Connect with us


Prime Minister Honours Local Entrerpeneur



imgID1128544One local business woman is grabbing the attention of some of the big hitters in Westminster.
Hayley Thomas, 30, from Haverfordwest is the young entrerpeneur who was responsible for creating The Lions Den play centre on Snowdrop Lane, in Haverfordwest. She was recently rewarded for her hard work by being invited to Downing Street as a model success story of the Government scheme, the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA).
The scheme was launched by the Government in 2011 and gives Jobseekers Allowance claimants, who wish to start their own business, extra financial help and business guidance. Under the scheme participants are provided with a business mentor and a weekly allowance worth over £1200 over 26 weeks. They are also able to facilitate a loan to help with start up costs.
Hayley Thomas was invited to a showcase reception at the Prime Minister’s residence. Local MP, Stephen Crabb, introduced her to David Cameron ahead of the event, whilst describing her as, ‘a great Pembrokeshire success story’. He went on to say,
“It’s fantastic to see Hayley’s business achievements being recognised by the Prime Minister in this way. She has such incredible motivation and drive and has overcome some tough personal circumstances. Hayley is providing real employment opportunities to local people and a fun environment for youngsters. I look forward to watching the business go from strength to strength”.
The Herald spoke with Hayley this week, at Lions Den, to find out a little bit more about her growing business and what gave her the inspiration to start it.
“I used to be an NVQ assessor, for nearly two years. I was on a reasonable wage, so I had committed to my own house and car, and then, without warning, got made redundant during the height of the recession. I applied for sixty to seventy jobs within six months and I didn’t get anywhere. I had to go on Jobseekers Allowance. No one wants to sign on; you want to go out and work. You can feel like that’s it but the job centre staff, however, are fantastic. I soon went over to the NEA and was assigned a mentor, an ex business man. I got on a scheme whereby you get money per week as security (whilst starting up your business).”
She went on to sing the praises of the NEA.
“The NEA funding did me good. The money they gave me was for myself and not the business. I had to have a project plan. With the NEA I could claim and trade; it was a security net.”
When asked how easy it was to initiate the business, she spoke of the investment required and the hours she put into getting it off the ground. About her meeting in London Hayley said,
“When I was at 10 Downing Street you speak to a lot of Ministers. I was talking to Levi Roots (Reggae Reggae Sauce) and the employment Minister, Mark Hoban, overheard us and asked me to be part of an article to show what you can do (using the NEA). The Prime Minister announced another seventy million was being reinvested so it’s great to be a part of that. At the time I opened the business there were some people in my boat (unemployed) and it was great I could offer them jobs. That felt good and it’s overwhelming that I am now supporting people in their jobs”.
When asked what gave Hayley the idea for business she stated that,
“I used to be a Thompson rep and wanted to bring a bit of tourism to Pembrokeshire. We chose the play equipment, all jungle themed, and I designed all the artwork, doing all the painting myself. We open the play centre from Monday to Sunday and, on Monday, dance classes for children. I feel there needs to be more on the physical side for children to do. Our nursery runs from Monday to Friday”.
In terms of how her business will grow she highlighted a key area that she feels needs addressing, locally,
“I’d like to look at more focus on children with additional needs. There’s not enough for them. If I could get the funding through grants or something, I’d open up a sensory room. It’s a need in Pembrokeshire and no one caters for it. It would be nice to have some support from our local Government”.
Whether that wish comes true or not, there is no doubt this remarkable young entrerpeneur will continue to impress with her business, succeeding during a difficult time.

Continue Reading


Freeport status ‘key’ to unlocking potential



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.”  

Continue Reading


Port of Milford Haven confirms compliance with National Marine Safety Code



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.

Continue Reading


Pembrokeshire business encourages others to take advantage of free courses



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

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. 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.

Continue Reading
News4 hours ago

The Pembrokeshire man on the Titanic

ON the morning of April 15 1912, in the North Atlantic some 450-miles south of Newfoundland, the RMS Titanic slowly slid beneath...

News10 hours ago

Marloes pensioner in child abuse images case

A PENSIONER has been bailed to attend Swansea Crown Court by magistrates sitting in Haverfordwest Law Courts this week. Derek...

News1 day ago

Primary school teacher described as ‘touchy-feely’ on day two of trial

A HAVERFORDWEST primary school teacher, accused of sexually assaulting his pupils was “very touchy-feely”, Swansea Crown Court heard on the...

Entertainment2 days ago

BAFTA winner Sir Anthony Hopkins visits St. Davids

CELEBRATING his BAFTA win, Sir Anthony Hopkins has been vaccinated and returned to his native country of Wales where he...

News2 days ago

Trial of Haverfordwest primary school teacher starts at Swansea Crown Court

A HAVERFORDWEST primary school teacher who is accused of sexually abusing eleven children thinks he is a victim of a...

News2 days ago

Kill the Bill protest to take place in Haverfordwest on Saturday

INDIVIDUALS and activists from local groups, including Extinction Rebellion Pembrokeshire, Stand Up to Racism West Wales, Pembrokeshire People’s Assembly and...

News3 days ago

Everything you need to know about the current coronavirus restrictions in Wales

THE GOVERNMENT guidelines in Wales are changing today (Apr 12). There are major changes coming into force today across the...

Health3 days ago

New Covid vaccine arrives first in West Wales

THE FIRST person in the UK to receive the Moderna vaccine against Covid-19 got their jab at 8:30 in the...

News3 days ago

Ten years in prison for Milford Haven taxi driver who raped passenger

ANTHONY MARCUS JONES, 43, a taxi driver from Hawthorn Path, Mount Estate, Milford Haven has been sentenced to ten years...

News4 days ago

Police: RNLI ‘most likely saved man’s life’ following tombstoning incident

POLICE have issued an urgent warning following a tombstoning incident Tenby on Saturday evening (Apr 10). A multi-agency operation was...

Popular This Week