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Pembrokeshire dogs in for a treat

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A LUXURY dog boarding facility in Pembrokeshire is expanding, with the success of the business driven largely by social media.

The demand for places at Millin Brook Luxury Dog Boarding, a country retreat for dogs in Wiston, has blown away owners Sian and Dave Smith, who only launched the company in April 2018.

There are no traditional metal kennels to be seen, with the husband and wife team offering complete comfort on their 10-acre property. Fully-licensed and insured, they can currently take up to five dogs at a time.

The expansion will increase this to 30 as well as create jobs. Sian and Dave are not alone in working closely with the canines that come to stay. Their sons Ben, 9, and Jacob, 7, help with walks, and their head of guest services and entertainment is Barnaby, the family’s black Labrador.

Sian, who is a retired police officer of 20 years’ service, with 13 years as a mounted police officer, said: “We wanted to create somewhere that we would be happy to send our dog. In spring, we will have 10 state-of-the-art five star suites each with a large living area, play room, luxury beds, underfloor heating, automatic-filling water bowls, and our own-brand dog biscuits. We will also play classical music and infuse the air with lavender oil to help keep the dogs calm and relaxed.

“Our guests will also have chance to use the spa and be pampered and groomed before a photoshoot in a purpose-built studio.

“This would not be possible without the amazing success of the business, which has been driven largely by Facebook. I attended a Superfast Business Wales course on digital marketing to understand more about this area of running a business and I learnt so many things that I have been able to apply to Millin Brook.

“It’s taught me all about the different social media platforms, what to use them for, how to keep branding and hashtags consistent across all channels, and how to use them to their full potential.

“For example, we used Facebook advertising to introduce the business, but we kept the cost down by targeting people by interest and location. Facebook now accounts for 70 per cent of our turnover. I also found out about Google my Business, which is very important to promote us locally in Google search results, and our website accounts for the other 30 per cent of turnover.”

Sian also uses social media to give owners peace of mind so they can enjoy their holiday safe in the knowledge their companion is having a blast.

She added: “We take the dogs on adventures around the stunning Pembrokeshire beaches and countryside and publish pictures and videos to Facebook.

“If a guest is staying with us for at least a week, we also send a postcard of them enjoying their stay. The owners often share the postcards on social media, which helps to spread the word about our brand.

“Our popularity is incredible. We even had someone re-arrange their holiday because we were fully booked!”

A follow up one-to-one with a Superfast Business Wales adviser also revealed further digital solutions to help the business during its growth.

Sian added: “We use a paper diary, which is ok when it’s just five dogs. However, when we take on more we require a more sophisticated system. We will use kennel management software, Kennelbooker, which will manage bookings as well as store vital information including emergency contact details, vet details, vaccinations, custom notes, food and medical requirements, and photos.

“We will be able to access the app remotely so if we are walking a guest on the beach and we need to know something, we have that information in the palm of our hand. We can also use it for invoicing, which will reduce time spent on admin.

“I didn’t realise how much support was out there. I’ve gained so much useful advice and information.”

To find out more about Millin Brook Luxury Dog Boarding, visit http://millinbrook.co.uk/

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Appeal from Fire and Rescue Service to install working smoke alarms

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AT 01:17am this morning, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, crews from Milford Haven were called to a property fire in the Hakin area of Milford Haven.

The fire was confined to a pan on a stove in the kitchen area and extinguished by firefighters using two breathing apparatus, a hose reel jet and a thermal imaging camera.

Crews also ventilated the property and fitted smoke alarms within the property.

The Fire Service left the incident at 02:00am.

Watch Manager Alun Griffiths, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said “This fire was the result of cooking left unattended. It is so important to remove all pots and pans from a heat source when you are called away from the cooker.

“Thankfully, the occupiers of the property managed to exit the property before our firefighters arrived, but it could have ended very differently as there were no smoke alarms fitted in the property.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of installing working smoke alarms in your homes and testing them regularly. In the dreadful event of a fire, they can alert you to the danger sooner and could mean the difference between life and death.

“As a Fire and Rescue Service, we provide Home Fire Safety advice which is free of charge. We also offer Safe and Well Visits which you can arrange by phoning us on 0800 169 1234 or by visiting the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website.”

For further Home Fire Safety advice or to talk about the possibility of a Safe and Well Visit by Fire and Rescue Service personnel, please phone us on 0800 169 1234.​​​ Alternatively please complete an online Request a Safe and Well Visit​ form on the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website: https://www.mawwfire.gov.uk/eng/your-safety/in-your-home/

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Milford Haven: Apocalyptic scenes as work truck catches fire in Meyler Crescent

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A MILFORD HAVEN businessman says that he is “absolutely gutted”, after he lost his tipper truck in a dramatic fire overnight.

