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Funding package to help West Wales Bacon Supplies

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Bringing home the bacon: Kim and Chris Isaac with Finance Wales executive Tony Dowrick

Bringing home the bacon: Kim and Chris Isaac with Finance Wales executive Tony Dowrick

HUSBAND AND WIFE, Chris and Kim Isaac have bought into an established meat packaging and distribution company based in Cross Hands. The Isaacs have bought West Wales Bacon Supplies from its former owner, funding the purchase using their own savings and a six figure loan from Finance Wales. Former owner and local businessman, John Davies set up the company 28 years ago and today its loyal team of 10 supplies around 250 local customers throughout South and West Wales.

Now, having taken over at the company, new Managing Director Chris Isaac is excited about moving the business forward: “Kim and I have always wanted to run our own business and taking on a wellestablished business like West Wales Bacon Supplies is the right option for us. It’s known for its high-quality products and the personal service of its loyal staff and we’re keen to build on what John and his team have achieved.

“With my logistics background, I’m confident we can improve our customer services and generate savings by improving our distribution. We’ll then be able to plough these savings into expanding our premium range. Finance Wales’ funding and local support has meant a smooth transition for the company and its employees and allowed us to fulfil a life-long ambition,” Chris explained. Established in 1986, West Wales Bacon Supplies slices, weighs and vacuum-packs bacon and cooked meats, supplying cafes, hotels, pubs and shops across South and West Wales.

The company’s fleet of delivery vans are a familiar sight on local roads and its customers value the service it provides as well as the range and quality of meat products it supplies. Mr and Mrs Isaac were alerted to the opportunity to buy the company soon after Mr Davies put the business up for sale earlier this year following his decision to retire.

After deciding to take the business on the couple approached Finance Wales who help Welsh businesses secure succession funding. Tony Dowrick, an Investment Executive based at Finance Wales’ local office in Dafen structured the succession investment. Tony said: “Finding new owners for West Wales Bacon Supplies was crucial as it’s an established local business employing 10 staff with a loyal customer base in a close-knit community. Chris and Kim wanted to run their own business, but starting up a business wasn’t the right fit for them.

“Finance Wales’ loan has helped an aspiring couple achieve a long-held ambition while also safeguarding 10 jobs and protecting existing local supplier relationships. The Isaacs have the drive to breathe new life into the business and take it to new heights.” Since taking over the company at the end of Septmeber the couple have already achieved a 10% rise in profits for October and November and are now looking forward to a potential recruitment drive planned for early this year.

West Wales Bacon Supplies is one of Finance Wales’ latest succession investments. It has invested over £29 million to enable ambitious management teams to take over at 94 established Welsh companies and these businesses have created and safeguarded over 1,100 jobs in Wales. Chris Griffiths, New Investments Fund Manager at Finance Wales specialises in succession investments and he believes that acquiring an established business is an attractive option: “Finance Wales is eager to back more management buy-ins and buy-outs of established Welsh SMEs.

They’re important to the future prosperity of the Welsh economy but many Welsh managers are often unaware of the funding options open to them to help them own their own business. We can tailor our funding to suit individual managers’ and management teams’ needs. Finance Wales’ investment in West Wales Bacon Supplies came from the £40 million

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Single port plan should be off the agenda for now says MS

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WELSH Labour Member of the Senedd for Mid and West Wales, Eluned Morgan, has welcomed a decision from Irish Ferries that underlines its commitment to the port of Pembroke.

The company has signed a 10 year deal with the Port of Milford Haven for the berth at Pembroke Dock which first came into operation under B&I Line in 1979. Since then, the port of Pembroke has seen multimillion pound investments to improve facilities and creating jobs and has become established as an important transport node with Europe.

In recent weeks, Westminster politicians have raised the suggestion that as a result of Brexit, Pembrokeshire could only support a single port linking the county of Pembrokeshire and the M4 corridor with the Irish Republic.

Eluned Morgan MS said: “I was frankly disappointed at the lack of ambition displayed by Pembrokeshire’s MPs over this issue. These continue to be worrying days for our ports which have played a pivotal role in defining the coastal communities of both Pembroke Dock and Fishguard over the years. We were told Brexit would bring benefits not the demise of our links with Europe. So I am pleased to hear that Irish Ferries has signed a 10 year deal with the Port of Milford Haven to maintain facilities at Pembroke Dock. I understand that Stena Line is committed to Fishguard also.

“In recent weeks, I have been in touch with Irish Ferries and Stena Line to understand their position as part of an ongoing conversation in light of Brexit and the subsequent shift in trade that has followed. We must all work together to ensure that Pembrokeshire is recognised as a gateway to Europe and seek out every opportunity to replace the trade lost in the years ahead.”

The Port of Milford Haven confirmed: “We are pleased to report that Irish Ferries reconfirmed its commitment to Pembroke Dock with the signing of a new 10-year deal.
This marks a huge statement of confidence in the Rosslare-Pembroke Dock crossing, which is the primary freight corridor carrying two thirds of the total freight units using the south Wales corridor, and supporting 325,000 passenger movements each year.”

