Stained Glass artists Cariad Glass have seen a boost in online sales during lockdown after developing
a fun make at home glass mosaic kit to give crafty customers a creative fix.
The Llandysul business had received a micro loan from the Development Bank of Wales to support
their growth and give them working capital shortly before lockdown was announced.
Husband and wife team Justine and Chris Dodd use traditional methods and techniques to create
bespoke art and glass pieces, specialising in commission and restoration work. They also offer face-
to-face courses at their studio for those who wish to learn more about glass crafts.
Co-owner Justine said: “We realised fairly early on in to the lockdown that we’d need to move
production of our studio. We took home a bench and set up a studio in our log cabin summerhouse
at the bottom of our garden. We had a few commissions to work on, but needed to postpone all of
“Chris was working on a piece that had been pre-ordered for May. I filmed him working so that we
could share this with our customers, many of whom had booked courses with us. That had a good
response and it got us thinking about other things we may be able to offer our customers during
Keen to offer something to do at home for customers who were missing face-to-face courses, the
pair came up with idea of a small hanging glass mosaic panel that you can make at home. They built
a 20cm by 10cm ready-to-hang frame and cut and leaded glass pieces – the bit that cannot be safely
done in a domestic kitchen. The process of putting together a glass mosaic using domestic
equipment was filmed and they put the video on their Facebook page. They were soon inundated
with requests to buy the £25 kits.
“Our sales of smaller artisan pieces usually comes through galleries and exhibitions which are all on
hold at present. Our website shop, the Stained Glass Emporium has been invaluable – we’ve sold
nearly 200 of these kits since we made that post. There’s been a real appetite for them and people
have loved sharing pictures of their finished creations with us,” added Justine.
“They’ve been so popular that we’ve drafted in our daughter Hattie, who would have been sitting
her A Levels this summer, to take over the boxing and delivery part of the processes. It’s kept us
fresh and busy through the lockdown, keeping creative ideas going is so important for an artisan
businesses like ours. But it’s also been fantastic seeing our customers have fun and learn new
techniques. We love teaching glass making and glass arts and this is a way we’ve been able to carry
on this whilst our studio remains closed to customers.”
The family have recently moved production back from the garden summer house to their studio and
are looking at ways that they can safely re-open to the public when restrictions ease further.
They’ve been supported through lockdown by Development Bank of Wales Portfolio Executive
Donna Williams. She said: “It’s great to see how west Wales businesses are using their ingenuity and
grit to come up with new ways to keep their business going through these uncertain times. Justine,
Chris have been fantastic, offering a new product which has provided a valuable creative and mental
boost to customers.
“Faced with new restrictions and the need to keep their family safe, they moved their operation to
their own home at the peak of the pandemic. Thinking about the needs of their customers first,
many of whom have had face-to-face courses postponed, they developed a fun and flexible new
product. The ‘make your own glass mosaics’ have been selling like hot cakes and have opened up a
new way of doing business for this family team. We’ve been happy to support them and are excited
to see what the future holds as we slowly return to normal.”
Carmarthenshire hometown heroes & lockdown legends sought for 2020 National Lottery Awards
THE National Lottery is searching for your ‘hometown hero’ or ‘lockdown legend’ as part of the 2020 National Lottery Awards.
This year the annual search for the UK’s most popular National Lottery funded projects will, for the first time, honour individuals who have made an extraordinary impact in their community, especially those who have adapted during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
New figures reveal more than £3.2 million of National Lottery funding has been invested in good causes in Carmarthenshire in 2018/19 alone.
A total of 158 National Lottery grants were awarded in the region during the previous financial year, providing vital support to arts, sports, heritage and community projects.
From today, The National Lottery are calling for nominations of people who have done amazing things with the help of National Lottery funding and are an inspiration to us all.
Winners in each category will receive a £3,000 cash prize for their organisation and a coveted National Lottery Awards trophy.
Jonathan Tuchner from The National Lottery is encouraging the people of Carmarthenshire to make their nominations.
He said: “The National Lottery continues to have a positive impact on life across the UK. Thanks to National Lottery players thousands of projects are making an incredible difference to their local communities.
Now, more than ever, people have rallied together, and individuals are performing inspirational acts and extraordinary endeavors to help in cities, towns and villages up and down the country.
Thanks to National Lottery players, up to £600 million has been made available to support communities throughout the UK amid the coronavirus crisis. People have used National Lottery funding in amazing ways during these challenging times. We want to honour them as part of this year’s National Lottery Awards and recognise their selfless dedication and thank them for their fantastic work.”
