Robert Lloyd


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Father Christmas is making a welcome return to Llanelli Rotary Club's Grotto

Father Christmas is making a welcome return to Llanelli Rotary Club's Grotto this weekend.

The grotto will be based at Llanelli Indoor Market for the next two Saturdays.
It will then move to the Tesco superstore in Llanelli for the countdown to Christmas (times and details in the poster above).
Last year, the Rotary Club Grotto raised more than £3000 for local charities when it was based at the old BHS store in Trostre.

'Santa' is flying down from the North Pole to sit in the special Rotary Grotto which has been provided by Llanelli firm Sheds and Chalets.

Father Christmas is being accompanied by some specially-dressed Rotary Club 'elves'.
Rotarian Alison Evans said that last year's Grotto was such a hit with children that opening hours have been extended this year.
Alison said: "Santa is full of the joy of Christmas and most of the young visitors who call in to see him at the Grotto are delighted with the experience.
"This will be the third year running Llanelli Rotary Club has played host to Father Christmas.We are, of course, grateful to Llanelli Market, Tesco, Llanelli, Sheds and Chalets and everyone else who has helped with the Grotto.

Alison, Junior Vice President of Llanelli Rotary Club, added: " We are seeking to raise money for local charities. For the last two years, we have been located in BHS Llanelli, but sadly not this year. 

"We have struggled to find a nice new warm home, but we are pleased to say we are in the Indoor Market in Llanelli on Saturday 19th and 27th November, and then we are moving down to Tesco in Trostre for Saturday 3rd, 10th and 17th December, plus every day from Sunday 18th to Friday 23rd. We will be there from 10.00 until 16.00 each day, and the entrance fee is £3 per child.

"Last year, we raised a spectacular £3,000 and it was shared between Bobath, Debra, Llanelli Centre for the Deaf and Hands for Alan.

"This year we are raising money for Ty Hafan, Wales Air Ambulance, Action for Children and Dementia Friends.

"We are hoping to do as well as last year and, as well as the grotto, we will be doing some collections to boost the funds for these well deserving causes."
Some photos from previous years at the Llanelli Rotary Club Grotto.

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The road back to a parents house is the central journey Welsh-born author Carol Lee portrays in Out of Winter, following news of her fathers sudden illness.
Over the next two and a half years, the M4 becomes familiar territory as she travels from her London flat to Carmarthenshire, where her English father and Welsh mother have settled in their retirement.
The experience of long-distance care is shared by many and, in this candid portrayal of family life, Carol writes of the conflicting emotions of being an adult child.
Long journeys to visit the village near Llanelli where she was born find her a mass of conflicting emotions, guilt and anger among them.
Part of her conflict is mirrored by her parents difficult marriage, which both she and her brother retreated from.
In returning to care for her mother and father, she feels stretched along the motorway, as if I had a Welsh heart and an English head. Always a piece of me left behind.
But, in Out of Winter, Carol re-examines her relationship with her parents as they reach the end of their lives.
Humbled by their courage and moved by their plight, she finds a fierce and unexpected love for them both, uncomplicated by the past.
Her journeys, her love of landscape, and the fact that, after her mother's death, Carol returns to Wales in order to feel alive again, inform this account of one familys brilliant second chance.
* Out of Winter is published by Hodder and Stoughton (February 27) in hardback and eBook, 17.99.

Carol Lee is the author of eight previous books, including To Die For, a Top 10 bestseller, and Crooked Angels.
Born in Trimsaran, Carol spent much of her childhood in East Africa before returning to the UK to begin an early career in journalism on the South Wales Echo in Cardiff.
Moving to work in national newspapers, radio and television, she has been a reporter for the BBC, and a contributor to The Observer, The Guardian, The Independent, The Sunday Times and The Evening Standard.
Her play, Feet First, was performed at the King's Head Theatre, Islington, not far from her London home.

