HAVING passed the halfway to Christmas mark, the Credit Unions of Wales are encouraging families to start saving now to put a stop to money worries during this year’s festive season. People in Wales are the second highest Christmas spenders in the UK, with the average Welsh household spending £596 on gifts each year. By setting aside £24 a week from this week on, families will be able to save their annual spend in advance of Christmas. This way they can avoid falling into debt and will only pay as much as they spend, rather than having to pay back interest on top of a loan to help them cover the cost. There are 21 credit unions in Wales and many of them offer special Christmas Saver accounts which ‘lock’ your monthly savings until November. This means you can only access your savings when it’s time for present shopping and won’t be tempted to spend them on something else before Christmas arrives. Several also offer incentives, such as a £10 bonus so people can start saving straight away or entering all account holders into a December prize draw. Many credit unions across Wales also offer low-interest Christmas loans which can be paid off within a year with small weekly payments. One example is Cardigan-based West Wales Credit Union which offers a £100 Christmas loan with weekly payments of £2.33 and a total repayment of £112.70. The Credit Unions of Wales have recently joined forces to participate in a Wales-wide marketing campaign to encourage more people to save, borrow or invest with their local credit union. Campaign spokesperson and General Manager of North Wales Credit Union, Barry Roberts, said: “Thousands of households across Wales struggle to balance their gift budgets with paying bills on time, but thankfully Christmas isn’t one of those unforeseen expenses such as a broken boiler or car repairs so you can prepare for it. “We’d always recommend saving in advance for such occasions so that you’ve already covered the cost before you incur it and by starting now you’ll be well ahead. “If you don’t manage to save everything you need in time, we also offer Christmas loans with much lower interest rates than payday lenders and we make sure you only borrow as much as you can afford. “With all of the sales on over the summer, it’s even worth thinking about taking out a loan now so that you can get your gifts at a better price and pay off the cost before Christmas arrives.” Credit unions are regulated by the same supervisory bodies as banks and customers’ savings are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, but credit unions offer additional member benefits such as no hidden admin costs, set-up fees or early repayment charges. Credit unions have no third party shareholders which means dividends are paid to savers instead, and they don’t rely on automated credit checks so all loan decisions are ultimately made by a real person. There are 21 Credit Unions across Wales, which means that everyone in Wales has a local credit union they can join. To find yours, visit www. creditunionsofwales.co.uk
New Quay dog charity supported by national company
A CHARITY based in New Quay, Ceredigion, that rescues and rehomes German shepherd dogs, is celebrating securing backing from the charitable arm of one of the UK’s biggest and most successful independent pet food companies.
The Burns Pet Nutrition Foundation, part of Burns Pet Nutrition, a family company in Wales that makes specialist foods designed for the health and well-being of pets, has unveiled three charities it will support in 2018.
One of these is the UK German Shepherd Rescue, a rescue charity made up of volunteers who donate their free time to helping rescue and rehoming unwanted German shepherd dogs and puppies throughout the UK.
Suzanne Syers, founder of UK German Shepherd Rescue, said she is looking forward to partnering with Burns on many levels.
Suzanne said: “UK German Shepherd Rescue are thrilled to be chosen as one of Burns’ Charities of the Year for 2018, and are grateful for the package of support from Burns which will help us immensely. We are looking forward to developing a strong partnership with everyone at Burns and also to benefit from the nutritional advice and support that they can bring to help improve the quality of diet (and overall wellbeing) of the dogs in our care.”
The other two charities backed by Burns in 2018 are: Forever Hounds Trust, which matches greyhounds and lurchers to happy homes; and Dogs for the Disabled, an Irish charity that trains assistance dogs to assist physically disabled children and adults to carry out a range of practical tasks.
The Burns Pet Nutrition Foundation has run the Burns’ Charity of the Year since 2015 in addition to other community schemes including Burns in the Community and Burns by Your Side, a scheme that helps school children improve their literacy and communication skills with the aid of trained volunteers and their reading dogs.
The chosen charities will receive free, healthy pet food which has been developed by Veterinary Surgeon, John Burns and has been feeding happy and healthy pets since 1993. The charities will also receive expert advice from Burns’ team of in-house nutritionists, joint promotional opportunities, and in some cases, financial donations. These new charities will replace the two charities it supported this year: the National Animal Welfare Trust (NAWT) and Appaws for Autism.
John Burns, Veterinary Surgeon and founder of Burns Pet Nutrition, said: “Myself and the Burns Pet Nutrition team are extremely passionate about supporting and giving back to the community in any way, shape or form possible – and the same goes for charities in need of the support they aren’t currently receiving.
“We are looking forward to working with the selected charities throughout 2018 and, hopefully, they will feel the benefit of the support Burns Pet Nutrition can offer. We’re proud to be entering our third year of running Burns’ Charities of the Year, and we look forward to the years to follow.”
New Sensory Room for Aberystwyth respite service
A FANTASTIC facility is ready to use in Aberystwyth which will aim to benefit the disabled within the community.