Encompassing all aspects of National Lottery good causes funding, the 2020 National Lottery Awards are seeking to recognise outstanding individuals in the following sectors:
And there will be a special Young Hero Award for someone under the age of 18 who has gone that extra mile in their organisation. All nominees must work or act for a National Lottery funded organisation or have received National Lottery funding.
To make your nomination for this year’s National Lottery Awards, tweet @LottoGoodCauses with your suggestions or complete an entry form through our website www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards . Entries must be received by midnight on 19th August 2020.
Chancellors economic update includes VAT cut for hospitality sector, and customer discounts
The Chancellor had set out his coronavirus recovery package today.
Rishi Sunak set out the measures in his summer economic update in the House of Commons on Wednesday (Jun 8), as he faces pressure to assist those who are most vulnerable to the financial crisis.
The Chancellor said he will cut VAT from 20% to 5% for food if people eat out to help those businesses which he said had been hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
The chancellor announced discount to encourage people to eat out in August.
He says restaurants, pubs, bars and hotels as well as other attractions will be able to claim the money back within five days. It had been reported he was considering giving all UK adults a £500 voucher to spent with companies hit by coronavirus, but the Chancellor has decided not to go ahead with that proposal.
Instead Sunak announced a discount worth up to £10 per head for eating out in August. He said his final measure has never been tried in this country. It is an “eat out to help out scheme”, offering customers as discount worth up to £10 per head when they eat out from Monday to Wednesday in August.
Speaking in the Commons today, he said: “Our plan has clear goals, to protect, support and retain jobs.”
Regards furlough scheme, he said it must wind down, adding: “flexibly and gradually supporting people through to October” but that he is introducing a bonus for employers who bring staff back from furlough.
Employers who bring someone back from furlough and employ them through to January, paying them a minimum of £520 a month, will receive a £1,000 bonus.
He says that “in total we have provided £49bn to support public services since the pandemic began”.
He added: “No nationalist can ignore that this help has only been possible because we are a United Kingdom.”
Mr Sunak says the UK economy has already shrunk by 25% – the same amount it grew in the previous 18 years.
He also announced:
A £2bn kickstart scheme paying employers to take on unemployed 16 to 24 year olds for a minimum of 25 hours a week – he says the Treasury will pay those wages for six months plus a sum for overheads. He says there is no cap. This will apply in England and Wales.
VAT on food from restaurants, cafes, pubs and hotels will be cut until January 12 from 20% to 5%
Funding for apprenticeships and traineeships in England, there will be a separate announcement for Wales.
£1bn for the DWP to support millions of people back to work through Job Centres. A £2bn green homes grant in England to cover two thirds of the cost, up to £5,000, for energy efficient home improvements. Again the Welsh Government will have their own proposals on this given time.
A temporary cut to stamp duty in England and Northern Ireland.
Calls for Amman Valley rail line to be mothballed
CARMARTHENSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL today passed a motion tabled to investigate the opportunity to mothball the Amman Valley rail line until a Metro for the region can be established.
With the Amman Valley Railway line coal transportation coming to the end of its life, Carmarthenshire Council agreed there should be a feasibility study of the railway line, to see if we could do a modern environmentally-friendly green railway. The modern rail bus would connect the Amman Valley and the Gwendrarth Valley with Llanelli and Swansea.
This motion follows on from a motion tabled by Carmarthenshire Council nearly three years ago on the need for sustainable, environmentally-friendly and cheap public transport within Carmarthenshire, under the umbrella of a Swansea Bay Metro.
As part of the discussion, it was revealed that a feasibility study into the Swansea Bay Metro has now moved to Transport for Wales for competition after a delay in its competition.
Cllr Rob James, Leader of Carmarthenshire Labour, stated: “Like many communities in Carmarthenshire, residents in the Amman Valleys are unable to catch a bus a lot of time, when they do they realise the costs of ticket and it’s our town centres that are suffering as a result.
“There is a need arising with opencast mining ceasing in the near future to mothball the Amman Valley railway line until plans can be furthered on the Swansea Bay Metro proposal.
“We know from experience that attempting to bring lines back into use after years of neglect is extremely costly and as a result, makes infrastructure projects, such as this, less desirable for Governments.
“We cannot afford to sit on our hands and hope others will pick up the slack if we are to sort out public transport in Carmarthenshire.”
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