Friday, November 17, 2017

Oporto offers a further taste of Portugal in Merthyr Tydfil

Merthyr Tydfil town centre is developing an increasingly continental flavour, having just seen the launch of its fifth Portuguese-owned business.

José Carvalho and Suzana Santos have opened Oporto Grocery Store, a delicatessen selling a range of produce including food and drink imported directly from Portugal, with fresh breads and deli items sourced locally and made to traditional methods.

The shop is the eighth to be established through the County Borough Council’s innovative ‘Meanwhile’ programme, which gives local entrepreneurs business support and short-term rent-free accommodation in vacant premises.

Businesses nurtured by the scheme which have continued to stay in their premises after a successful first six months include JOL’s Restaurant, Lunah Tearooms, The Bait Shack - the only fishing tackle and accessories shop in the county borough - and upmarket upcycled goods store Furniture Reborn.

Council Leader Cllr Kevin O’Neill said the town centre was continuing to grow a culture of niche independent stores enhancing Merthyr Tydfil’s vibrant and varied economy.

“I’m extremely proud of the achievements the authority has made in our support of budding entrepreneurs, like José and Suzana,” he added.  “It’s not just the assistance in providing a property, but all the behind the scenes help in terms of business planning, financial support and skills development from the Merthyr Tydfil Enterprise Centre.”

Cllr O’Neill said the aim of Oporto was to not only provide the local community with access to ‘wonderful’ foods, but also to raise the awareness of Portuguese culture and to integrate fully into the community.

“The project is a true example of partnership that supports entrepreneurs - in conjunction with the landlords - to reduce the number of vacant properties and extend the offer of goods and services to the community.”

Oporto follows in the footsteps of established Portuguese-owned businesses Portugalles café/bar, The New Crown Inn, Benditos and Docé Cakes.  The Merthyr Tydfil area is thought to have around 1,000 Portuguese speaking residents, many of whom moved there to work at the former St Merryn Meat processing plant and were later joined by their family and friends.  

Dr Lesley Hodgson, Chair of the Merthyr Tydfil Global Village, said she believed there were almost 1,000 people from the Portuguese speaking community in Merthyr Tydfil and the surrounding area.

“I use the term ​Portuguese speaking community because people come from mainland Portugal, Africa and Brazil and we often tend to call them all Portuguese - which isn't correct,” she added.

Dr Hodgson said initially key skilled workers were encouraged to move to Merthyr Tydfil to work in the meat processing plant, St Merryn Meat - now owned by 2Sisters Red Meat Ltd.

“Those workers then spread the word about work opportunities to their friends and families back home.  We’re different from other areas, here whole families settled in the area with their children in local schools.

“The Portuguese speaking community can now be found in almost all factories and areas of the town.  And, of course, the Portuguese are great entrepreneurs - as evidenced not only by this business, but also the other Portuguese owned businesses in the area.”

Lisbon-born Suzana has lived in Merthyr Tydfil 16 years, while José - from Porto - moved to Wales 13 years ago.  Both used to work at the former St Merryn meat plant, with Suzana having also volunteered for Home Start and at St Illtyd's Primary School as a teaching assistant.

Suzana said they chose to open a grocery store because there was nothing else like it in the area and people interested in Portuguese produce were having to travel to Cardiff to buy it.  “It’s not just for Portuguese people who have settled here,” she added.  “It’s also for people who enjoy cooking and trying different cuisines.”

Meanwhile is supported by the Merthyr Tydfil Enterprise Board and Merthyr Tydfil Enterprise Centre (MTEC), which comprise representatives of the local authority, Business Wales.

You can search our previous posts for items that match your interests

News post contains:

Source: (Thu Aug 31st 2017)

Leanne Hughes
Leanne Hughes
Local News & Events, Welsh Politics
Caerphilly & Merthyr Tydfil

Santa Appeal is open

"Last year we were delighted to collect more than 2,000 presents, thanks to the generosity of local people and the support of our adult service users at Learning Curve, who volunteer their time to collect the presents from collection points.