'A beautifully-written book . . . . essential reading' - John Humphrys

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Leading Welsh brewer Evan-Evans has roundly condemned the national brewers for the new price increases that are planned for January 2014.
With price increases across the board of over 6p per pint, which translates to 20p at the bar, this is a price increase too far.
Simon Buckley, Chief Executive of Evan-Evans said:
"This year the government gave way and supported the industry with the removal of the duty escalator and a duty reduction - the first time for 57 years.
"Now the national brewers, Coors and the other top four, are pushing their prices up in the trade, and as a result are sending our on trade customers to the supermarkets.
"When are they going to get the message that the consumer cannot and will not pay an additional 20p per pint?
"The consumer is already spending more and more in the supermarkets. Despite the best efforts by companies like mine to drive the pub marketplace and to create customer value, the big brewers have lost touch and have forgotten what their customers can and will pay.
"The national brewers have betrayed the spirit of the Chancellor's Budget generosity and the removal of the much hated duty escalator. This price increase will drive customers out of our pubs to the fireside comfort of their homes.
"What is the justification for the price increase, inflation has dropped, world barley prices have dropped, diesel has been stable for a year. It can only be the 'top heavy' salary bills of the large corporations. Every other company in the UK has had to increase efficiency and to absorb inflationary price pressures.
"Cask ale from the small brewers now represents the very best value in the drinks sector, and it is time for us to break away from the national lager brands and offer good value alternatives.
"This price increase will badly affect the rural pub economy.
"The national brewers have lost the plot."

Evan-Evans brewery website -
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Llandeilo businessman Simon Buckley has published innovative plans to renovate Llandeilo's historic Market Hall.
The chief executive of the Evan-Evans brewery has sent his draft document to Carmarthenshire Council.
Here is what the document says -