Callum Hicks, of Meyler Crescent, was woken just after 1am on Monday morning (Mar 1) to see his vehicle in flames, with fuel running down the street on fire.

The apocalyptic scenes brought neighbours out of their homes and the fire brigade was quickly called and put out the blaze.

At this time the police and fire brigade are not suspecting foul play, but in a telephone call to a Herald reporter Callum Hicks said that he thought it was impossible that the vehicle would just spontaneously combust.

Work van: Callum Hicks with his truck, which he says was his “pride and joy”

Explaining that he thought his truck had been set on fire deliberately, he said: “There was CCTV of the fire, but its a football pitch length away, with a white van parked blocking the view of the camera. There was not a clear uninterrupted view.”

“I parked the truck at 2pm on Sunday afternoon so it was 11 hours before the fire started. The vehicle was therefore cold, and locked up.”

Firefighters at the scene

The Herald has asked two mechanics, one of whom has worked on Transit vans for decades. The first said: “It is very unlikely that a vehicle like this would catch fire on it’s own – its impossible – I am 99.9% sure that this was arson.”

The second, a specialist in vehicle electronics said: “There are so many fuses and fail safes its highly unlikely for diesel vans to burst into flames like this without some kind of catalyst.”

Burned out shell: The vehicle after the fire

“There have been issues regarding Transits in the past, even a product recall involving a fire risk from a towing module. But, the chances are a million to one of it catching fire after being parked up for almost twelve hours. It just doesn’t happen.”

The Herald asked Callum Hicks if he could think of anyone who may want to torch his truck. He said that he could not think of anyone who would do such a thing.

Commenting on the police handling of the matter, he said: “They told my missus, Rhianna Pearce, that they were not taking matters further because it was just an accident – its not!”

“I have been in trouble with the police before, and they know I am a bit of a boy, but I think this is the reason that the police are not looking into this properly.

“At the end of the day this was a large fire in a residential area, lives could have been in danger. I have lost thousands because I was insured third-party only and I do not have cover for fire.

Dyfed-Powys Police and Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue Service have been asked for a comment.

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Covid-19 vaccination venues and timeline announced for everyone locally over 50

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EVERY person in JCVI priority groups 5 to 9 will be offered a COVID-19 vaccination by 18 April, Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed.

While the health board’s vaccination programme has the capacity to offer a vaccine to everyone in groups 5 to 9 by the original target date of 4 April, the delivery plan has had to be adjusted based on confirmed vaccine deliveries.

Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire residents in priority groups 5 to 9 can expect to receive their vaccine as follows:

  • Group 5, people aged 65 – 69 years – delivered by GP practices between 15 February and 12 March
  • Group 6, people aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions and unpaid carers – delivered by GP practices between 22 February and 4 April
  • Group 7, people aged 60 – 64 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 8 March
  • Group 8, people aged 55 – 59 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 22 March
  • Group 9, people aged 50 – 54 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 5 April

The health board currently has mass vaccination centres located in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Haverfordwest, Tenby, Carmarthen and Llanelli.

Group 6 is significantly the largest cohort to be vaccinated to date and we understand that many in this group will be anxious to receive a vaccine. Please do not contact your GP or the health board to ask about your appointment, you will be contacted directly when it is your turn and we thank you for your patience.

People in groups 7, 8 and 9 will receive a letter with an appointment date and time. Please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible. The letter will include a phone number to contact the health board should you need to rearrange or cancel your appointment but please make every effort to keep your allocated appointment time.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “While  our programme has had to slow  due to supplies, we want to reassure everyone in groups 5 to 9 that our amazing teams of vaccinators and GP practices have the capability and flexibility to deliver our vaccine supplies as they arrive into the region.

“Vaccine supplies will start to increase again from mid-March, and we are confident that everyone living in our three counties in the top 9 priority groups will be offered a vaccine by mid-April.

“In Hywel Dda we have an older population compared to some other health boards and so over 50% of our adult population will have been offered a vaccine by milestone 2.

“To be able to say that as we approach the anniversary of the first national lockdown is nothing short of extraordinary.

“And again, I must say thank you to everyone living in our three counties who continue to come forward in substantial numbers for the vaccine. Uptake remains remarkably high and we hope to see this continue through groups 5 to 9 and into group 10.”

People are asked, wherever possible, to use their own private transport to attend an appointment. Lifts can be accepted from someone in their household or support bubble, but not from anyone else due to the risk of transmission of the virus.

The health board has put in place transport support for anyone who may have difficulty attending their vaccination appointment. If you have no other means of travel, please contact the health board on 0300 303 8322 and we will be happy to assist.

Everyone in priority groups 1 to 4 should have received an offer of a vaccination. If you have not been contacted, or have changed your mind, please contact your GP at the earliest opportunity. No one will be left behind.

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