Willy Wonka famously had his chocolate factory, and now a Neath confectioner has opened his version – in his back garden.
When former bakery manager Gareth Davies launched his eponymous chocolate enterprise, little did he think ‘Delicious Delights by Gareth’ would mushroom into thriving full-time family business.
It all began with a raspberry ruffle Gareth made for his wife Lyn, now Gareth produces nearly 3,000 chocolates and sweet treats each week.
“I hadn’t made chocolates before, but Lyn likes raspberry ruffles, and I thought I’d give it a go,” says Gareth, who – along with Lyn – spent 25 years working for supermarket giant, Tesco.
Such was the popularity of his chocolates, fudge and brownies among family and friends that Gareth and Lyn took the plunge and with the help of their family created their confectionary business.
“We use the finest Belgian chocolate,” says Gareth, “I find recipes and then tweak them and try different flavours.”
In order to accommodate the increasing demand for their chocolates, the couple has built a production unit at their home. As well as providing extra space, the unit helps to separate home and work life.
“It is much easier,” says Gareth, “the unit is twice the size of our home kitchen. Now when I’ve finished making chocolates, I can close the door and go into the house to cook tea!”
From those first chocolates, there is now an impressive array of handmade chocolates, fudge and brownies which are sold at markets and festivals.
Truffle flavours include Lemon, Hazelnut, Baileys Salted Caramel, Prosecco – and of course Raspberry! There are Triple Chocolate, Rocky Road, and Hazelnut Brownies, as well as Gareth’s fabulous fudges – such as Rum & Raison, Vanilla, Chocolate Swirl, and Cherry Bakewell.
This weekend Delicious Delights by Gareth will be on home territory, at Neath Food Festival (October 4-6), and Gareth and Lyn are busy preparing for the three-day event.
So, what’s the most popular chocolate in Gareth’s home town?
“Hazelnut Truffle,” he says, “favourites can change from week to week and place to place, but in Neath it is the Hazelnut Truffle. Although, we will be launching a new Gingerbread Truffle at the food festival – so who knows, maybe that will become the
Delicious Delights by Gareth is being helped to develop by Cywain – a business-led programme delivered by Menter a Busnes. Cywain is dedicated to developing new and existing micro-businesses and SMEs in the Welsh food and drink sector, focusing on maximising opportunities and growth potential.
With Cywain, Delicious Delights by Gareth had the opportunity to sell directly to the public at its most significant event so far – the Royal Welsh Show – where the company was featured on the Cywain stand in the Food Hall.
Says Gareth, “We’ve had great advice and support from Cywain, and they’re helping us to grow and to access new markets.”
Says Lowri Edwards, Cywain Development Manager, “We are delighted to see how Delicious Delights by Gareth has grown over the last two years and it’s great to see the new unit being developed, enabling them to increase production and access new markets with their chocolates. We look forward to supporting them further along their journey.”
Swansea Building Society appoints new Finance Director
SWANSEA BUILDING SOCIETY has recently appointed a new Finance Director. Nathan Griffiths from Swansea has been appointed at the Society’s head office in Cradock Street, Swansea.
A Chartered Accountant, Griffiths has an impressive background in financial services having spent eight years at Deloitte specialising in providing advisory and assurance services to building societies and retail banks across the UK. Upon leaving Deloitte as a senior manager, Griffiths joined Monmouthshire Building Society where he has spent the last four years as Financial Controller.
Griffiths joins Swansea Building Society during a time of prosperity. The Society reached record-breaking highs in terms of its total assets, mortgage and savings balances in 2018, when it celebrated the largest single year of growth on both sides of its Balance Sheet in the Society’s history.
The Society remains one of the few financial institutions in the UK that has no wholesale funding or support from the Bank of England in the form of cheap funding. Its Balance Sheet is funded entirely by customer savings balances and its own capital reserves built up from retained profits over many years.
Alun Williams, Chief Executive of Swansea Building Society, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Nathan to Swansea Building Society during such a prosperous time. His impressive financial background and experience within the building society sector makes him a solid asset to the Society. We look forward to working with Nathan and have no doubt he will provide a valuable contribution to the Society, which will enhance our dedication to offering our members an outstanding personalised service.”
Nathan Griffiths, newly appointed Finance Director at Swansea Building Society, added: “I am delighted to be joining Swansea Building Society at such an exciting time in its history. The Society has achieved unprecedented levels of success in recent years. Being born and brought up in Swansea, I am really excited to be bringing my experience within the building society and banking sectors to my local Society and working with the team to contribute to the Society’s future success.”
West Wales groups shortlisted for housebuilder’s £1m prize fund
REGIONAL housebuilder Persimmon Homes West Wales has shortlisted three groups supporting under-18s to go forward for a chance to win up to £100,000 through its Building Futures campaign.