Llandeilo Land
The Old Market Hall
Expression of Interest
The Old Market hall is an important historic building in the centre of Llandeilo.
The building is run down and dilapidated, and represents a major challenge for the development of a commercial hub that will serve as the launchpad for the creation of jobs, and the development of ancillary internet-based businesses.
This plan sets out the proposal for a novel and dynamic approach to bringing this building back to life and creating the necessary portal for jobs and wealth creation.
This is a business opportunity not for private developers but for a community-based project, that will be self-financing once built and will offer a template for other communities across Wales to follow.
The plan is written with the full understanding that the landowner has no capital to invest, and that the extent of the project is beyond the experience and reach of most if not all of the community schemes that have over time been considered for this project.
The project promoters will recruit a strong professional team that will create a new commercially-led community asset that will be the first step of the regeneration of elements of Llandeilo, and will drive new job opportunities, and create increased footfall for the benefit of the wider retail environment.
This is no airy-fairy scheme, but a plan that has vision for the creation of jobs for the future of Llandeilo, its young professional class, and an opportunity to show how regeneration can be started and delivered in an austere market place.
The Project
The Old Market hall has the opportunity to act as an important kick start project to bring investment to the town.
The building represents a major piece of real estate that has the ability of being developed for many varied and different uses. However, the long term viability of the site dictates that the development has to be based, on creating long term viable business opportunities that are sustainable. These business opportunities will give the young of Llandeilo the opportunity to work in the town, and not to have to commute to other service centres such as Swansea.
Sustainability is the key to the successful development of this site.
Initial surveys of the building show acute degradation of the fabric of the building with advanced wet, dry, rot and masonry failure. There are environmental issues including asbestos, a possibility of animal-based contamination and wider development issues.
Initial surveys have indicated that to get the site ready to fit out will cost in excess of 500,000, and that a fully finished product will sit at the top end of a budget range of 1.5 million.
This, therefore, puts this project beyond the reach of most private community backed projects, and private capital in the current market is not being invested in high risk projects.
Proposed Development
The development will be a mixed use development. The objective is to create a three part development that encompasses the ground floor, a new mezzanine first floor, and access to roof space as an outside elevated garden space.
The site will be developed to utilise many of the existing buildings but also to maximise space for outside activities.
The Market Hall Building will be developed to create a new landmark development. It has The Llandeilo factor and the ability to attract quality tenants.
The development will create a new Regus style serviced office environment with a mixed client base target market. The office space will be designed to attract small to medium sized professional service and start-up business tenants.
In addition, part of the office development will be designed to promote Llandeilo as an internet hub for growth business opportunities.
The project will be designed to have a Covent Garden type internal open space that will be a light well bringing light and dimension to the inner part of the building. This will be available for music festivals an entertainment, including pop up cinema, and will integrate with the proposed A3 use, which will form part of the development.
It is proposed to create a historic landmark brewery visitor centre that will act as anchor tenant to the project.
The proposal will be to create a 365-day tourist attraction and education centre that will promote the rich brewing history of the county and the modern day success that is Evan-Evans, Waless leading specialist brewer.
In 2017, that company will celebrate a quarter of a millennium of brewing history. This attraction has already attracted significant interest from national coach companies that will create between 35-50,000 visitors per annum.
This will then tie back into the third part of the development that will incorporate the development of a farm shop concept, that will promote food produce grown and reared in the Tywi Valley, and then will tie into the brewery shop, and food and drink internet hub. This unit of the development will be utilised to drive artisan skills through enterprise schemes and co-op style profit sharing with producers. This will be hard-nosed commercial, but will offer high profile opportunities for the development of unique marketing opportunities for farm produce via Internet and trade sales.
In addition to the office suite and the food led aspects of the development, the development will be designed to have an integrated weekly weekend market, based on the Borough Market model where stall holder come and populate the stall for weekends only. The stalls will populate the external curtilage of the property, and create opportunities for people to showcase their local produce. Initially this will not drive revenue but once established stall space will become premium, and limited, and thereby create significant new footfall and to bring new customers to the town.
Within the proposed development will be the development of a new tourist Information hub, that will drive and promote Tywi Valley tourism opportunities, and through a new marketing manager drive and co-ordinate the towns festivals, to maximise revenue, and to make sure that there is a clean route to market.
Key to the success of this project is the development of a well thought through parking plan. This involves the development of new parking zones, the long term strategy for the ambulance and fire station with the creation of apportioned parking on the north western approaches to the town.

This project is likely (with the parking areas being developed on the ground to the south west of the Market Hall) to come in between 1.5 to 1.75 m.
To be able to fund this project and to allow it to be developed to the advantage of the community, it needs to be developed through a unique vehicle, that allows people to think outside the box, and that is essentially a charity, that will allow that charity to access cash from the Heritage Enterprise Scheme.
The proposal is to establish a new vehicle to be known as Llandeilo Land.
Llandeilo Land will be established to take ownership and to develop the market hall, to a specified plan that incorporates the brief proposals as set out above.
Llandeilo Land will then lease the finished asset to a trading company that will drive the commerciality of the property ownership, and drive the rental income to promote the concepts encompassed by the charity, and also to make sure that there are no conflicts between potential anchor tenants and trustees.
The revenues will then be ploughed back into the business for future projects, and driving the longevity of the market hall.
Once Llandeilo Land is formed, the charity will make contact and access with Heritage Enterprise and other grant bodies to put together a detailed financial plan.
The proposal to establish Llandeilo Land as a suitable vehicle is a costly start up and therefore there needs to be some degree of commitment from the vendors to a period of exclusivity for final plans and costs to be put together for the raising of cash.
The board of Llandeilo Land, who will legally be Trustees, who will be made up of professional advisors, and lay people from the community of Llandeilo.
The body will include the County Councillor and the Town Council mayor. But there will be no massive committee as this will prevent progress.
The initial chairman will be Simon Buckley who will put together a team of advisors, who will each be an expert in their relative fields.
The provisional board has already met, and includes at this very early stage, members from Menter Bro Dinefwr, and other business people who are committed to working up a development plan.
The company has appointed DTZ to give property advice, as to the viability of the proposal. Deloittes are being asked to advise on the set up of the charity and to provide support for a grant application.

