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Teenage entrepreneur launches ethical insect store

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Cameron Reardon, a 17-year-old from Llanelli has started Bug Box UK with the help of Big Ideas Wales.jpg - Bug Box UK: Cameron Reardon founded the ethical insect store at just 16 years old

A 17-YEAR-OLD from Llanelli with ambitions to follow in the footsteps of his idol David Attenborough has opened Wales’ first entomology shop, turning his childhood insect hobby into a business.

Cameron Reardon, who is in his final year at Coleg Sir Gâr, founded ethical insect store Bug Box UK at just 16 years old, after spotting a gap in the market in Wales. Entomology is the scientific study of insects, and as well as selling the creatures, Bug Box UK offers handling sessions, ‘fear classes’ aimed at helping people overcome phobias and educational programmes where Cameron teaches young people about exotic insects. Bug Box UK offers three educational schemes covering a range in ages from primary school, comprehensive and sixth form levels.

Since launching, Cameron has run his education programme in schools around Carmarthenshire and held workshops at Tŷ Aberdafen, a brain rehabilitation centre in Llanelli, but hopes to take his educational sessions to schools across Wales in the future. Cameron tailors his school workshops to reflect issues impacting insects’ environments at that time to keep the educational programmes relevant. For instance, he has recently been focussing on native insects like bees which are suffering a massive decline.

Bug Box UK also offers people the chance to overcome a fear of insects. Held in groups in order to encourage other members, the sessions see people start by holding small bugs before moving onto much bigger insects like tarantulas or centipedes.

Cameron said: “I’ve always had a love for bugs and insects and I currently have over 50 different species. I’ve followed TV programmes with people like Steve Irwin and David Attenborough for a long time and learnt from them how important animals are to the environment. This developed into a real passion of mine and now I want to educate others on the wonderful world of insects.

“There is generally still a fear surrounding insects which I hope to address through the educational programmes and phobia classes, so people can understand just how important insects of all sizes are to our eco-system.”

Cameron started his business with the help of Big Ideas Wales, the youth entrepreneurship service in Wales. Big Ideas Wales is part of Business Wales and is funded by the Welsh Government and the European Regional Development Fund. The service is aimed at anyone between the age of 5 and 25 who wants to develop a business idea. Cameron recently showcased his business at Big Ideas Celebrated, a national celebration of entrepreneurship in the Swansea Liberty Stadium. Bug Box UK was launched alongside Cameron’s own education, currently studying Public Services at Coleg Sir Gâr, before embarking on a Business and Marketing degree at Swansea University in September.

He said: “I love running my own business and getting to meet lots of different types of people every day. It’s also great being my own boss allowing me to work hard for my own success alongside my studies.

“I found out about Big Ideas Wales through the Enterprise Champion, Becky Pask at my college. She referred me to the service, and from there Big Ideas Wales helped me set up the business.

“As well as working with me to develop my business plan, Big Ideas Wales always has a great range of events on offer to young businesspeople. I attended an exporting workshop in Llanelli which was very eye-opening, allowing me to understand how to export to different countries in the future.”

Samantha Allen, Big Ideas Wales business advisor, has been working closely with Cameron to help him start his business. She said: “Cameron is just 17, still studying in college but somehow is managing to run a successful business. He is a great example of an ambitious and determined young entrepreneur and I can’t wait to see how Bug Box UK grows in the future.”

For more information about Bug Box UK visit: https://www.bugboxuk.co.uk/.

Has this inspired you to turn your hobby into a business? Visit www.bigideas.wales

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Llanelli and Germany meet again for Oktoberfest 2019

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Fans of beer, music and dancing are in for a treat as Oktoberfest comes to Llanelli this October.

Bringing the German beer festival closer to home, Oktoberfest celebrates its first year in Llanelli this 5th and 6th of October. With a Bavarian Oompah band, German beer, food and an Oktoberfest themed venue, it is sure to be a fantastic event.

Popularly known as the world’s largest beer festival, the traditional Oktoberfest is held annually in Munich, Germany. With more than six million people travelling from all over the world to attend the Munich event, Iceqbe Events are now hosting the festival in Llanelli.

Iceqbe plan to bring the Bavarian atmosphere to the same venue that the town was once twinned with Germany in 1989. Taking place in the Selwyn Samuel Centre, the event is hopeful to attract both Llanelli locals as well as those who live further afield, supporting the Welsh town.

In preparation for the crowd, the biggest German beer festival to hit Llanelli will take place in a 220 people capacity venue, with the two-day festival spread into three separate beer-drinking sessions. 

Recently nominated for the Great British High Street award, this up and coming town is overflowing with welsh culture and international events, including Pride which took place in Llanelli earlier this year.

Iceqbe’s Co-Founder and Operations manager, Stefan Diamond, explains why they chose the town to host their event.

