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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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Station Road: Off-licence refused alcohol licence

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AN OFF-LICENCE on Llanelli’s Station Road has been refused an alcohol licence by Carmarthenshire County Council after councillors decided it could add to the area’s crime and disorder problems.

The Licensing Committee’s decision has been upheld after the applicant, who runs the shop Kubus, appealed to the courts.

The applicant, Aram Mahmood, had asked the council for permission to sell alcohol at his shop between 9am and 9pm Monday to Sunday.

However councillors felt that granting the licence would contravene the authority’s Cumulative Impact Policy, which creates a presumption against the granting of premises licences in the Station Road area, due to anti-social behaviour and alcohol-fuelled crime issues.

A Dyfed Powys Police representative said Station Road is still identified as a crime and disorder hot spot, and a Drinking in Public Places Order (DPPO) is in place.

During April 2017 and March 2018, 164 anti-social behaviour incidents were recorded in Station Road, over a quarter having occurred within licensed premises.

A fifth of all related crime and 13 per cent of all alcohol related anti-social behavior incidents recorded in Llanelli town occurred in Station Road.

Over 40 alcohol related violent crimes were also recorded there during the same period.

Although there are now fewer premises selling alcohol in Station Road, statistics show there is still a high level of alcohol related crime and disorder in the area.

The applicant told the committee that his main customers were families wishing to buy Polish and European foods and products.

He told councillors he had ordered a CCTV system and assured them that the management of alcohol would be well controlled by staff, though believed that his customers would not cause problems.

The licensing committee’s decision was upheld following the applicant’s appeal to Llanelli Magistrates Court.

Justices found that there was no evidence of exceptional reasons to justify departing from the Cumulative Impact Policy and were satisfied with the committee’s decision.

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Cllr Kevin Madge elected as new county council Chairman

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THE new chair of Carmarthenshire County Council said he will work tirelessly during his term of office.

Cllr Kevin Madge, member for Garnant, takes the chain of office whilst celebrating 40 years as a councillor.

Taking the chair, Cllr Madge paid tribute to outgoing chairman Cllr Mansel Charles, member for Llanegwad, saying he had fulfilled his duties with passion.

Cllr Madge will chair the council for the next 12 months, with Cllr Ieuan Davies, member for Llanybydder, as his vice chair, and his wife Catrin as his consort.

“I’m very much looking forward to the year ahead, I will do my best for everyone. I will work tirelessly,” he said.

Cllr Madge has chosen the Trussell Trust, which supports a nationwide network of food banks and emergency food provision for people in crisis, as his Chairman’s Charity of the Year.

The Chair is the first citizen of Carmarthenshire County Council, and is elected at the Annual General Meeting.

Duties include chairing full meetings of the council, representing the council at formal and ceremonial occasions, welcoming visitors to the county, and attending and supporting events organised by local people and organisations.

Cllr Madge has been a county councillor since 1996, and a member of Cwmaman Town Council since 1979.

He also serves as chairman of the Royal British Legion Garnant branch, Garnant Family Centre and Cwmaman Meals on Wheels, and is a member of Amman Valley League of Friends.

He represents the county council on the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, and the Mynydd y Betws Wind Farm Community Fund, and is on the governing body of Ysgol Y Bedol.

A former pupil of Amman Valley School, Cllr Madge has worked in the Amman Valley throughout his life, most recently as agent and researcher to Dr Alan Williams MP until 2001.

A keen football supporter, he has served as chair and president of Cwmaman Football Club and spent 25 years as a Welsh League and Neath and District football referee.

He is married with two children and three grandchildren.

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‘UK Government should work with the Welsh Labour Government on Tata’

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LOCAL Assembly Member Lee Waters and Nia Griffith MP have called on the UK Government to work with the Welsh Labour Government to come up with a deal to protect steel making at Trostre, and across Wales and the UK.

Lee Waters AM met with representatives from Tata Steel on Wednesday to discuss the future for steel making at the plant following the reported collapse of the proposed joint venture with Thyssenkrupp.

During the meeting he stressed the need to protect the entire steel supply chain in Wales, including the high quality jobs at Trostre, and those that depend on its presence in Llanelli.

Lee Waters AM said “It’s clear that the support Welsh Government provided during the crisis of 2016 has been critical in getting extra investment into Port Talbot which will secure the works for years to come. However, Tata is a company run from India, and we simply don’t know what the board will decide about its future strategy. They may well be looking for a new joint venture partner, so we’ll have to vigilant about the implications for our local plants.”

“Tata has said it intends to continue with its existing business plan, and honor commitments made to the Trade Unions, so Nia and I will be keeping a close eye to make sure that happens.”

Welsh Government has been in active discussions with Tata steel following the collapse of the merger with Thyssenkrupp. In a written statement and during questions on Wednesday, the Welsh Government committed to invest in Welsh steel to protect its future and is looking at a range of measures to assist on energy costs, business rates and procurement of steel for public sector contracts.

Lee Waters AM said “The Welsh Government have given significant support to the steel industry here but it can’t do everything, and we now need the UK Government to work with them to ensure a future for skilled work in the steel industry in Llanelli and elsewhere in Wales.”

Nia Griffith AM said ““This latest news from Tata means yet more uncertainty for steelworkers. Their announcement about keeping Port Talbot is a start, but now we need real commitment from Tata on Trostre.

“We also need close cooperation from the company with the Trade Unions. Lee Waters AM and I will be urging the UK Government to follow Welsh Government in doing everything possible to secure the future of our steel industry.”

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