Monday, September 25, 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: http://www.merthyr.gov.uk/news-events/latest-news/oporto-offers-a-further-taste-of-portugal-in-merthyr-tydfil/ (Thu Aug 31st 2017)

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

Let's Get Digital, Digital!

;

All things digital will be celebrated in a ‘festival' at Central Library Hub next week.

;

No wellies or glow-sticks are required for Digifest, a special event on Saturday, September 9 organised by Cardiff Library Service and Adult Community Learning Service.

;

The digital fun from 10am to 5pm will include information stalls, seminars and workshops with activities available to suit a variety of ages and capabilities.

;

The day will also provide an opportunity for people to enrol on a wide variety of Adult Community Learning courses including courses for help people gain skills they need to get back into work, exciting courses from crafts to computers and as well as accessible learning opportunities for adults with additional needs.

;

Workshops in the festival include an ‘Appy hour' for all those confused by just what their smartphone or tablet can do, Minecraft club for children to build and explore their own world in a safe, offline environment, a local ancestry and family history workshop with Glamorgan Family History Society, a social media seminar, 3D printing demonstration, digital garden design and much more.

;

Visitors to the library will also be able to find out about the latest cutting edge photography equipment available, learn about the latest virtual reality technology to help people gain an understanding of what it is like to suffer from dementia and lots of information about the activities and resources on offer in Cardiff Libraries.

;

Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, said: "Digifest is a great initiative by Cardiff Libraries and Adult Community Learning to help people find out more about every day technology, how to get the best out of it and how to enjoy using it. There's a packed schedule of innovative activities running throughout the day for real novices to those who already embrace technology in their lives but want to learn more.

;

"Central Library Hub is a first class facility with its own digital floor and Digif' title='Let's Get Digital, Digital!' alt='Let's Get Digital, Digital!'>

Let's get digital, digital! ; All things digital will be celebrated in a ‘festival' at Central Library Hub next week. ; No wellies or glow-sticks are required for Digifest, a special event on Saturday, September 9 organised by Cardiff Library Service and Adult Community Learning Service. ; The digital fun from 10am to 5pm will in...

South Wales Police media statement following the IPCC independent investigation into the force’s response to reports, information and intelligence about the alleged criminal conduct of Ian Watkins between 2008-2012

South Wales Police media statement following the IPCC independent investigation into the force’s response to reports, information and intelligence about the alleged criminal conduct of Ian Watkins between 2008-2012

In 2012 South Wales Police initiated its own review into the sequence of events prior to the arrest of Ian Watkins. The force identified that there were issues of concern and instigated a comprehensive overhaul of systems, policies and procedures whilst also voluntarily referring the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission....