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Why equality and diversity are important for the people of Pembrokeshire

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EQUALITY and diversity is key to a successful business, according to one of Wales’s leading tourist resorts as International Women’s Day was celebrated globally last week.

Bluestone National Park Resort, near Narberth, Pembrokeshire, employs more than 800 people at the 500 acre short break destination and believes the diversity of its employees is one of the reasons for its success.

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, Stuart Davies-Jaynes, Director of People Services, said offering a balance of roles, training, promotion opportunities and a work/life balance ensured the business could provide a family-friendly environment for employees.

“We’re lucky to have a talented group of people working for us. We understand that as a business we have to offer our employees opportunities and flexibility,” he said.

“Around 61% of our workforce are female and they make up a wide range of roles that are essential to the business, including guest services, sales, accounts, and at board level, as well areas such as housekeeping and food and beverage.

“It’s imperative that we offer a broad range of career opportunities that fit a wide range of lifestyles. Many of our roles allow employees to be able to work part-time or at times that suit their family needs.

“At the same time, we are able to provide training and development for career progressions in all our departments, or where employees might want a change in their employment direction.”

Stuart added that initiatives such as its future leaders programme and our Bluestone Academy providing a pipeline of talent through a range of accredited apprentice programmes, ensure those looking to accelerate their career opportunities have the opportunity to do so at Bluestone.

“In other areas, and in the current cost of living crisis, we are also providing schemes such as Wagestream where employees can access 50 per cent of their salary in increments before their pay day via an app.”

The new app is the latest in the roll-out of the company’s digital transformation programme.

The programme was launched following a staff survey last year of its employees to identify ways of improving work systems and processes.

These range of programmes and initiatives create a good working environment.

“We’re proud of what we’re doing for our employees and particularly in areas of equality and diversity in an area such as Pembrokeshire where the rural location can sometimes be a barrier to careers. It’s good to be able to mark and celebrate International Women’s Day with our team,” added Stuart.

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Business

Saundersfoot centre site redevelopment scheme withdrawn

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PLANS for the redevelopment of an ‘eyesore’ piece of land in the centre of Saundersfoot, which the local community council feared would “set a precedence for future overdevelopment,” have been withdrawn.

The proposals for the vacant brownfield site between the rear of the former Cambrian Hotel building and the rear of the town houses in Milford Terrace were to create 24 new homes and a 445 square foot commercial unit space fronting on to Milford Street.

Its new developers said it would ‘fill the void’ and ‘re-establish a strong streetscape’.

An application to Pembrokeshire Coast National Park planners, by Ventura Properties (Saundersfoot) said it would feature one, two, three and four-bed town houses and apartments.

The site, currently used for informal car parking, is a mix of gravel and tarmac finished land that includes a small access road to the rear of the Cambrian Hotel, which would be maintained the applicants have said.

The proposal sought to complete the mixed development of houses, apartments, commercial space and the redevelopment of the Cambrian Hotel which was granted permission in 2012.

Although the previous developer delivered the town houses and alterations to the Cambrian Hotel, the remainder of the approved development of 16 residential dwellings was not completed.

The previous developer has sold the site to the current applicants on that basis.

The developers have previously stated: “Approximately half of the site remains undeveloped, under-utilised and is a clear ‘gap’ that contributes negatively to the amenity of the local centre. The plot stands vacant (brownfield), previously used as the car park for the old Cambrian Hotel and remains somewhat of an eyesore.

“This proposal seeks to fill the void left along the southern edge of Milford Street. It proposes commercial units to the ground floor and apartments over on the prominent local centre facing street frontage.”

A mix of town houses and apartments was proposed to the heart of the site.

However, concerns were raised by Saundersfoot Community Council, which did not support the scheme.

Issues raised included the impact on the character of the village’s conservation area, road safety issues, and “even more commercial buildings being offered in a village where new business properties are empty or applications for the change of use are being made to this Planning Authority”.

It warned: “If this application were to be approved by the Planning Authority, the Saundersfoot Community Council are concerned that it would set a precedence for future overdevelopment, which does not preserve nor enhance the character or appearance of a historic village within a conservation area.

“Saundersfoot Community Council does not support this planning application and requests that the planning authority consider refusal of such.”

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Business

Former Pembroke Barclays to become shopfront and residential apartments

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Plans to convert a former Barclays Bank branch on Pembroke’s Main Street to retail and residential apartments have been given the go-ahead.

Mr Zouras, through agent RPC Design & Architecture Ltd, sought permission from Pembrokeshire County Council for a change of use and conversion of the former Grade-II-listed bank at 35 Main Street to retail on the ground floor and residential apartments at the rear ground, first and second floors.

The branch closed in July 2019, the same year the bank’s Narberth and Milford Haven branches closed.

