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Pembrokeshire dogs in for a treat

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A LUXURY dog boarding facility in Pembrokeshire is expanding, with the success of the business driven largely by social media.

The demand for places at Millin Brook Luxury Dog Boarding, a country retreat for dogs in Wiston, has blown away owners Sian and Dave Smith, who only launched the company in April 2018.

There are no traditional metal kennels to be seen, with the husband and wife team offering complete comfort on their 10-acre property. Fully-licensed and insured, they can currently take up to five dogs at a time.

The expansion will increase this to 30 as well as create jobs. Sian and Dave are not alone in working closely with the canines that come to stay. Their sons Ben, 9, and Jacob, 7, help with walks, and their head of guest services and entertainment is Barnaby, the family’s black Labrador.

Sian, who is a retired police officer of 20 years’ service, with 13 years as a mounted police officer, said: “We wanted to create somewhere that we would be happy to send our dog. In spring, we will have 10 state-of-the-art five star suites each with a large living area, play room, luxury beds, underfloor heating, automatic-filling water bowls, and our own-brand dog biscuits. We will also play classical music and infuse the air with lavender oil to help keep the dogs calm and relaxed.

“Our guests will also have chance to use the spa and be pampered and groomed before a photoshoot in a purpose-built studio.

“This would not be possible without the amazing success of the business, which has been driven largely by Facebook. I attended a Superfast Business Wales course on digital marketing to understand more about this area of running a business and I learnt so many things that I have been able to apply to Millin Brook.

“It’s taught me all about the different social media platforms, what to use them for, how to keep branding and hashtags consistent across all channels, and how to use them to their full potential.

“For example, we used Facebook advertising to introduce the business, but we kept the cost down by targeting people by interest and location. Facebook now accounts for 70 per cent of our turnover. I also found out about Google my Business, which is very important to promote us locally in Google search results, and our website accounts for the other 30 per cent of turnover.”

Sian also uses social media to give owners peace of mind so they can enjoy their holiday safe in the knowledge their companion is having a blast.

She added: “We take the dogs on adventures around the stunning Pembrokeshire beaches and countryside and publish pictures and videos to Facebook.

“If a guest is staying with us for at least a week, we also send a postcard of them enjoying their stay. The owners often share the postcards on social media, which helps to spread the word about our brand.

“Our popularity is incredible. We even had someone re-arrange their holiday because we were fully booked!”

A follow up one-to-one with a Superfast Business Wales adviser also revealed further digital solutions to help the business during its growth.

Sian added: “We use a paper diary, which is ok when it’s just five dogs. However, when we take on more we require a more sophisticated system. We will use kennel management software, Kennelbooker, which will manage bookings as well as store vital information including emergency contact details, vet details, vaccinations, custom notes, food and medical requirements, and photos.

“We will be able to access the app remotely so if we are walking a guest on the beach and we need to know something, we have that information in the palm of our hand. We can also use it for invoicing, which will reduce time spent on admin.

“I didn’t realise how much support was out there. I’ve gained so much useful advice and information.”

To find out more about Millin Brook Luxury Dog Boarding, visit http://millinbrook.co.uk/

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New Information Centre opens at Withybush Hospital for those affected by Cancer

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A NEW Macmillan Information and Support Centre has opened at the entrance to Hywel Dda University Health Board’s Withybush Hospital in Haverfordwest to help those looking for advice and support about cancer.

The Centre has been officially opened by 10-year-old Ethan Llewelyn-Dimon, from Whitland. He recently raised a staggering £3,600 for Macmillan Cancer Support Wales by growing his hair to make a wig for the Little Princess Trust. Ethan’s family has been affected by cancer twice. His aunty Jo and mamgu had cancer. Sadly he never got to meet his aunty, as she passed away before he was born. Thankfully his Mamgu survived although she had three operations and lost her hair during the treatment. Ethan decided to grow his hair long enough to be made into a wig for children going through cancer and wanted to raise money as well to give something back to those who helped his family.

The new Information and Support Centre is open 9am – 5pm, from Monday to Friday. Helen Wood and Rachel Kersey, Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Coordinators, will be in the Centre to offer information and support.

