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From tea boy to head of finance

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2000px-ACCA_logo.svgSTEVEN FLATHER from West Wales began his career at local government in Devon doing clerical work and making the tea but through his determination, hard work he became a professionally qualified accountant with ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and is now head of finance for Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue. Earning his professional qualification has seen Steven transform a mundane career in to one where he has influence, not only over the organisation he works for but also over public sector policies and over the development of the accounting profession. Steven said: “I soon realised that if I wanted something more I would have to become professionally qualified.

I first completed my technician level qualification and, as well as relocating from Exmouth in Devon to Haverfordwest, I worked my way up to become a senior internal auditor, but I became frustrated at not being the one making the decisions. I decided to pursue my ACCA qualification and this gave my career an extra boost. A change of employer, but still within local government, saw my career progress to a role in treasury management and the involvement of running a pension fund with £1bn of assets to manage. This lead me to become head of finance for a dynamic blue-light service.

I am on the policy group of my organisation and my presence is requested at authority meetings and on the management board of large or collaborative projects. I have also been invited on to groups advising the Welsh government. Becoming professionally qualified has allowed me to enter a world far beyond the limits of accounting. A truly exciting world which satisfies my ambitions and allows me to think I can make a difference. A far cry from where my career was heading when I left school.” This week (November 10-16) is Professions Week. A week dedicated to highlighting the difference a professional qualification can make to career prospects.

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Business

Forage to fork – launch of annwn restaurant at the little retreat

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Annwn food

ANNWN is a unique, fine dining destination that exploits the rich foraging potential of the local Welsh landscape in the heart of the stunning Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

Annwn – the name given to the Otherworld in Welsh mythology, has opened its doors on the site of the idyllic Little Retreat at Lawrenny near an ancient woodland and on the banks of the stunning Cleddau estuary.

The restaurant offers diners entry to a world of exquisite, local sustainable and foraged produce – a new Welsh dining experience. It is the creation of local chef Matt Powell who has worked at Michelin Star establishments over many years, and has successfully run his Fishing and Foraging Wales business to show the delights of the Pembrokeshire coastline to audiences from all over the world.

Matt is bringing this knowledge and passion for the finest food at close hand to the Annwn menu, giving it a true sense of place. The single menu shuns food miles in favour of local seasonal and foraged produce that showcases Wales’ wild ecosystems and the incredible quality and diversity of local sustainable producers.

Matt says: “Pembrokeshire is the county I love, live and work in, both on land and sea, and it offers so much for a world class dining experience. I want Annwn to tell a story and offer a glimpse into this part of the world that’s home to some of the best raw ingredients in the world. Here, I really want to push the boundaries of a new style of Welsh cuisine.”

Annwn sits in a walled garden, hosting just 12 people per sitting, and is the latest attraction at Little Retreat, a glamping sanctuary with wellbeing at its heart, where people come from afar to escape, relax, restore and reconnect with nature in a beautiful corner of the world. 

It is also the venue for the Big Retreat Festival, the ultimate feel good event which returns June 3-6 2022 with a line-up of excitement, adventure, music and magic in the shape of headliners Toploader, Reef, comedy from the likes of Scummy Mummies, plus wellbeing experts such as Richie Norton and the legendary Mr Motivator.

Matt Powell

Little Retreat’s owner is wellbeing expert Amber Lort-Phillips, who said: “Matt is such a talent and has an intrinsic understanding of the foods that live and grow in this very special environment.

Annwn perfectly complements what we have created here at Little Retreat, giving diners the

opportunity to reconnect with nature through the highest quality food creations.”

Little Retreat’s luxury Domes and Stargazers offer the perfect back to nature escape, with the opportunity to explore the local coastline, rivers and inland waterways through wild swimming, or by boat, kayak or stand up paddle boards. Here they run a series of Feel Good Retreats throughout the year, with condensed versions of the annual Big Retreat festival.

Growing up in Wales, Matt was foraging from a young age, he fished his local rivers for brown trout and sewin (sea trout), becoming a full-time bass angling guide for several years.

Leaving culinary college, Matt worked at Raymond Blanc’s renowned Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, before moving on to the kitchens of a variety of high-level restaurants in Ireland, the UK and Europe.

He returned to found Fishing and Foraging Wales in 2012, taking visitors on sustainable and responsible adventures of exploration, educating them on the quality of the produce surrounding them. This experience will continue, with Matt running foraging and dining workshops with a small but extremely knowledgeable team at Annwn.

