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Budgens store opens in Aberystwyth

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Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 10.58.22A NEW Budgens store in Aberystwyth had its official opening on Saturday (Jul 16), where customers came along to shop for their favourite products at the new addition to the town’s retail group. 

Walking through the new Budgens store in the Ystwyth Retail Park on Park Avenue feels refreshing. On the positive side, customers can expect a similar layout to the store with just as many products as its former Co-op.

From the dairy products, confectionery and magazine aisles at the front all the way to the bakery and frozen food section at the back of the store, customers can expect appealing products to suit their needs.

Customers can also expect friendly customer service and familiar staff members, as 920 Co-op staff members’ jobs were left unaffected by the new business agreement.

Long before the Co-op came along, many of us will remember the Somerfield chain, which was bought out in 2008 for £1.6 billion. In the latest rebrand, 36 Co-operative stores across the UK will now will be known as Budgens supermarkets.

2014 was the year that plans were announced to cut the network of shops by around 15% and in 2015, 91 Co-op stores were sold off, making a total of £175 million.

Co-op had two stores in Aberystwyth, with one being the new Budgens store in the Ystwyth Retail Park and the other in Penparcau, which was left unaffected by the changeover due to it not being a former Somerfield store.

Jacob, Team Leader at Aberystwyth’s Budgens stores, spoke to The Herald regarding the opening of the new store: “Tuesday was my first day at Budgens; I was with Co-op before that as a Team Leader and before that, I was a customer Team Member. I started at the bottom at Co-op and now I’m here on the Management team, so that’s my career with Co-op and Budgens.

“Budgens is a franchise, so we are actually owned by the food retailer group, which is a group specially created for all the purchases of the Somerfield stores. They own the ‘Happy Shopper’, brand which people might recognise from their local convenien ce stores and corner shops . T hat’s because they also own Booker .

“Budgens also concentrates on local produce so – not yet as we have just opened – anything we can get locally we aim to, from down the road.

“Yesterday, on the first day of opening, we had a lot of customers, especially in the morning. We opened quite late, at 9am, just so we could get our final bits ready. We had quite positive reviews – the customers liked it and loved the prices. They also loved the quality as well – we’re very pleased about that and the store looked great.”

Jacob added: “We’ve kept things that worked and what people liked in their old Co-ops, such as the frozen meal deal, roughly the same layout . We’ve kept the same quality of prices and we’ve kept all of our local suppliers, such as the bread and the bakery. A lot of people liked the bakery because it is a Welsh known brand , which is why we have kept that.

“The layout hasn’t changed very much at all from the Co-op . I think the changes have been good , so expect the same shop but a different brand. People can expect the same types of products with all of the same values.

“We are and will be continuing to adapt, and we have a suggestions book at the front of the store for customers to make suggestions for products that they want us to stock and, with regards to the local products, we want to get in as many local products as possible. We haven’t got anything currently as we have just opened, so our range isn’t very demographic, but we’re hoping to change that as we get more and more suppliers, and we already have many ideas -so, time will tell.

“Budgens had a little over 100 stores , but with the purchases of Somerfield stores, it now has 30 stores plus 100 sites. The nearest one to Aberystwyth is Cardigan, which was a Co-op as well and a former Somerfield, closing on the same day as us and opening on the same day as us.

“The company that owns us have really invested in us – they’ve really bought into it . T hey’re very engaged in wanting to make it work and they are very keen to hear what people want and what people think. It’s a very good thing when a company actually cares about the people that shop here. “

Aberystwyth’s Budgens store are encouraging local farmers and local producers in the area to get in touch with them regarding selling their products.

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A brand new Welsh language ukulele orchestra

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CAN you play the ukulele and would like to join a ukulele orchestra? Or would you like to learn a new skill and to socialise in a Welsh-speaking environment? Why not join Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl?

On Monday, October 15, Cered: Menter Iaith Ceredigion, Aberystwyth Arts Centre and Learn Welsh will launch Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl which is a brand new, Welsh language ukulele orchestra in Aberystwyth for free, for those aged 16+.

Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl will practice weekly between 6pm and 7:30pm every Monday night during the school term and practices will take place at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre. There is no need for any experience or ability on the ukulele and there will be instruments available to borrow so that you can have a taste before buying your own ukulele.

Welsh will be the main language of Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl but there is a warm welcome to everyone whatever your level of proficiency in Welsh. Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl is supported by Learn Welsh as a great activity for learners to practice their Welsh outside the classroom in a fun and new way.

Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl’s conductor will be Steffan Rees who has held a number of Iwcs a Hwyl workshops over the last year as Cered’s Community Development Officer. Steffan is also a musician who composes and performs as “Bwca” and he has been playing the ukulele for years.

Steffan said, “I have really wanted to start a Welsh ukulele orchestra in Ceredigion for a while having seen the successes and popularity of those in Cardiff and South East Wales. The ukulele is an instrument that excites people of all ages and with some patience and perseverance, it is an easy enough instrument to master. I’m looking forward to developing a repertoire with the orchestra and play a few gigs; the National Eisteddfod in Tregaron in 2020 perhaps!”

Numbers for the first term of the orchestra are limited so contact the Arts Centre Box Office on 01970 632 232 to book your place in Cerddorfa Iwcs a Hwyl.

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Hanes Llambed meeting held

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THE FIRST meeting of Hanes Llambed of the 2018/19 year was held in Lampeter’s Trinity Saint David’s Old Hall this week.

There was a good attendance as Cwrtnewydd resident Simon Evans gave the first of what will eventually be two talks about his home parish of Llanwenog.

Mr Evans spoke of how the parish was defined by the Afon Cledlyn and its tributaries, describing the region’s history from the Stone Age to the present day. The talk spoke of the several hill forts of the area, as well as Llanwenog church, founded around 500 AD, before it was built in its current form in the 14th century.

The Battle of Llanwenog in 981 AD between the Welsh and invading Danes was detailed, before the speaker went on to describe the Puritan struggle and the Civil War.

The talk then went on to the establishment of private academies by nonconformist ministers from 1750 onwards, and the founding of Unitarian chapels in the early 19th century.

The terrible agricultural situation of the 1840s was described, followed by the bad harvests, which led directly to the Rebecca Riots and emigration to the USA and elsewhere in Britain.

The next meeting of Hanes Llambed will take place in October when the subject will be the Cardiganshire War Tribunals of the First World War.

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Former AM charged with child porn offences

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SIMON THOMAS, the former Plaid Cymru AM for Mid & West Wales has been charged with three offences of making indecent images of children.

Mr Thomas, aged 54, was charged with the offences earlier today (Sept 18) at Aberystwyth Police Station.

He has been bailed to appear at Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, October 3.

At the time of his arrest, Mr Thomas was his Party’s spokesperson on Rural Affairs and Energy policy and had recently taken up a role which would have seen him perform a significant role in Plaid Cymru’s future campaigns.

His arrest in July was a shock both to his political allies and those in other parties in the Assembly.

Following his arrest, Mr Thomas resigned immediately as an Assembly Member and from Plaid Cymru. He was replaced as regional AM by Helen Mary Jones.

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