Helen Wood said, “Being told that you have cancer is one of the hardest things that you hear, and it can be a scary time where sometimes you just need someone who you can ask for support and information about what is out there that might help. This is why we developed the Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Service and have been supporting people in Pembrokeshire for the past six years. We are there for anyone affected by cancer in many different ways from emotional support and someone to talk to, help to access psychological support from specialist Cancer Counsellors or a referral to the Macmillan Benefits Advice Team. We can provide both electronic and hard copies of the various Macmillan resources or signpost to other local and national organisations or support networks.” 

The pandemic meant support was only available over the phone but the opening of the Centre means face to face meetings are once again possible, but for the time being it must be a booked appointment to help keep everyone as safe as possible. 

Official opening of new cancer information and support centre in Withybush hospital

Rachel Kersey said, “It is always a privilege to be able to help, no question is too small and if you are unsure of what you need, just give us a call on 01437 773859.”

Anna Tee, Partnership Manager for Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales, said, “Macmillan is delighted to have designed and funded this fantastic new space for people who need cancer information in collaboration with Hywel Dda.”  

Gina Beard, Lead Cancer Nurse for Hywel Dda University Health Board said, “This is a service that is provided throughout Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire and when circumstances allow, we will reach out to local businesses and attend events. The support service is here for people with concerns around a cancer diagnosis whether that’s the individual, friends or family. We are urging patients to come forward for diagnostic tests as we are concerned that many are still not seeking the care they need due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We want people who suspect they have cancer to know we are very much open for business.”

The way the public access NHS services has changed and the Welsh Government is encouraging people to get to know the breadth of NHS services and options available to them as part of its Help Us, Help You campaign. The Macmillan support service can help with support and advice. The Health Board are also urging people to phone their local GP surgery if they think they might have symptoms of cancer, such as a new lump, pain, bleeding or sudden weight loss.

The Macmillan Information and Support Centre can be contacted by telephoning: 01437 773 859 or email: MacmillanCISSPembrokeshire.HDD@wales.nhs.uk

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Four charged with conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine in west Wales

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FOUR people have been arrested and charged as part of an investigation into an organised crime gang supplying class A drugs from London to various locations in west Wales.

Dyfed-Powys Police, with support from The Met Police, carried out warrants at four addresses on July 21, resulting in four arrests.

Mohammed Osman, aged 23, Yonis Mohammed, aged 20, Salman Mohamoud, aged 23 – all from Islington – and Amy Simmons, aged 21, from Dulwich were charged with a total of 12 offences:

  • Mohammed Osman: Two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine,
  • Yonis Mohammed: Two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine.
  • Salman Mohamoud: Conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine
  • Amy Simmons: Conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine.

All four appeared at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Friday, July 23, where they were remanded in custody.

They are due to appear at Swansea Crown Court for their next hearing on August 20.

The investigation is being carried out by the Ceredigion Serious and Organised Crime Team, Aberystwyth CID and the Operation Orochi command of the Met Police.

Detective Sergeant Steve Jones said: “These four arrests and charges are the result of a coordinated approach to target an organised crime gang we believe is running a county lines operation into the Dyfed-Powys Police force area.

“We will continue to work diligently to disrupt gangs of this kind, to prevent the supply of illegal substances into our community.

“I would like to thank all officers involved, as well as the Met Police for their part in the operation.”

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Fishguard RNLI rescues drifting pleasure boat and crew

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ON SATURDAY evening  (Jul 24) a member of the public walking the coastal path near Carregwastad Point saw, in the fading light, a pleasure boat with people aboard apparently in difficulty. The member of the public then called 999.

This resulted in Fishguard RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat launching at 8.50pm with a full volunteer crew and speeding to the scene in calm sea conditions. Upon arrival at the location the lifeboat found a 7 foot pleasure boat drifting with four young men onboard.

Location of incident at Carregwastad Point, North Pembrokeshire (Image ONS)

The boat’s outboard engine had broken down and they had no auxiliary engine or any safety equipment, no lights, and no form of communication.

A tow line was attached to the boat and the men were transferred to the lifeboat.

One of the lifeboat crew went aboard the pleasure boat for the return journey to Goodwick public slipway where UK Coastguard personnel were waiting to speak with the four men.

The lifeboat returned to its station, arriving at 9.50pm.

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