Annwn will feature dishes such as slow cooked duck egg yolk with hedgerow plants and fungi sauce, as well as lobster and laver seaweed with estuary plants and lobster sauce. The menu will change with the seasons, shunning food miles in favour of local seasonal and foraged produce such as velvet swimming crabs, wild mushrooms, vegetables grown in the Little Retreat walled garden, meat from nearby farms, and Welsh wines.

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Hopes dashed for a prototype fusion power plant in Pembrokeshire

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HOPES for an ambitious programme to design and build a prototype fusion power plant in Pembrokeshire have been dashed after the local site chosen, between Valero and Pembroke Power Station failed to meet the shortlist.

Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet had endorsed the proposals back in May.

A press release sent by Pembrokeshire County Council to local press states: “Following a decision by the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), Pembrokeshire will no longer be part of the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) fusion power station process.
“Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet endorsed proposals from Cllr Paul Miller, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, to further progress the nomination back in May this year.
Working with the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), the proposed site was adjacent to the existing energy facilities on the South Shore of the Haven waterway.”
Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Cllr Paul Miller, said: ‘We heard earlier today that Pembrokeshire hasn’t made the UK Atomic Energy Agency’s final shortlist to host their Fusion Energy Plant prototype. We were given detailed feedback and ultimately the topography of the site proposed – specifically the need for substantial ground works to accommodate UKAEA’s needs – and the proximity to the site of a number of areas with environmental protection designations, meant other sites were considered easier to deliver than the one here in Pembrokeshire.
‘It’s disappointing, but this was only ever one part of our much broader plan to transition the Haven Waterway to renewable energy. We’re determined to remain critical to the UK’s energy system and to lead the UK’s transition to renewable energy while at the same time of course, securing those skilled, secure and well-paid jobs upon which the local economy is so dependent.
‘Through this bid process we’ve deepened ties with key government agencies, the private sector and regulators and none of them are left in any doubt that, fusion or not, Pembrokeshire is open for business and is determined to become the Green Energy Capital of not just Wales, but of the United Kingdom.
‘This one might not have gone our way but we remain extremely well positioned for the future.’

The shortlisted sites are:

· Ardeer (North Ayrshire)
· Goole (East Riding of Yorkshire)
· Moorside (Cumbria)
· Ratcliffe-on-Soar (Nottinghamshire)
· Severn Edge (South Gloucestershire and Gloucestershire).

When endorsing the project for Pembrokeshire back in May, Cllr Paul Miller said: “I am pleased my Cabinet colleagues endorsed this important programme of work. The Haven Waterway has provided livelihoods, underpinned by fossil fuels, for thousands of Pembrokeshire families, mine included, for more than 50 years. It’s my job to help ensure the waterway continues to provide high skilled, engineering, science and technology jobs for the next generation of this county and so linked to our focus on climate change (and in addition to our existing multi-million pound commitments to supporting wind, wave and tidal clean power generation) my team have been exploring whether we can also support the development of clean, green fusion technology.

“It’s very early days in the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s site selection process but we’ll provide regular updates as things progress.”

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Coast to Coast grabs gold at national award ceremony

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PEMBROKESHIRE COAST NATIONAL PARK AUTHORITY’S long-running visitor newspaper Coast to Coast was one of the gold winners at the recent CIPR Cymru Wales PRide Awards.

The free annual visitor newspaper picked up the award for Best Publication at an online ceremony hosted by broadcaster Jason Mohammad, having last won the award in 2014.

National Park Authority Communications and Marketing Manager Marie Edwards said: “We are delighted that Coast to Coast has been recognised once again alongside so many other great entries and winners from the private and public sectors.

“Hundreds of thousands of copies are picked up across Pembrokeshire and beyond each year, helping people to learn more about the National Park and enjoy their visit.

“We would like to thank all the readers, stockists and advertisers for their ongoing support as we prepare to publish the 40th edition in 2022.”

In assessing the Coast to Coast entry, the judges felt there was “a very clear brief for Coast to Coast, with well thought through targets. The entry demonstrated a strong alignment to the organisational goals as well as importantly, giving staff the opportunity to contribute.

“Ultimately this approach led to excellent metrics in the evaluation and fantastic feedback from customers, which the judges were particularly impressed with.”

National Park Authority Chairman Cllr Paul Harries added: “The team should be extremely proud to have won another gold at these prestigious awards, which follows on from an incredibly successful few years despite the challenges posed by the pandemic and emphasises the high calibre of officers we have working for the Authority.

“The team works tirelessly to promote the National Park and the Authority in so many different ways, including the ever popular Coast to Coast, which continues to go from strength to strength.”

To read this year’s edition online or find out more about advertising in the 2022 edition of Coast to Coast visit www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales/coast-to-coast.

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