A supporting heritage statement said: “The three-storey building is currently vacant and was a former bank on the ground floor. The first floor was former staff rooms and male/female toilets. The second floor was used as storage. There is an existing outdoor paved area and private, off-road car parking to the rear for four to six cars.  The building is Grade II listed; designated in 2005.”

CADW’s listing says: “…earlier C19 terraced house, front remodelled in 1925 for Barclays Bank to plans by J. H. Morgan of Carmarthen. The building was then called Bank House, but it is not known how long it had been a bank.”

An officer report says: “The ground floor shopfront is six bays wide divided by faceted pilasters of ashlar stone – a hint towards the art-deco style. Heavy fielded panel doors to the left-hand bay. Heavy classical stucco window surrounds to upper floors, the middle window has a pediment above – conventional Edwardian Bank detail, old fashioned for the 1920s.”

The listed building application was conditionally approved by county planners.

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Business

How Small Businesses Can Build Strong Teams

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In the moving world of business today, small businesses encounter obstacles to staying competitive. A vital factor contributing to their success is the ability to form teams. Small businesses can unleash their potential and achieve sustainable growth by building motivated teams. This article will explore strategies small businesses can use to establish teams, foster a collaborative work atmosphere, and deliver outstanding outcomes.

Setting Clear Expectations

Establishing expectations is crucial for developing a team. Small businesses should clearly communicate their objectives, values, and performance metrics to ensure everyone starts on the same page. By defining roles and responsibilities, employees align with common goals and feel empowered to perform efficiently. Transparent communication also sets forth guidelines on deliverables, timelines, and quality standards, promoting accountability across the team. Tips for team building can also be exchanged and implemented for a stronger team with everyone’s opinions and values in mind.

Encouraging Continuous Learning

In today’s changing business environment, small businesses must emphasize learning within their teams. Encouraging employees to acquire skills and broaden their knowledge benefits both individuals and the organization. Organize workshops or training sessions regularly to address industry trends or explore areas that could enhance productivity. Initiatives such as these not only lift employees’ spirits but also enhance productivity by providing the team with valuable knowledge and skills.

Promoting Transparent Communication

Effective communication is crucial for teamwork. Small businesses should aim for an environment where all team members feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas. By promoting open communication through team meetings and collaboration tools, businesses improve the flow of information within the organization.

Managers play a huge role in listening to team members’ opinions and concerns, which helps them feel valued and ultimately boosts job satisfaction. Encouraging interactions among colleagues fosters relationships, reduces stress, and promotes better collaboration.

Supporting Teamwork

In a market, collaboration among team members is essential for businesses aiming to grow. Encouraging functional collaboration can lead to innovative ideas and enhanced problem-solving abilities. Collaboration also creates a work environment where employees feel united and responsible for achieving shared goals.

Small business leaders should prioritize teamwork by organizing projects or team-building activities that promote trust and respect among colleagues. These activities could include brainstorming sessions, platforms for sharing knowledge, or participating in community service together. By fostering collaboration, small businesses are better prepared to tackle challenges as a group.

Recognizing and Appreciating Achievements

Acknowledging employees’ accomplishments boosts their dedication to the team and strengthens the connection between management and staff. Small businesses should implement a recognition program that highlights performance at both team levels. Publicly celebrating successes motivates employees and also encourages others to strive for greatness.

Offering Opportunities for Growth

Supporting development is the key to cultivating teams in small businesses. Providing growth opportunities like mentorship programs, skill enhancement workshops, or financial aid for education helps attract and retain talent. By investing in employee growth, businesses foster loyalty while grooming individuals to assume leadership roles in the future.

Inclusive Decision-Making Process

Small businesses can unlock the potential of their teams by involving all members in decision-making processes whenever possible. Encouraging inclusive decision-making empowers employees, giving them a sense of ownership over their work and fostering commitment to shared objectives. Embracing different perspectives enhances creativity and reduces biases, leading to well-informed decisions that benefit the organization.

Maximizing Employee Well-Being

Maintaining employee well-being is critical to building strong teams within small businesses. When employees feel supported and valued, their productivity and satisfaction levels significantly increase. Small businesses can prioritize employee well-being by implementing measures such as flexible work arrangements, promoting work-life balance, providing wellness programs, and fostering a positive work culture.

Flexible work arrangements allow employees to control their schedules, balancing personal responsibilities while meeting professional commitments. This flexibility can lead to higher job satisfaction and reduced stress levels among team members.

Closing Thoughts

Establishing teams is crucial for businesses seeking long-term success in a competitive landscape.By establishing guidelines encouraging education, nurturing open dialogue and teamwork, acknowledging accomplishments, offering avenues for development, and incorporating inclusive decision-making practices, companies can cultivate strong teams that excel at sparking creativity and attaining impressive outcomes. Robust teams not only assist enterprises in surmounting obstacles but also lay the groundwork for future expansion and success.

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