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


St Clears’ McDonald’s opening delayed for a week



McDonald's sign

THE OPENING of the new 100-seater McDonald’s in St Clears has been delayed by a week. 

The restaurant, which will be built along the main approach road to Pembrokeshire, aimed to open its doors on Wednesday, January 19. 

However, the company has confirmed that the opening has been postponed until Wednesday, January 26. 

The new McDonald’s will join Haverfordwest and Pembroke Dock McDonald’s as the only members of the company located west of Carmarthen. 

It hoped to provide over 80 full and part time jobs due to being open around the clock. They hosted a recruitment day in December 2021. 

The original applications had previously stated that the McDonald’s would be open 24 hours a day. A premises licence application is currently being made to the County Council for the “provision of late-night refreshments” which, if accepted, would allow the restaurant to be open 24 hours a day.

It will open on the opposite side of the road to Travelodge and Starbucks, which replaced the Little Chef restaurant in 2017.

The restaurant was initially going to include a separate building which would have accommodated a Costa Coffee. However, it will now host a Greggs. 

Alongside this, planning permission has been granted separately for a petrol station with six electric charging points.

Continue Reading


Applications for latest Covid-19 business support funding opens



APPLICATIONS for the latest round of Welsh Government Covid-19 business support funding is now open.

The money is part of a £120m package of support for nightclubs, events, retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism businesses and their supply chains, impacted by the move to Alert Level 2.

The Non Domestic Rates (NDR) linked grant is now open.


To receive the grant, eligible businesses must complete a registration form and the closing date is 5pm on the 14 February 2022.

An eligibility checker for businesses is available at:

The above link also features further information and a series of FAQs about the latest round of support.

Welsh Government has decided that in relation to self-catering accommodation, such properties will not be eligible for the grant unless one of the following criteria are met:

  • the self-catering property can accommodate for 30 people or more or
  • the self-catering accommodation is classed as an outdoor education centre.

A discretionary fund to support sole traders, freelancers and businesses who don’t pay rates, with funding of £500 – £2000, is due to go live on the Council’s business support pages next week.

For more information on business support, see:

Continue Reading


‘Rotten month’ for drivers as retailers refused to pass on petrol price savings



DECEMBER 2021 was a “rotten” month for drivers as they were taken advantage of by petrol retailers the RAC has claimed.

The RAC told The Herald that despite wholesale prices meriting big cuts at the pumps the average price of petrol in the UK fell by just 2p a litre in December meaning drivers paid £156m more than they should have.

Unleaded dropped from 147.47p a litre to 145.48p when drivers should really have seen prices nearer to 135p “had retailers played fair instead of taking far bigger margins than normal.” The RAC said.

Diesel dropped by just under 2p a litre from 150.80p to 148.92p when drivers should have been paying around 142p. The motoring organisation has claimed.

“Instead of their long-term margin of 6p a litre, retailers took an average of 16p a litre on petrol and 12.5p on diesel in December making forecourt prices far more expensive than they would have been, had retailers not changed their fuel pricing strategy.” The RAC said.

The price of a litre of unleaded on the wholesale market, including delivery, averaged 106p across the month.

“Had a 6p margin been taken drivers would have seen an average petrol pump price of around 135p after applying VAT at 20%.”

“The average wholesale cost of delivered diesel was 112p a litre which, with the usual 6p retailer margin, would have given a pump price of around 142p.”

“This means it has cost petrol car drivers £6 more to fill up a typical 55-litre family car than it should have (£80 v £74) and for diesel nearly £4 more with a tank costing £82 at the end of the month instead of £78.” The motoring organisation said.

The RAC estimates retailers’ refusal to reflect lower wholesale prices at the pumps cost petrol car drivers a huge £156m in December, or the equivalent of £5m a day.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “December was a rotten month for drivers as they were taken advantage of by retailers who rewrote their pump price strategy, costing motorists millions of pounds as a result.”

“Their resistance to cutting prices and to only pass on a fraction of the savings they were making from lower wholesale costs is nothing short of scandalous.”

“The 10p extra retailers have added to their long-term margin of 6p a litre has led to petrol car drivers paying £5m more a day than they previously would have.”

“In the past when wholesale prices have dropped retailers have always done the right thing –eventually – and reduced their pump prices.”

“This time they’ve stood strong, taking advantage of all the media talk about ‘higher energy prices’ and banked on the oil price rising again and catching up with their artificially inflated prices, which it has now done.”

“The trouble is every extra penny they take as margin leads to drivers paying even more as VAT gets added on top at the end of the forecourt transaction.”

“This means the Treasury’s coffers have been substantially boosted on the back of the retailers’ action. We urge ministers to push retailers into doing the right thing for consumers.”

An analysis of RAC Fuel Watch data reveals Asda had the cheapest petrol at the end of the year with a litre costing an average of 141.81p at their stores, with Sainsbury’s not far behind at 142.57p.

Asda also sold the lowest priced diesel at 144.9p a litre ahead of Tesco on 145.8p. The average price of motorway unleaded at the close of December was 160.55p while diesel was higher still at 163.43p.

Continue Reading

News15 hours ago

Fishguard RNLI launch to attend injured fisherman 13 miles offshore

FISHGUARD’s RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat launched early on Monday (Jan 17), with a full volunteer crew, to rendezvous with an Irish...

News21 hours ago

Brains’ £100 million sell-off plan includes local pubs in Pembrokeshire

SA BRAINs is close to completing a £100m deal which will see the sale of 100 Wales pubs, including Pembrokeshire...

News4 days ago

Haines appears at crown court for the second time accused of the murder of Lily Sullivan

A MAN charged with the murder of Lily Sullivan on December 17, has appeared at Swansea Crown Court this morning...

News4 days ago

First Minister of Wales to set out plans to ease restrictions

MARK DRAKEFORD, First Minister of Wales, will today (Friday) set out how Wales plans to move back to alert level...

News4 days ago

Police launch appeal following allegation of rape in Milford Haven

DYFED POWYS POLICE has confirmed that it is investigating an allegation of rape in the Milford Haven area on Monday,...

News5 days ago

Officers competence questioned over Council Chief’s pay-off

AUDIT WALES published its long-awaited report on the departure of former Council CEO Ian Westley on Thursday (January 13). Audit...

Health5 days ago

Omicron ‘challenging all parts of healthcare provision’

THE INCREASING challenge on healthcare from the Omicron variant is currently affecting all parts of healthcare, including GP, dental, pharmacy...

News5 days ago

Inquest into death of Lily Sullivan opened and adjourned by coroner

THE LIFELESS body of 18-year-old Lily Ann Sullivan was discovered in the Mill Pond, Pembroke, just a week before Christmas....

Community6 days ago

Sky Cinema original ‘Save The Cinema’ filmed in Carmarthen to hit local screen

CARMARTHENSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL has annonuced that it has secured a two-week showing of Sky Cinema original movie Save The Cinema...

News6 days ago

Homeless man threatened to slit the throats of Haverfordwest Job Centre staff

A HOMELESS man who threatened to slit the throats of staff working at the Haverfordwest Job Centre and hurl a...

Popular This Week