Land Value
The Old Market Hall has no value. The building in its current state is a liability, and without good tenants, and long term vision the ability to develop the goodwill does not exist.
The piece of land that is offered with the Market Hall has some value, but that is limited to the fact that it will have to be used to support the development of the Market Hall, and to provide car parking. The land value therefore is limited.

What do we want?
1. An exclusivity to finalise the proposal, and to involve planners, and CADW in the preparation of a detailed business plan. This would be for 12 months.
2. 20,000, or a figure to be agreed following tender for a detailed architects plan to support the business plan with a fully costed option for the development of the site. This will revert to the council if the project does not proceed.
3. The Market Hall gifted to Llandeilo Land with a conditional contract that forfeits if development cannot proceed, which includes the side land, with an apportioned cost deferred for a period of time to be agreed.
4. Council support to help market the project once the project is nearing completion.

Is this a fully funded done deal?
Clearly not.
Is this the starting point for a well thought through project that will act as a trigger for the redevelopment of the town?
Is there a will to drive this project for the growth of Llandeilo?

Can it work and relieve the county of an environmental problem?
Without doubt.
We at Llandeilo Land hope that this expression of interest is able to secure further discussions and a commitment to move the project forward.

Simon Buckley on behalf ofLlandeilo Land - December 2013.
Link to Carmarthen Journal story -
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Jenkins Bakery opens new shop in Porthcawl

By Robert Lloyd, 2014-01-08

One of the most well -established and best-known businesses in South Wales has opened a new shop in the popular seaside resort of Porthcawl in the County Borough of Bridgend.
The new Jenkins Bakery shop in John Street is the 28th in a chain of retail outlets covering a sizeable area in South Wales, from Bridgend in the east to Carmarthen in the west and north to Ystradgynlais in Powys.
This is the third new shop we have opened in the last 12 months, Jenkins Bakery Operations Director Russell Jenkins proudly declared today.
We are well known for having our roots as a family firm in Llanelli, but we will continue to expand our range of shops as and when we see fit.
The John Street shop in Porthcawl is managed by Zoe Rees and is in a prime town centre location in the semi-pedestrianised precinct with plenty of car parking available nearby.
Its an exciting new location for all of us at Jenkins Bakery and we are looking forward to making friends with all our new customers in Porthcawl.
The last 12 months has seen the Jenkins Bakery open a new flagship coffee shop in the prestigious new East Gate development in Llanelli and a purpose-built new outlet in Portmead in Swansea.
David Jenkins, Commercial Director at the Llanelli-based business, said: We are delighted to be expanding once again.
As a third-generation family business, we care passionately about what we do. We pride ourselves on being in touch with our customers and it is a hugely exciting time for us to be opening this new venture in Porthcawl.
Our company history dates back to 1921, but we dont plan on resting on our laurels. We have a proud tradition and reputation as a company, but we always have one eye on the future and this new shop represents an investment in the future.
We are delighted to be bringing our quality products to a new range of customers in Porthcawl.

Jenkins Bakery
The Jenkins bakery employs 300 people, full and part-time, across 28 different stores in South Wales.
The company has the Gold Standard Welsh Food Hygiene Award and the Investors in People award.
The business employs 70 people at its Trostre HQ, while the Jenkins shop network stretches from Carmarthen to Bridgend. There are 14 shops in Carmarthenshire and even one as far afield as Powys.
The new shop is at 35John Street, Porthcawl, CF36 3AP, telephone 01656 786531.

