The Development Bank of Wales has come to the rescue of qualified paramedics Andrea and Gethin Bateman who have taken on a new business venture and are on a mission to breath a new lease of life into the Rising Sun public house and camp site in Pelcomb Bridge, Haverfordwest.
Having worked as front-line paramedics for the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust, Andrea is now a clinical advisor for the NHS Wales 111 Service and Gethin is a serious incident investigation manager for Digital Health and Care Wales. However, a love of camping and caravanning coupled with a £300,000 loan from the Development Bank of Wales means that they are now also the proud new owners of Pelcomb Bridge Holiday Park which incorporates the popular Rising Sun Restaurant and Grill.
The Batemans completed the purchase of the three-acre site which comprises the Rising Sun Inn and associated caravan park that includes numerous caravan and tent pitches, winter storage facilities, three chalets (two of which are utilised as rental units) and a static caravan.
Refurbishment work on the Rising Sun Restaurant and Grill has already begun and the Batemans have recruited renowned head chef Matthew Cox from St Davids, who as well as developing new and exciting menus, is guiding the modernisation of the kitchen to increase capacity.
Improvements are also being made to the holiday park and these include plans to make the business more environmentally friendly with the purchase of a new state of the art sewage system, installation of solar panels and planting of many different native tree species along the site boundaries.
Patrons of both the holiday park and restaurant will have access to a brand-new play park for children, whilst holiday park guests can look forward to up-graded toilet and shower facilities.
Four jobs, including the new Head Chef, have already been created in addition to the seven members of staff who stayed on with the Batemans after they took over the business. Additional seasonal jobs will also be created from April onwards.
Andrea and Gethin explained: “We’re both very people focussed and enjoy meeting new people so we wanted to use these skills to try a new venture that gave us the opportunity to invest in our future; something that combined our love of the outdoors, camping, caravanning and food. The Rising Sun ticked all the boxes plus it is local to our hometowns of Haverfordwest and St Davids.
“A chance conversation led us here and we immediately saw the opportunity to breath a new lease of life into the business and realise its full potential. The funding from the Development Bank means that we’ve been able to buy the business and crack on with our plans to upgrade the campsite facilities and give the Rising Sun a revamp.
“We’re new to running a business but we’re delighted that we’re getting such good feedback and already have a five star Trip Advisor rating. We’re really looking forward to our first full season as the owners of Pelcomb Bridge Holiday Park and the Rising Sun Restaurant and Grill and have lots of exciting plans for the future.”
Clare Sullivan is an investment executive with the Development Bank. She said: “Andrea and Gethin approached us needing help to fund the purchase of this well established and profitable business so that the previous owners could retire. As a going concern, it was an attractive proposition because it provides various income streams and there was the opportunity for us to help safeguard the jobs of seven local people. Furthermore, they’ve certainly got the skills and determination to make it work and we are particularly pleased to see them already investing in biodiversity and energy efficiency measures on site that will help to reduce carbon footprint. We wish the team every success.”
The £204 million Wales Business Fund is financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the Welsh Government. Loans, mezzanine finance, and equity investments are available for deals between £50,000 and £2 million with terms ranging from one to seven years for small and medium-sized businesses (those with fewer than 250 employees) based in Wales, or willing to relocate to Wales.