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Christmas leaves consumers strapped for cash

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consumers strappedNEW research released this week shows that around 55 per cent of consumers in Wales ran out of disposable cash in January, after failing to budget for the Christmas and New Year festivities.

The average shopper in Wales overspent by £324.54 at Christmas, and more than two thirds (68 per cent) found the first month of the year a real struggle to get through financially, as they waited for their first 2014 wage packet to pay off credit cards, overdrafts and other festive bills.

The findings from The Co-operative Food coincide with the launch of the retailer’s 2014 Saving Stamps scheme, designed to help people to manage their budgets by saving a little each week throughout the year to help spread the cost of Christmas.

The community retailer saw sales of the £1 savings stamps soar by 40 per cent in 2013, as savvy shoppers reverted to the old-school way of saving. Commonplace in households in the sixties when budgets were notoriously tight, saving stamps were a popular way to put a little away each week.

As an extra incentive, customers redeeming a full saving stamps book with £48 worth of stamps in December receive £50, which means they receive a free £2 bonus for each full saving book redeemed in the run up to Christmas.

The Co-operative is the only retailer to provide extra security for its customers’ saving stamps, by protecting the money in a trust fund, which is managed by an independent trustee.

The Co-operative’s trust fund was set up in response to the collapse of the Farepak Christmas Club in 2006, when nearly 120,000 people, many from low-income households, lost on average £400 each. When establishing the trust, The Co-operative worked closely with representatives of the Farepak Victims Committee,Andrew Mann, Customer Director, The Co-operative Food, said: “As our research shows, many people were left with a financial hangover after overspending at Christmas and are still paying for the festivities.

“As a responsible retailer, we are keen to help our customers manage their budgets, and our saving stamps scheme is a simple and effective way to help put money aside throughout the year to help spread the cost of Christmas.”

He added: “Sales of saving stamps rose by 40 per cent in 2013, and we are expecting our saving scheme to be just as popular this year, as customers adopt a prudent approach to managing their money and start saving now January is out of the way.”

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Council to showcase services at County Show

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THE SHOW IS BACK – and following a two-year absence, this year’s event will be the first open to the public since 2019.
As a celebration of rural life in the county, the show is the perfect platform to engage with both local communities and visitors.
This year, the largest county agricultural show in Wales, will be held over two days, on 17 and 18 August – and the Pembrokeshire County Council is attending the event to highlight the work they undertake, support available and the employment opportunities they have to offer.
To ensure the Local Authority provides information on a wide range of our services, this year our Social Services team are in a stand-alone marquee, enabling people to visit a one-stop-shop of support.
We will also give visitors the opportunity to join us in the corporate marquee to engage with Cabinet Members, the Chief Executive and a whole host of interesting and innovative projects happening across the county.
Pembrokeshire County Council Chief Executive Will Bramble said: “Our teams are excited about engaging with the public and having the opportunity to demonstrate what they do – and highlight the wealth of support available along with the wide range of career opportunities we have to offer.
“This will be my first Pembrokeshire Show as Chief Executive and I am looking forward to engaging with the rural and wider communities of this fantastic county.
“The Pembrokeshire Show is the perfect platform to celebrate the amazing produce we have to offer – and to meet new and old friends. Please come and visit our marquees and discover more about the support available and the transformational projects we are doing, which will improve the lives of our communities and visitors. I look forward to meeting you at the show.”
Among those joining the team will be the Broadband project, the Haverfordwest Regeneration work and the fascinating ongoing archaeological dig exhibition with Dyfed Archaeological Trust. Visitors will also get the chance to engage with Cabinet Members who will attend across the two-day event.
In the Social Services marquee will be Foster Care, Carers Support and the recruitment team who will be able to discuss how you can start your career in social care, and join the team making a real difference to the lives of people in our communities.
Cllr Paul Miller: Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Place, the Region and Climate Change, added: “The County Show is a well-loved and important celebration of rural life in Pembrokeshire, and we are delighted to be part of the event once again this year. Our staff and members will be chatting to lots of people from communities’ right across Pembrokeshire: please do drop into our stands and say hello – we’re looking forward to meeting you.”

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RNLI help firefighters control island blaze

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ST DAVIDS lifeboat volunteers provided support to local fire crews tackling a wildfire on Carreg Fran off Porthlysgi beach on Monday, (Aug 8).

The fire on Carreg Fran Porthlysgi beach is suspected to have started from the remnants of wild camping on the island.

St Davids fire service requested the assistance of the all-weather lifeboat Norah Wortley to transfer staff and equipment following reports of people swimming to the island in an attempt to extinguish the blaze.
Seven fire crews used a featherweight pump and hoses to douse the island with sea water in an operation lasting over seven hours.

This is the second time St Davids lifeboat volunteers have been called to wildfire concerns at Carreg Fran within the last month.

Despite earlier attempts to control the fire, the islands’ peat surface has continued to smoulder.

Will Chant, RNLI Coxswain for St Davids RNLI lifeboat, said: “St Davids fire station requested our logistical help to safely transport their crew and equipment to Carreg Fran.

“We stood by in support whilst the fire crew tackled the wildfire.

“Despite their best efforts, the fire reignited the next day, so we urge members of the public not to attempt to access the island as they are putting their own lives at risk.”

Since the start of summer, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue have attended 280 grass fires that have either been started deliberately or were accidental.

Richie Vaughan-Williams, Arson Reduction Manager, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Its everyone’s responsibility to protect our countryside from wildfires.

“Many of the fires are set deliberately but some occur through negligence or boredom.

“This is frustrating when our fire crews can then get detained for hours in difficult conditions trying to stop the damage, meaning that they are then sometimes delayed in attending other emergencies.”I would encourage everyone to consider their actions when enjoying the countryside and avoid lighting fires at all.

“We need to work together to support our communities, to ensure the safety of our family and friends, neighbours, members of the public and our Emergency Services.”

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Pembrokeshire County Council issues dog boarding kennels warning

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PEMBROKESHIRE dog owners and those visiting the County with their pets are being reminded that any individuals offering to board their dogs must be licensed by Pembrokeshire County Council.The message comes from the Council’s Animal Health and Welfare Team following an increase in ‘dog boarding’ advertising on Facebook.
Cllr Michelle Bateman, Cabinet Member for Regulatory Services, said: “While we enjoy the summer, we want to remind all dog owners, whether you are a resident or in Pembrokeshire for a holiday, that those offering to accommodate your dog must hold a licence from the Council.
“This is required by law under the Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963, whether it be in a home, kennels or a day care environment, and is irrespective of the period of time required.”
All dogs must also be up to date with their vaccinations, which includes Kennel Cough.
The Animal Health and Welfare Team would also like to advise dog owners to be diligent when engaging dog walking only services to ensure that those offering

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