Eluned Morgan is a Labour Member of the Senedd for Mid and West Wales and currently serves in the Welsh Government as Minister for Mental Health, Wellbeing and the Welsh Language.

She is also a member of the House of Lords.

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Business

The Herald.Wales website launches this Friday, February 26

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A PEMBROKESHIRE based media company is launching a news website which will cover all of Wales this week, as it takes the leap from being a regional to a national news provider.

As part of the latest change to Wales’ evolving media landscape, ten jobs have been created and a further 20 secured, as Herald News UK Ltd launches its Herald.Wales service on Friday (Feb 26).

The company says it is investing a considerable sum over the next two years to provide news in both English and Welsh. As well as breaking news, coverage will include politics, entertainment, sport, and opinions from a number of contributors – including Welsh Media Awards (Best Columnist) Winner 2019, Matthew Paul.

Political Editor Jon Coles, said: “Launching a national news platform is something we’ve been thinking of for two years.

“The pandemic and lockdowns made us put the project on pause. Despite Covid-19, our print title, The Pembrokeshire Herald, has bucked the trend of shrinking circulation and that’s encouraged us to take this next step.”

Jon Coles continued: “We provisionally chalked in St David’s Day to launch; however, the late entrance of the US-owned and London-based Newsquest to the market with ‘The National’ came as a surprise.

“We had already set up and were trialling our website and tweaking it in the autumn.

“We were a founding patron of New Media Wales with whom we were looking forward to working with to provide independent news online.

“When New Media Wales partnered with Newsquest, I was surprised and disappointed. Our plans had to change and so we brought our launch date forward.”

When it comes to Herald.Wales’ stance on the big issues which affect Wales, Jon Coles said: “We will report every political view. Herald.Wales starts from the position that Wales should have the choice over whether to be an independent country.

“That doesn’t mean we’re an uncritical voice in support of independence. We’re realistic about the challenges it presents us as a nation. We will report each side of the debate so our readers can form their own opinions on Wales’ future. However, our sentiment will favour an independent Wales.”

South & West Wales Editor Tom Sinclair said: “We’ve built a network of contributors across Wales to provide news for every area.

“We will report on local news, news from Wales’ regions, and Welsh national news in Welsh and English. Video content will be important to us.

“Our introductory video has already gained plenty of views and our new Facebook page is getting more followers daily.

“We are confident there is space in the market for a genuinely independent online news source for Wales, to complement what is being offered by the bigger players such as the WalesOnline and BBC Wales websites.”

Advertising Sales Manager Brian Hancock, who has worked in news media advertising for twenty years, said that he thought that Herald.Wales would undoubtedly be a success.

He said: “Despite the slow down in revenues to all commercial news organisations due to the pandemic, we have secured commitments which will ensure the future of the new site.”

He added: “I would like to thank the nearly 5,000 Welsh businesses who have supported The Herald since we launched the eight years ago, and who are continuing to support our independent news with our weekly print publication, The Pembrokeshire Herald – and now Herald.Wales.”

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Prendergast Butchers crowned Welsh Butcher’s Shop of the Year

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A HAVERFORDWEST butchers shop, has been named the 2020 Welsh Butcher’s Shop of the Year.

Prendergast Butchers established in 1950 by the Wolsey family, was awarded the title during the online Butcher’s Shop of the Year Awards 2020, held last week (Feb 15).

Described as a “really successful example of a traditional butchers’ shop”, it stood out to the judges for the owners’ passion for local produce and the recognition of how important this is to the success of the business. Prendergast was also praised for its clear pride in getting involved in initiatives that support the industry and local community.

Chris and Rachel Wolsey and their sons, Tom and Mark, have farmed in Pembrokeshire for almost 50 years producing high quality beef and lamb. Committed to providing locally and ethically sourced produce to the community, they ensure that all their products come directly from their own farm or from a few very carefully selected local suppliers who meet their quality ethos.

Chris Wolsey said, “This has been and continues to be a massive team effort from our family, our incredible staff. But we could not succeed without the incredible support of our customers and we are deeply grateful for their loyalty. As a family, we are proud to be flying the flag of the Great British butcher, we are passionate in providing the very best local produce for our customers and operating at the heart of our community.

“Our region like many others has faced economic challenges, the crisis of the high street and now Covid-19. But, we have shown that the traditional butcher’s shop can be a major force in helping local communities to get through these crises, and emerging stronger for all that.”

Kirstie Jones, Market Development Officer at Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) said: “We are delighted that a member of the HCC Butchers’ Club has won this award. They fought a tough battle to reach the top spot against The Gourmet Butcher in Llantrisant and Wavells Butcher, Llanrug who also deserve to be commended and congratulated for reaching the shortlist.

“Butchers have been vital in supporting our local communities since the start of the pandemic. They have kept their businesses running as well as providing additional services such as door-to-door deliveries, and have been rewarded with a surge in sales. HCC is delighted that a family-run butcher’s shop has been applauded for its dedication to serving the community with top quality Welsh produce.”

HCC was one of the main sponsors of the Butcher’s Shop of the Year Awards 2020.

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