“We are thrilled to be hosting our very first Oktoberfest event in Llanelli,” said Stefan.

“I’ve lived here for seven years now and know first-hand what a great atmosphere this town brings to events like this. 

“With the town’s connection to Germany, it felt like the obvious choice for our event location. We can’t wait for beer-lovers across the UK to come together for a weekend of dancing, food and fantastic Bavarian beer!”

Co-founder of Iceqbe events, Luke James, explains what they’re hoping to achieve from the event.

“As the majority of event companies continue to outsource their staff, customer service levels have dropped whilst food and drink prices have skyrocketed,” he said. 

“We want to change that. We manage everything in-house which allows us to have full control over everything, from the venue to staffing. Our priority is to provide an amazing, safe and great value experience.”

Oktoberfest is sure to have people flocking in, with the opportunity to win tickets for you and five friends via their social media channel. To find out more about Oktoberfest, visit https://www.iceqbe.com/.

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PH Balance help arrest alleged sex offender

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A 51-YEAR-OLD male was arrested in Llanelli last Sunday (Sept 08) in connection to an alleged sexual offence.

Paedophile Hunting group PH Balance South Wales admitted to being involved with trapping the suspect through the use of a decoy. According to PH Balance’s recent Facebook post, the man had arranged a meeting with PH member Dobby who was acting as as a 14-year-old boy online. The man had shown up to the Llanelli town centre to allegedly take the young boy shopping. 

Dyfed-Powys Police arrived swiftly on scene and placed the alleged offender in handcuffs before taking him to the station in the back of a police vehicle.

A spokesman for Dyfed-Powys Police told the Llanelli Herald: “On Sunday, September 8, we received allegations from a group in respect of a man in the Swansea area, which related to offences involving children. Officers arrested a 51-year-old man on suspicion of meeting a child following grooming, at Eastgate Llanelli, the same day.”

The spokesman added: “The man has been bailed from police custody with conditions.”

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Becoming Deputy Chief Constable ‘a huge privilege’

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CLAIRE PARMENTER has been announced as the new Dyfed-Powys Police Deputy Chief Constable, describing it as a ‘huge privilege’.

DCC Parmenter, who grew up in Llanelli but now lives in Carmarthen, has worked her way through the ranks since joining the force as a PC 26 years ago.

She said: “Becoming the Deputy Chief Constable within my home force is a huge privilege for me, I hope this will inspire other officers and staff to achieve whatever they want across the service.”

Her policing career began in Ammanford in 1993, having just completed a BA (HONS) degree in Education at Cardiff.

“I was thinking of a career in teaching or policing, and decided to do my degree before making the choice,” DCC Parmenter said. “Policing was always in my heart, so when it came to it, it was an easy decision.”

As well as serving in a variety of uniform roles, DCC Parmenter has undertaken a number of secondments across UK Policing and beyond.

These include a role as national field officer with the National Policing Improvement Agency, becoming operational Chief Inspector in Avon and Somerset Police, and contributing to the national implementation of neighbourhood policing, for which she received a chief constable’s commendation.

She was promoted to Superintendent in 2010 and became lead for the Joint Emergency Services Group in Wales, leading and developing a number of blue light collaboration and resilience programmes, working closely with Fire and Rescue, Welsh Ambulance Service Trust and Welsh Government.

“I’ve always tried to look at the wider landscape of policing and how we work with partners to improve services to our communities,” she said. “These secondments have given me exposure to different ways of working and has broadened my outlook.”

DCC Parmenter returned to uniformed policing in 2012 and took up the role of Superintendent of specialist operations.

She later took over as BCU Commander for Carmarthenshire and Powys, and later took up the post of Chief Superintendent Head of Uniformed Policing for the force.

She is an accredited Strategic Firearms and Gold Public order commander and has won a Stonewall National award for her support of LGBT staff.

A mother of two, DCC Parmenter’s drive and dedication has not only led her to become a chief officer, but has also had a positive influence on her teenage daughters.

DCC Parmenter said: “My youngest daughter is 14 and she’s also keen to join the police. It’s nice to know that she looks at my career positively and can see how policing can make a real difference.

“I’m very proud to be a chief officer in the force I am from. Being able to effect the delivery of services in my home area, and to serve people in the area I live ensuring the best possible service, is a huge privilege.”

Looking ahead, DCC Parmenter’s aims are to keep delivering across Dyfed-Powys Police, and to ensure the force continues to improve and innovate.

She added: “I know Dyfed-Powys communities and staff very well, and I think we have got all the ingredients to be an absolutely outstanding force. I look forward to being a part of the chief officer team to deliver that.

“I’m really grateful to our staff and colleagues across the force, who have supported me throughout my career.”

Chief Constable Mark Collins said: “Claire has shown outstanding commitment to our communities over many years and I am delighted to have her as my Deputy Chief Constable.”

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