The groups have been selected from three categories targeting grassroots sports groups, health organisations and arts & education projects.
Penclawdd Junior Band will represent the arts & education category at the national final, Haverfordwest Swimming Club has been selected to represent sport and Paul Sartori House health.
Penclawdd Junior Band wants the money to completely renovate its band room in Gower Village to make it a state-of-the-art venue for people to learn musical skills.
Haverfordwest Swimming Club, meanwhile, would to invest in coaching courses for its young members, as well as swimming hats to celebrate the club’s 50th anniversary.
And Paul Sartori Hospice at Home, which has been serving Pembrokeshire for more than 36 years, needs the money to continue its counselling services for young people who have suffered bereavement.
Building Futures is being delivered through the Persimmon Charitable Foundation, which last year donated £620,000 to support children’s sport.
Through Building Futures, a total of 128 grants of £1,000 have been awarded across Persimmon’s 31 regional businesses and its head office this year.
Persimmon Homes is an official partner of Team GB and the Persimmon Charitable Commission enlisted the help of medallists Kat Copeland and Callum Skinner to help determine the three regional finalists for each business division.
One initiative from each category will go on to win £100,000 each through a national award scheme to be decided by a public vote.
As well as the £100,000 first prize, there will be a £50,000 second prize and a £20,000 third prize in each sector, while a further 87 shortlisted projects will each receive £5,000.
Online voting will open on July 23 and run until midnight on September 27. The winners will be announced at a gala dinner at York Racecourse on Tuesday, October 8.
Andy Edwards, managing director of Persimmon Homes West Wales, said: “Building Futures aims to create a lasting legacy for young people and the groups that support them.
“We have been overwhelmed by the response and it is clear there are a lot of very worthy causes supporting the younger generation and a lot of people working exceptionally hard to help them.
“We wish all three of our regional finalists the very best of luck and would urge people to show their support by voting for them at www.persimmonhomes.com/building-futures/ .”
New drive supports women entrepreneurs
ECONOMY MINISTER, Ken Skates is calling on the business community to support a new initiative aimed at increasing the number of women entrepreneurs in Wales and providing them with the best possible support.
The Welsh Government’s new Supporting Entrepreneurial Women programme was informed by the work of a panel of experts, convened in 2017 to consider how best to encourage, develop and support female entrepreneurship in Wales.
The panel, chaired by Helen Walbey, considered an array of academic evidence and literature on women in entrepreneurship, spoke to a range of businesswomen, representative groups and partner bodies, and aligned its work with the principles of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme which is championed by Be the Spark in Wales.
The result is a new Framework for Supporting Entrepreneurial Women in Wales and a Good Practice Guide to inform how the Welsh Government and business community works to drive the number of women entrepreneurs in Wales.
The Welsh Government have also responded by publishing the Business Wales Action Plan which identifies 10 specific ways in which the Welsh Government and business community can improve. From providing more gender focussed business support and confidence building, increasing the number of female business advisors and mentors in Wales and promoting the career successes of prominent female entrepreneurs including through business awards, the action plan aims to create the right environment in which female entrepreneurs can prosper.
There is also renewed focus on engagement with women entrepreneurs to understand the barriers they face, improved availability of finance options with no restrictions that unfairly affect women, and a Good Practice Guide that encourages business support organisations to adopt ways of working that support female Entrepreneurship.
The Economy Minister launched the Framework, Good Practice Guide and the Action Plan at a celebratory event in Capital Law. This will be followed by regional events, jointly organised by the Welsh Government and Lloyds Bank, to ensure that business groups right across Wales are aware of the new resources and their role in supporting female entrepreneurship.
The Economy Minister said: “The underrepresentation of women both as business owners and at a senior executive level is well evidenced and there is no doubt the gender gap is hindering women from achieving their full economic and personal potential.
“Our Economic Action Plan focuses on creating the right environment to enable entrepreneurs to prosper and grow and obviously this must apply to women, just as much as men.
“The work undertaken by the panel of experts recognised the progress that we as the Welsh Government and business representative groups have made in recent years in supporting female entrepreneurship – but the message is clear. We must do more, and with Brexit presenting challenges of an unprecedented scale, now more than ever we need our best talent around the table.
“I call on the business community and financial institutions to work with us to adopt a more gender focussed approach to their work. I hope they will use our new Framework and Good Practice Guide to ensure they play their part in building an environment where women entrepreneurs are encouraged and properly supported to reach their full potential.“
Jane Hutt, Deputy Minister and Chief Whip said: “All women should be given equal opportunities and representation at the most senior level. Helping to understand and remove barriers that women face in entrepreneurial opportunities will support the potential growth of women in business. Through this support, we hope women will be more fairly represented and can flourish in the business sector.
“Although, there is still so much more we can do to achieve better gender equality, this initiative will help women to achieve their full potential and to move away from the underrepresentation of women at senior roles.”