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Newquest abandons Welsh Language website after receiving £100k of public money

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WELSH language website The ‘Corgi Cymru’ will shut down at the end of October, just five months after launch, Herald.Wales understands.

In a huge blow to Welsh language media, Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru and Newsquest have agreed to end the funding and provision of the Welsh news service.

The news follows the closure of Corgi Cymru’s English language sister site The National Wales this summer, after Newsquest said the site had become “unsustainable”.

Corgi Cymru was only launched in April this year, and was expected to receive a grant of £100,000 a year over a period of four years, administered by the Welsh Books Council.

The £100,000 received by the news site was half of the grant previously given to the news site Golwg360, leading to staff cuts at the latter Lampeter-based news service.

The Books Council said that they and Newsquest had reached a joint agreement to propose closing Corgi Cymru’s digital channels at the end of this month, and allow the service to be discontinued over the following month.

One full-time and one part-time job are now at risk, and a consultation will take place with affected staff at Newsquest, starting today.

Helgard Krause, Chief Executive of the Books Council, said: “After careful consideration and discussion, the Books Council and Newsquest have agreed that it is in the best interest of both parties to discontinue our funding agreement and close the Corgi Cymru digital news service at the end of October.

“We have been in regular contact with Newsquest over the last few weeks and we are sorry to see Corgi Cymru close, but we do understand that circumstances have changed since the grant was awarded, due to the very challenging current environment. Our thoughts are with the staff who are affected by this decision.”

Gavin Thompson, Regional Editor at Newsquest added: “We are grateful to the Books Council for their support which enabled the launch of Corgi Cymru earlier this year”.

“Unfortunately, it became clear that even with Books Council support and given the challenging economic environment, building a new Welsh-language proposition at this time would not be economically sustainable.

“We have been engaged in constructive discussions over the future of the service in recent weeks, following the closure of The National Wales. We will begin a consultation process with affected staff, starting today.”

As we have previously reported, The National Wales website was originally set up after a Patreon crowdfunder by digital marketer Huw Marshall under the title of ‘New Media Wales’.

Thousands were raised, with Herald editor Thomas Sinclair being one of the first funders, giving £600 to the cause of starting indepednent media for Wales – paying £50 per month for twelve months.

However Marshall partnered with Newsquest to launch the site – a subsidiary of the US-based Gannett Media – and decided not to work with independent media around Wales.

Strangely, however, Gavin Thompson confirmed that Newsquest had received no money from New Media Wales. What happened to the thousands raised is unknown.

Marshall promised Sinclair a refund for not fulfilling promises made about New Media Wales’ independent direction – but the refund money was never received, the Sinclair confirmed.

Newsquest later launched the sister Welsh site, Corgi Cymru, with £100k of funding from the Welsh Books Council.

The national publishing firm, headquarted in London, also runs the Western Telegraph in Pembrokeshire, and The Leader in Wrexham to the South Wales Argus in Newport.

Herald editor Tom Sinclair said: “Newsquest have egg on their face after failing with not just one but two national websites in just a short space of time.

“As Wales’ largest independent news organisation, The Herald News UK Ltd continues to invesst in both English and Welsh content on its national website herald.wales, and is currently expanding our operation throughout the whole of Wales rather than turning our back on readers at a time when the provision of reliable sources of news online has never been more important.”

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Business

Tenby’s favourite Japanese restaurant Umi reopens under new ownership

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There’s great news for aficionados of Japanese cuisine in Pembrokeshire, the much-loved Umi restaurant, which closed its doors on High Street in Tenby in January, is now set to welcome diners once again under the new stewardship of Lok and Jen Cheung.

The couple, renowned for their culinary ventures including The Dragon Palace Chinese restaurant at Pentlepoir and Lokky’s and The Imperial Dragon Inn at nearby Wooden, are on a mission to redefine the Japanese dining experience in the picturesque Welsh town.

The grand reopening of Umi – which means The Ocean in Japanese – took place on Wednesday, February 28, has been the subject of much anticipation and excitement. “We are beyond excited to announce the grand reopening of Umi today,” Lok and Jen expressed, inviting customers to prepare for a “culinary voyage that will transport you straight to the vibrant streets of Japan.”

