New Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price and MS for Mid and West Wales Helen Mary Jones took a tour of ‘Canolfan John Burns’ – the completion of the build of new John Burns Foundation headquarters based in Kidwelly, Wales, on Wednesday 9 September with John Burns and key charity staff.
The John Burns Foundation is the charity set up by Burns Pet Nutrition, our global pet food company operating from the main hub in Carmarthenshire Wales. At Burns we pride ourselves in being a large employer in the Carmarthenshire region and Living Wage employer.
As a natural pet food manufacturer we have fed over 2 billion healthy dog food meals since 1993, employ over 100 staff and donate (25%) of profits to the John Burns Foundation charity to fund their projects that enhance the lives of disadvantaged people, by offering practical recreational facilities and life skill opportunities. Using the arts, the outdoors and events to support their delivery programme, the charity was set up in 2006 and employs 9 people.
The John Burns Foundation has now moved its operation to the new flagship building ‘Canolfan John Burns’ that has completed its construction phase. With all fittings and furniture in place, it will provide a base for the charity to become sustainable. The premises will serve commercial purposes as well as providing a central hub for staff and stakeholders
The John Burns Foundation helps people and animals with projects like The Reading Dogs in Schools called Burns by Your Side and Better Tomorrow with initiatives such as The Butterfly Effect a group comprising brain injury victims, supporting recovery through social rehabilitation, with skills such as furniture making. The group based in Kidwelly also learn horticulture – making crops under polytunnels at the Burns Farmshop in Carmarthenshire.
The John Burns Foundation has formed meaningful partnerships and works alongside the local health boards, schools across West Wales and other organisations such as Mencap, UWTSD, Swansea University, FE Colleges and many smaller community groups.
Charity Founder John Burns said,
“It is great to welcome Plaid’s Adam Price and Helen Mary Jones to Canolfan John Burns. We are very proud of the centre and excited for a sustainable future ahead helping people locally and pan-UK. Burns Pet Nutrition has traditionally supported The John Burns Foundation which now needs to become sustainable in its own right.
Having these premises will help us to create the environment for this to happen and we hope the premises will also benefit the local communities with much-needed facilities and services.”
Charity Manager Melanie Jones said,
“This wonderful building, along with the surrounding 20 acres provides us with the perfect space to deliver our many projects, and to develop new schemes. The aim is also to use this top spec space to generate an income to support the work of the charity. We are extremely grateful to Burns Pet Nutrition for providing us with this state-of-the art facility.
The building itself houses office space, meeting rooms and large conference and function spaces that can sit up to 100 people. The rooms have the newest technology and audio-visual equipment as well as being fully accessible.”
Visiting Senedd Member Mary Helen Jones said,
“It was my privilege to speak at the event where Burns celebrated their achievement in becoming a living wage employer some months ago. I was very struck by staff talking about the huge difference that relatively modest pay increases had made to the quality of their lives and that of their families.
We need to work towards paying all workers in Wales the real living wage. Ending child poverty will be a high priority for Plaid Cymru in government, and the best way to do that is to put money in parents’ pockets.
Living wage employers already do this. In the short-term Plaid’s Welsh Child Payment would achieve the same for families on low wages and benefits. We won’t sit by and see another generation of our children grow up in poverty – with all the disadvantages that brings, long and short term.”