Facebook -
Twitter - @JenkinsBakery

Top -
Jenkins Bakery Porthcawl shop manager Zoe Rees, behind the counter, with Audrey Ellis, assistant manager, left, and Claire Conway, shop assistant, right.
Above -
Jenkins Bakery Porthcawl shop manager Zoe Rees outside the front of the new John Street shop.
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Some of Wales most successful entrepreneurs have been appointed to the Entrepreneurship Panel for Wales.
They include James Taylor of SuperStars, Hayley Parsons founder and CEO of GoCompare, academics Professor Paul Hannon and Sue Poole and self-made multi-millionaire Kevin Green.
The new Panel has been set up to provide the Welsh Government with strategic guidance and expertise on the development and delivery of the entrepreneurship agenda in Wales.

Economy Minister Edwina Hart (pictured above) who set up the Panel said: I am delighted that so many talented individuals have agreed to serve on the Panel. Between them they have an extensive range of entrepreneurial experiences and their expertise and knowledge will be invaluable in providing advice on shaping strategy and policy making.
We want to instil a culture of entrepreneurship in Wales and create a can do attitude throughout society for the ultimate benefit of the economy. Wales has a strong track record of encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation which forms part of the school curriculum and taught from primary school through to higher and further education.
The Panel will monitor the progress of how we deliver these entrepreneurship programmes including the YES Action Plan.
The Panel will meet four times a year with their first meeting scheduled for February 5th.

Entrepreneurship Panel members -
James Taylor
James came to Wales to attend university and loved Cardiff so much he decided to stay. He set up his business after graduating with a small personal investment and government support and has achieved national success in a short space of time. James set up SuperStars in 2005 with the simple objective of spreading the benefits and pleasures of sport to as many people as possible'. SuperStars is now a thriving, dynamic and award winning young company that supplies specialist instructors to Primary Schools in the fields of sport, drama, art, design and music. It also runs after schools clubs and holiday courses. Super Stars employs 110 permanent staff and 40 temporary staff and works with over 100 schools and 25,000 children a week.
James is a passionate and dynamic young entrepreneur who has won numerous entrepreneurship awards and is a high profile figure across the business community in Wales. He is a motivated self-starter who is committed to developing his business and displays excellent leadership qualities. He is currently a Welsh Government Role Model and Business Entrepreneurship Champion and was also a member of the former YES Panel.

Hayley Parsons OBE
Hayley is the Founder and CEO of, a leading financial services price comparison website. The business was founded in 2006 and was the first comparison site to display product features rather than purely price listings.
The business headquarters are in Newport and currently employ around 150 people. In December 2012 was awarded the prestigious Investors in People (IIP) 'Gold' award.
Hayley was the winner of the Woman in Business Award 2009 (Chamber of Commerce Business Awards), the Welsh Woman in Innovation Award 2008 and in January 2012 she was awarded an OBE for services to the economy.

Professor Paul Hannon
Paul is the Director of LEAD Wales and Director of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership at Swansea University.
Paul is a graduate entrepreneur and has helped shape enterprise and entrepreneurship education, support and development in the UK and overseas during the past 35 years.
He is a successful creator and innovator of local support initiatives for enterprise and entrepreneurship stimulation in the private and public sectors; he has won accolades for his innovative approaches to enterprise and entrepreneurship curricula design and delivery in higher education; and he is also an experienced entrepreneur with 10 years as the co-owner/director of a small growing firm in the food industry.
Up to the end of March 2013 Paul was Chief Executive at the UK's National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education (formerly NCGE) that supports long-term cultural change in UK universities and colleges. Paul was a member of the former Youth Entrepreneurship Strategy (YES) Panel.

Sue Poole
Sue is the South West Wales Regional Entrepreneurship Hub lead based at Gower College Swansea. In 2012 Sue won a national Enterprise Education award for her work inspiring an entrepreneurial spirit in young people. Sue was also honoured at the National Enterprise Educator Awards ceremony at Coventry Cathedral, an event organised by Enterprise Educators UK (EEUK) and the National Council for Entrepreneurship in Education (NCEE).
Over the past five years, Sue has worked to develop entrepreneurship among students in the Swansea Bay area, from primary school pupils to college and university students. Last year alone, more than 800 young people were involved in the Enterprise Primary programme that she coordinates from the college.
In addition, Sue was a key player in the setting up the Young Chamber of Commerce, working in partnership with the West Wales Chamber of Commerce. This enabled students to engage with local business leaders and develop networks for their future careers.
Sue is the driving force behind the Entrepreneurship Academy Wales, which is based at the Dylan Thomas centre building in Swansea.

