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Family business Cariad Glass offer lockdown creativity with Make at Home Mosaic kit

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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
our classes.”

“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
lockdown.”

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.”

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Business

Ascona Group announces new Car and Truck wash facilities

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Charlie's Truck Wash

ASCONA GROUP, one of the UK’s fastest-growing forecourt operators, is pleased to announce two new vehicle washing partnerships as part of improvements to its unique roadside retail proposition across its forecourt estate.

As part of a new partnership with the American based PDQ Manufacturing, a leader for in-bay automatic vehicle washing facilities, Ascona Group will be the first in the UK to install the ‘Laserwash 360 Plus’, a touchless car wash system for its customers.

The partnership will initially expand the wash options at the Hinton Service Station, with a view to roll out the system to other sites under the Ascona Group’s brand, ‘Charlie’s Express Car Wash’ later this year. The partnership is a significant investment for Ascona and demonstrates its commitment to ever improving the experience for customers.

Ascona Group is also delighted to announce a strategic partnership with WashTec UK that will see Ascona introduce a ‘First of its Kind’ truck washing facility at the Tenby Road site on the A40 Eastbound in Carmarthenshire, which offers the very best technology available to HGV drivers.

The truck wash employs a fully ‘closed loop’ total water recycling system, the first of its kind in Wales, which recovers all water used within the wash process, filtering it for reuse with little or no water entering the mains drainage system. This system ensures Ascona not only has the best commercial wash in South Wales, but also offers customers one of the more environmentally friendly approaches in operation.

Commenting on the announcement, CEO Darren Briggs said: “From the very beginning, we knew that our sites must present our customers with a unique and compelling offer which is why we are constantly seeking new and innovative ways to improve our roadside retail facilities.

“These two new partnerships further demonstrate our focus on creating industry-leading propositions and we are really excited to be working with PDQ Manufacturing USA and WashTec UK. Together, we are keen to continue to build on the success of these new operations and we are actively reviewing multiple opportunities across the Ascona portfolio to roll out more units such as these.”

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Community

Nearly £50,000 of National Lottery funding for community groups in Carmarthenshire

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FIVE local community organisations across Carmarthenshire are celebrating after being awarded a share of £49,575 of funding from The National Lottery Community Fund over the past month.

One successful project was MolTân Makers who will use their £9,820 grant to provide metal working workshops for people wishing to improve their mental health and well-being. The group will reach out to mental health groups and the wider community and also allow people to reconnect with the community following the pandemic.

One participant with MolTân Makers explained, “ The course was professionally run by four hard-working people who helped us with one to one tuition when needed. They were so welcoming and adaptable to individual needs and allowed me to attend the course at different hours due to health reasons.

“They were great company and created an interesting and positive atmosphere to help people with mental and physical health problems feel included and understood and we all took home what we made in the course.”

The Hangout received £10,000 and will help young people improve their mental health and wellbeing through structured outdoor activity programmes. The project will build on a previous pilot project that led to more young people becoming re-engaged in school following the pandemic and continuing to volunteer with the group after the initial sessions finished.

The Alternative Learning Company in Llanelli were awarded £9,955 and will recycle plastic bottles to build full size greenhouses. They will propagate plants for growing schemes in local schools and communities. The project will reduce the levels of plastic sent to landfill or polluting open spaces, and give young people an understanding of the impact of climate change.

Newcastle Emlyn Town Council will build an outdoor structure in collaboration with the community, to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s Jubilee. This £10,000 grant will fund building and design materials, and a water harvesting kit.

Messy Projects will use their £9,800 grant to run the activities and events they missed due to the pandemic. Activities will include celebrating the Queens platinum jubilee, a BBQ, and a Bonfire party.

John Rose, Wales Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, said “These groups play a vital role in supporting their communities and these grants will allow them to continue being there for people in future. 

 ”National Lottery players raise more than £30 million each week for good causes across the UK and the projects funded over the past month show the crucial difference players make through their tickets. I look forward to following all of their progress.”  

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Family of power station worker calls on former colleagues to help with asbestos claim

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THE WIFE of a Carmarthenshire man, who was just 66 when he died of an asbestos-related cancer, is calling on colleagues who worked with him in the 1970s to help understand where and how he contracted the disease.

Peter Colton, from Llanelli, died in July 2021 after being diagnosed with the asbestos-related disease, mesothelioma.

He worked as a conveyor and weighbridge operator for the CEGB at Carmarthen Bay Power Station. During his time at the power station, his duties included offloading coal wagons and conveying coal to the boilers.

It is possible that Mr Colton was exposed to asbestos during those years and now his family has sought the help of local asbestos specialists J.M Parsons, to investigate a claim for compensation.

Ann Colton, Mr Colton’s wife, wants answers. She said: “Peter was diagnosed with mesothelioma and died just six weeks later. He had been suffering from shortness of breath and just had no quality of life.

“It was devastating to see someone who had been so healthy and active slowly get worse and worse. We just want to know where and how he was exposed to asbestos and hope someone out there can help us.”

According to data from the Health and Safety Executive, annual mesothelioma deaths in Britain increased steeply over the last 50 years, a consequence of mainly occupational asbestos exposures that occurred because of the widespread industrial use of asbestos during 1950-1980.

Amanda Jones is one of the specialists at J.M Parsons, which is owned by Thompsons Solicitors. Thompsons has paved the way for asbestos litigation in the UK ever since it brought about the first successful asbestos disease claim to the House of Lords in 1972, 50 years ago.

She said: “We would be grateful to hear from anyone who remembers working with Peter Colton in Carmarthen Bay Power Station in the 1970s or anyone who worked in the same field as Peter beyond the 1970s.

“Such individuals will be invaluable to Mr Colton’s family as they may be able to add important information that will assist us in building a civil claim. We hope that we will then be able to answer questions about the conditions that Mr Colton worked in during his working life.”

Anyone with information should contact Amanda Jones on 01554 779940, or via email at amanda@jmplaw.co.uk.

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