Bryn Siriol, a respite service for adults with learning disabilities located on Fifth Avenue in Penparcau, has now opened a new sensory room for those with learning disabilities throughout Ceredigion and is the result of a three-year project.
The Herald spoke to Karen Dagg, who had been the registered manager at Bryn Siriol for seven years.
Describing the sensory room and its benefits, Karen said: “The sensory room provides a ‘quiet’ room where the people we support can relax. The people using our service have varying support needs all have a learning disability and some have physical disabilities.
“The sensory room is now equipped with fibre optic lights, bubble/light machine, projector, glitter ball and a water bed. The room is accessible to people who are in wheelchairs.”
She described the journey that was taken to open the sensory room: “The sensory room has always been a dream for myself and the staff at Bryn Siriol. A few years ago we were fortunate enough to receive a bequest from Mr Williams, whose daughter Thelma used to use the respite service before moving into supported living in the Cardigan area.
“The money Mr Williams left to us was enough to purchase the sensory chalet, have it erected and for some of the equipment, however there was a considerable shortfall.
“The shortfall has been possible due to the hard work of the staff team at Bryn Siriol doing car boot sales with items generously donated by the residents of Ceredigion. Also some of the staff from CTLD (Local Authority) did a sponsored walk.”
“How important do you feel it is for Bryn Siriol to have such a facility?” we asked.
“The sensory room will be available to all people with a learning disability and this gives them the opportunity to enjoy the facilities as well as meeting other people from within the area. As far as I am aware there is not another facility like this within Ceredigion.”
Karen told us how successful the sensory room had been so far and how she thinks it will bring the community together.
“The sensory room has been used by people who access the respite service and there has been fantastic feedback not just in words but in the faces of the people with profound disabilities who are unable to communicate verbally.
“The sensory room has only been open since October 4 and we are anxiously waiting for people from outside of our service to enjoy the facility.”
Bryn Siriol will be holding a tea party on November 8 at the service. People are welcome to go along and join them for tea and cakes, as well as to look at the sensory facility.
Going for Growth event helps businesses reach new markets
FOOD CENTRE WALES recently hosted a very successful ‘Going for Growth’ event to help local food and drink businesses to focus their attention on developing and reaching new markets.
The event was well attended with over 70 attendees, mainly consisting of local food and drink producers as well as other business support agencies.
In extending a welcome to everyone to Horeb, Leader of Ceredigion County Council, Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn, said: “The food industry is one of the main industries in the County, with some 3,700 people working in it and, of course, based on our excellent agricultural products. Some of the most strategic and iconic companies of the food sector in Wales have sites in Ceredigion, for example, Rachel’s, Dunbia (formerly Oriel Jones), Tŷ Nant and Volac. Horeb Food Centre has served most of the Ceredigion food and drink companies since it opened in 1996. We are very pleased that the Centre has also successfully provided services to many other companies across Wales and beyond.”
Rachel Rowlands, founder of Rachel’s Organic, opened the event by sharing her experience of growing a food business. Welsh Government presented the latest industry research data to help businesses identify potential growth areas for their businesses. Ruth Davies from Cwm Farm, who shared her experience of product development, supplying Selfridges and exporting.
Arwyn Davies, new Business Development Manager for Food Centre Wales who will talk about how food and drink producers can benefit from the support offered by the Food Technologists and the HELIX project. The morning finished with Morrisons buyer, Matt Trigg, explaining what they look for in food products and how to get onto their supermarket shelves. He also met with many of the producers for private meetings in the afternoon.
Councillor Gareth Lloyd, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Economic and Community Development highlighted the important role of Food Centre Wales in the food and drink industry in Ceredigion, saying, “This event goes to show how valuable Food Centre Wales is for small and medium businesses. I’m certain that local food and drink businesses were inspired from the Going for Growth event where they were treated to experience, knowledge and advice. We’re proud of the high standard of our locally produced food and drink within Ceredigion and are enthusiastic about how we can show support in local businesses to flourish. I’m very much looking forward to the exiting developments in the food and drinks industry in the future.”
The delegates enjoyed a lunch of locally produced food incorporating many food producers who have received help from Food Centre Wales. The afternoon started with attendees participating in a tour of the Research and Development building, followed by 1-2-1 sessions with Food Technologists, Matt Trigg and other business support Agencies – Business Wales, Landsker, Finance Wales, Antur Teifi, Menter a Busnes and Lantra.
The event was organised in collaboration with Cywain and the LEADER groups – Arwain Sir Benfro (Pembrokeshire), RDP Sir Gâr (Carmarthenshire) and Cynnal y Cardi (Ceredigion).
The HELIX project is a Welsh Government initiative designed to help develop the food and drink industry in Wales take advantage of the much needed funding available to help their businesses grow in the marketplace. New and existing small and medium enterprise food and drink manufacturers are able to access bespoke assistance from food technologists that is specific and tailored to the individual business.
If you are a food or drink producer and would like to receive help from Food Centre Wales, phone 01559 362230 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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