Kevin Green
Kevin Green is a self-made multi-millionaire social entrepreneur and wealth coach. He is one of the UK's largest residential property landlords and a multi-business owner. Homeless in 1984, he turned his life around and bought his first house in late 2000. The rest is history.
He has a wealth of experience in the property investment world and heads a number of successful companies and other non-property related businesses. He is a business coach under his own brand of Kevin Green Wealth (KGW). He has made numerous TV appearances and is in demand internationally as a public speaker.
Kevin loves to educate, motivate and inspire others. He helped launched the new Entrepreneurship Academy Wales for the business leaders of the future.
Kevin, 50, is an ambassador for the Make a Wish foundation, a charity which grants magical wishes to children and young people living with a life-threatening condition.
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Latest news from the Jazz in the Bar team at Brecon -

Welcome to 2014 and jazz delights in our lovely Brecon Jazz Bar at Theatr Brycheiniog!
Two weeks into the new year, and our monthly jazz club gig is:-
Tuesday 14 January : Will Barnes Trio
Will Barnes:guitar, Ian Cooper:double bass, Phill Redfox O'Sullivan:Drums
Swinging sounds, standards, some Latin, Brecon hot club....
Will is a wonderful jazz talent, here with a great, new year lineup.
Jazz Buffet: yes! At the Lansdowne Hotel prior to the performance.
Food from 6.45 pm for one hour, then hot foot over to Theatr. 5 pp
Please email me to book, or ring hotel if on the day.
You are always welcome and we know sometimes not able to plan ahead - so just come!
If you didn't see or get a copy of Gena Davies' Book, The Brecon Jazz Story in Photographs or receive one as a Christmas present, it is still available and very interesting too.
Email David
or you can order at the HOURS Bookshop.
See you on 14th -
Lynne, Roger, David, Rosie, Barrie, Ian & co
Brecon Jazz Club
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All set for big brass date at Burry Port

By Robert Lloyd, 2014-01-08

Burry Port Town Band are gearing up for their third West Wales Solo and Ensemble Day on Saturday 25th January in the Memorial Hall, Burry Port starting at around 10am

This is an important event for the band and the town as it offers an opportunity for budding brass players (of all ages!) from South Wales the chance to perform.
There is some excitement about the event already building in bandrooms across South Wales, with Youth Bands from Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, Swansea and the Valleys regions wanting to attend and already busy practicing their performances.
The band are looking forward to entries in a variety of classes for solos, duets, trios, small and large ensembles and finally full Youth bands.
The organisers have engaged some talented local adjudicators for this event and believe it will be an ideal opportunity for youth bands, players and ensembles the chance to show their talents to a wider audience.
It's not too late to enter!
Entries should be in by January 11th, so please think about coming along, the more the merrier!
If you wanted to take a look at the entry details they are all available on the band's website - on the Music Festival page.
The ethos of the day is to allow budding and developing brass players of all ages the opportunity to demonstrate their talent in front of an appreciative audience, so there are guidelines, no rules, no timing of performances, but leave it to each performer to manage their performance time.
Graham Howe, the Band's Chairman, said: "It was such an enjoyable event last year and the adjudicators really bought into the ethos of the day, where we're looking to give the young brass players a stage and an appreciative audience to perform to."
The town and the band looks forward to welcoming performers, supporters and teachers to the event on Saturday 25th January in the Memorial Hall, Burry Port.
If you can't make it on the day itself, you can follow on Twitter using #wwsed
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