Umi’s commitment to quality and authenticity shines through in its offerings. The restaurant promises an array of fresh ingredients, expertly crafted sushi rolls, and mouth-watering Japanese delicacies. “From traditional favourites like sashimi and tempura to unique fusion creations, our menu is a true celebration of flavours,” the couple shared in a recent Facebook post.

However, Umi aims to offer more than just exquisite food. The restaurant’s serene and stylish ambiance is designed to immerse guests in the beauty and tranquillity of Japanese culture, making it an ideal venue for both intimate dinners and lively gatherings with friends.

Lok and Jen are no strangers to the hospitality industry. The busy parents of four have previously made their mark with the success of The Dragon Palace, followed by the opening of Lokky’s, which features cuisine inspired by eastern Asia. In June last year, they expanded their portfolio with the launch of The Imperial Dragon Hotel, notable for its themed rooms that include Indian, Japanese, and Chinese decor.

Their efforts have not gone unnoticed in the culinary world. The Dragon Palace was awarded the Best Oriental Restaurant in the Food Awards Wales 2022, and Lokky’s secured the title of Best Asian Restaurant in Wales at the Golden Chopsticks Awards 2022.

With such a rich background and a clear passion for enriching Tenby’s dining scene, the reopening of Umi under Lok and Jen Cheung is poised to be a gastronomic event that will further cement their reputation as pioneers of Asian cuisine in Wales.

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McDonald’s thanks Milford Haven after a busy first day

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MC DONALD’S new restaurant in Milford Haven, which opened its doors for the first time today, February 28th, at 11am, has already become a hit with the locals, thanks to an overwhelming turnout.

The opening day saw the restaurant bustling with patrons eager to check out the new location.

Reflecting on the day, the McDonald’s team extended a warm message of gratitude. A spokesperson said: “Wow, you came to see us in your droves today!

“We certainly tried our best to provide good service to you all. Inevitably at times, service was a bit slower than we would have liked, but we hope to see you all again soon.

“Thank you from team Milford.”

Despite the busy start and not offering breakfast on its first day—a detail proactively communicated to customers—the franchise’s focus remained steadfast on ensuring everyone had a positive experience.

The commitment of the new McDonald’s restaurant to the local community extends beyond its menu. In partnership with the police and Port Authority, the franchise is actively working to address anti-social behaviour and improve traffic management around the new site.

These collaborations aim to create a safe and enjoyable environment for both patrons and the broader community, reinforcing McDonald’s dedication to making a positive impact, the company said.

The opening of the restaurant has also brought significant employment opportunities to Milford Haven, with 90 new jobs created.

This boost increases the total number of individuals employed by Lonetree Limited, the local franchisee, to around 1,700 across its 17 McDonald’s outlets in South West Wales.

As McDonald’s encourages residents to follow their social media for updates, the overarching message is one of gratitude and excitement for the future.

A local councillor said: “The successful launch day sets a promising tone for the McDonald’s restaurant in Milford Haven as it embarks on its journey to be more than just a place to eat but a valued community partner.”

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Business

McDonald’s opens new branch in Milford Haven today

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A BRAND new McDonald’s restaurant is opening its doors in Milford Haven today (Feb 28) at 11am, offering locals a fresh dining option with a promise of community engagement and attention to local issues. The opening marks a departure from the usual breakfast service, with the restaurant opting to start later on its first day, running until 11 pm, before resuming its regular hours of 6 am to 11 pm thereafter.

A spokesperson for McDonald’s Milford Haven expressed enthusiasm for the launch, stating, “We are excited to be opening at 11am! We are open all the way through till 11pm and can’t wait to serve all of you throughout the day/week. We hope no matter what time of the day or night you visit us that you enjoy your first look around our new store.”

The opening day’s late start means that breakfast will not be available, a point the franchise was keen to highlight ahead of time. “Good Afternoon, Our opening hours will be 6am-11pm. But however, on opening day we will be opening at 11am so no breakfast,” the company announced, setting the stage for what is anticipated to be an enjoyable experience despite this minor setback.

In a move that underscores its commitment to becoming an integral part of the Milford Haven community, McDonald’s has announced collaborations with local law enforcement and the Port Authority to address anti-social behaviour and ensure efficient traffic management around the new location.

This partnership, The Herald was told, aims to ensure a safe and enjoyable environment for both patrons and the broader community.

The McDonald’s restaurant franchise encouraging residents to follow their social media pages for updates and to share news of the opening with friends and family.

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