for all port users,” said Mike.

Monty Smedley, ABPmer’s Lead PMSC Auditor, who conducted the audit, said: “I am very pleased to confirm to the Port of Milford Haven’s Board that their harbour operations demonstrated compliance with the requirements of the Code, with many examples that we considered to be industry best practice.”

The MCA’s Ports and VTS Policy Manager, James Hannon, who leads PMSC compliance for the UK government said: “The Code is recognised across the industry and has been developed in partnership by the UK government and industry over the last two decades. The resources set out how ports can assess risks, design safety management systems, and also install governance processes to ensure that a Designated Person is able to evaluate controls and report directly to port duty holders and boards.”

The Port of Milford Haven’s Board formally declares its compliance with the Port Marine Safety Code to the MCA every three years.

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Business

Pembrokeshire business encourages others to take advantage of free courses

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IN LIGHT of the recent Welsh Government announcement on the re-opening of the Welsh tourism sector, Wales. A Food Destination is running a number of masterclass sessions tailored for the hospitality sector.

Wales. A Food Destination is a project which specialises in supporting retail and hospitality businesses to source, serve and sell Welsh food and drink through cafes, restaurants, shops, farmers markets, food festivals, B&B’s and tourist attractions.

Throughout April virtual workshop sessions will take place, covering a variety of areas such as local food and drink pairing, breakfast menu inspiration, how to offer the best customer experience possible, through to creating an authentic local eating experience, with a particular focus on sourcing local ingredients.

According to Laura Alexander, co-coordinator for Wales. A Food Destination, the aim is to give a helping hand to those in the sector looking to source, serve and sell Welsh food in a post Covid world,

“It is great that we are able to offer such a diverse range of training opportunities to hospitality businesses in Wales as the sector prepares to re-open. We know that a lot of businesses have been closed for a long time now, and are looking forward to re-opening and refreshing what they have to offer. We are keen to support them with opportunities for learning.

“The masterclass sessions will hopefully assist businesses in recognising how our first rate produce can make their offer even more attractive and help in boosting the sector at such a crucial time.”

One business who have benefitted from attending one of the recent workshops is Melin Tregwynt, based in Haverfordwest.

“It was great to take the time to look at what we can do to prepare for whatever re-opening throws our way this year. Also to be able to access such a brilliant resource of recipes, information and ideas. Thank you to all involved in delivering these courses.”

The good news is that all courses are delivered virtually and are fully funded for any business who sources, serves and sells Welsh food.

For a full list of courses available, please visit https://www.foodskills.cymru/wales-a-food-destination/events/

Wales. A Food Destination project offers fully funded one-to-one consultations, so if you are a retail and hospitality business and are looking for support or advice then please contact Laura Alexander at wales@lantra.co.uk.

Wales. A Food Destination is a project funded by the Welsh Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020. Its aim is to support businesses source, serve and sell Welsh Food & Drink.

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