"The Santa Appeal has seen people who have very little themselves donating to cover the cost of a gift for one child and also groups of people from work places, organisations, sports teams and universities coming together to donate a bundle of gifts.

"It truly is such a heartwarming campaign and one that allows us to celebrate the true magic of Christmas and community spirit."

The Santa Appeal is open to the public from November 1 to November 24. All you need to do is ring Santa's helpers on 01443 425025 (lines open from 9.30am to 4.30pm (Tuesday to Friday) or drop an email to entitled Santa Appeal.

You tell them how many children you would like to buy for and they will give you the name and age of a child who would be delighted to receive a gift. Simply choose a present and take it to your nearest collection point in a gift bag by December 1, so the Learning Curve staff can collect it and ensure it gets to Santa in time to be delivered Christmas Eve.

Please do not gift wrap the presents, please place them in a gif' title='Santa Appeal is open' alt='Santa Appeal is open'>

Last year, over 2,000 children in Rhondda Cynon Taf who are less fortunate than others received a present (or two!) to open on Christmas Day, thanks to the Santa Appeal.Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, which runs the successful appeal, is delighted to confirm the Santa Appeal 2017 is now open, with residents urged to show their support and ensu...

Cardiff steps into Christmas on November 9th, 2017.

Highlights include:

Skye & Rubble from PAW Patrol at intervals outside The Old Library, opposite St David's Hall.

Santa and his Reindeer in their pan at the bottom of St Mary Street

Festive Quarter with Christmas Markets - The Hayes

Santa's Queen Street Grotto

Late night shopping and in-store offers

Opening of Cardiff's Winter Wonderland with Admiral Ice Rink

Plus festive street theatre including performances from Spark! A mesmerising, unmissable street show combining fantastic drumming and LED lights.

The Snow Lion and White Queen, and a spellbinding Snow Globe that glides gracefully by with a beautiful, ethereal Snow Queen inside.

Christmas Market

From 9 th November - 23 rd December, the Festive Quarter arrives, as St John Street, Working Street, The Hayes, Trinity Street and Hills Street become home to over 80 beautifully decorated wooden stalls. Over 200 talented artists, crafts people and food and alcohol producers from across Wales offer an array of gifts such as Welsh slate, crafted candles, tasty cheeses, fruit wines and liqueurs, flavoured vodkas and gins, silver and enamel jewellery, pottery and original artwork. You will be able to find something for everyone on your Christmas gif' title='Cardiff steps into Christmas on November 9th, 2017.' alt='Cardiff steps into Christmas on November 9th, 2017.'>

Step into Christmas - The Official Start to Christmas in Cardiff The impressive calendar of events explodes onto the streets on Thursday 9 th November, as we herald the official start of the magical season with Step into Christmas . This unique street festival sees the city centre undergo a spectacular transformation with a wealth of Chri...

‘The Sweet Singer of Wales’: Celebrating William Williams Pantycelyn at the Senedd

The portrait of Williams, by Ivor Davies, is based on the only known sketch of the writer, copies of which can be found on the walls of homes around Wales. As a child this was a familiar image to Davies and for years his wish was to recreate this classical and iconic portrait.

The Right Honourable Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister for Wales said:

“As First Minister I am very pleased to be able to join the National Library today to commemorate the life and work of one of our most gif' title='‘The Sweet Singer of Wales’: Celebrating William Williams Pantycelyn at the Senedd' alt='‘The Sweet Singer of Wales’: Celebrating William Williams Pantycelyn at the Senedd'>

​The 300th anniversary of the birth of William Williams Pantycelyn will be marked with an event at the National Assembly for Wales on 18 October. An exhibition will be unveiled, organised by the National Library of Wales, to celebrate Wales’s most prolific hymn writer and one of the country’s greatest poets and writers....