Food Festival Meeting 8th Feb

15 Feb

On 8th February I asked WAG Food, Welsh Assembly Government, Press Office as I’d been instructed to do, for the notes and presentation details from the Food Festival Organisers meeting being held that day in Aberystwyth. I’d been told that the meeting was to deliver an interim evaluation report as new criteria are being developed for food festival support. I asked what were the organisers told about future funding and what’s the future for festivals this year? I also did as I’d been asked and gave them a deadline of Friday 11th February, 4.00pm  

This was all basic information that our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers and our readers want to know and I had planned for a piece to go in our M/April issue. However my deadline came and went with nothing from WAG Press Office. I chased them again and received the following email:

WAG Press Office stated on Friday 17.20: “Sorry to have missed your deadline, it has been a busy day here and I have been working to get it to you. I will do what I can to get something soon”.

Then at 18.03 a WAG Food, Duty Press Officer stated:  “At a recent meeting, festival organisers were consulted on this year’s grant application process and the results of research into food festivals. More information for festival organisers will be made available directly to them on Monday. ”

I’ve obviously been very lucky in my journalistic life, as I’ve not had any Press Office fail to hit a deadline for me. WAG Food Press Office also appear to have forgotten that in their role, communication is the key. To be told they are so busy, makes me feel totally unimportant. From their side it’s ok for them not only to miss my deadline, but also unprofessional when they’re obviously too busy to tell me…………

Welsh Country magazine hits the printers next week, but far be it for me to complain about being busy!!!  I know the Press Office are a small team, but don’t give me that as an excuse – so is the Welsh Country team.     

No-one contacted me on Monday – I chased them again today, Tuesday and have given them a 12.00 deadline for more news but again this has been missed – another busy day in the WAG Food Press office do you think?


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  1. Perplexed Dai

    February 16, 2011 at 10:04 am

    I’m a Welsh producer. Reading through quite a bit of this new site was enjoyable, annoying, funny and very enlightening. Despite working in the food market I did not know a lot of what I have learnt from this.
    I have met Kath at quite a few different festivals and markets and what struck me was how passionate she is about promoting Welsh food – she’s like a walkig advert for us. The team on the magazine are just as enthusiastic about local food and I can’t believe how much time and energy they have put into Welsh Country mag – the whole team should get a flipping medal but instead they seem to be meeting difficulty after difficulty with WAG food.
    I was going to say I can’t see why this is happening when readers of the magazine get so much about Welsh food in every copy – but after learning a little about how Welsh Government works – yes I can. Kath’s problem is that she’s not agreeing with WAG’s policies and because of that they seem to have pushed ‘her’ aside. This is childish, because the best idea would have been to involve her more, listen to what she’s saying because she’s the one the producers, growers, end users talk to and she gets their honest views. Because she doesn’t agree with WAG does not mean WAG are right. Why she’s also been isolated from the organisers meeting as well doesn’t make sense either. Is it not common sense and certainly a bonus if you can get the media on your side? I’m not impressed that WAG press office don’t seem to agree with that. I hope that Kath and her team are not put off with all this extra work they are having to do. I am a strong supporter of what they are doing and I know lots of my producers mates are in agreement with me.
    Please don’t give up we need someone on our side until WAG learn to listen to us.

  2. Beer Man

    February 16, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Wag or welshfoodbites – who gets my vote?
    Simple, the guys that are working and listening to us, welshfoodbites and their magazine.
    I’m in total agreement with the other comment that I’ve just read.
    I need to plan my year to work out which festivals I can actually afford to attend and the staff I’m likely to need. I know I have been asking Welsh Country mag for a list – I just didn’t realise that Wag are the ones that can’t get this list out until the end of March. I’m grateful that I got an initial list from these guys around end of Jan I think, but it’s certainly not their job to do this for us. It’s Wag who should be paying them for all the work they do but instead they just keep making their life more difficult.
    I didn’t see anyone I knew from Wag at the Buyers event in Pembrokeshire last week, but I did see both Kath & Ian who spent hours there so at least I could give them my thanks face-to-face for all their efforts. These guys know and understand the food market from our side, plus press, PR & Marketing and I appreciate their on-going help, support and advice. Their Best Of Welsh listing is the best value for money and I’m impressed with how much news and information they send through to me on a regular basis. It keeps me intheknow, but once more it should be Wag doing this for producers, not another job for these people to do. It’s really not fair for these guys
    thanks guys

  3. Cheesed Off

    February 16, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Isn’t time we as producers asked who wag food are working for? They are supposed to be civil servants but that description seems odd – if they serve us, we should be more involved, but instead we are ignored.
    I’m furious to hear the news on food festivals this meeting and the problems that usually we hear nothing about.
    Wag food need shaking up and revamping
    I’d love to know how many staff they have on the food side and what they do, plus what their salary bill is – it will bear no relation to us hard done by producers, I’m certain about that.
    we are treated as unimportant but without us they wouldn’t have jobs in food would they?

  4. Welsh Silver Surfer

    February 16, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    can anyone tell me if any food producers were invited to this meeting?
    It says organisers but wouldn’t a representative number of traders have been a good idea
    or is this again wag deciding with their huge superior knowledge, as they have all done training as producers I’m sure, that there’s no need for producers to be there,
    guess this comes under the fobbed off of us all working together…

  5. Welsh food lover

    February 16, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    surely even Kath is going to get fed up of banging her head against this Wag brick wall.
    I have just read about food Hero and no idea what that’s about but she’s certainly my Food Queen

  6. foodie

    February 21, 2011 at 11:18 am

    It’s like living with the secret service
    it’s our food industry so tell us what’s going
    and you should certainly tell OUR foodie magazine
    this is very annoying

  7. Cheese

    February 25, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Kath you must have the patience of a saint to put up with all this, well let’s be polite and just say unprofessionalism from Wag Press Office.
    I thought they of all people would understand deadlines, but apparently not, this is not funny it’s pathetic.
    Their team should be working with you, they should be doing everything they can to give you the information you need. I disgusted to hear the run-around you have had on our behalf.
    If ever there was a food hero it has to be you and your team. You’re a superb ambassador for the Welsh food industry pity the guys at the top don’t recognise your work or your efforts.
    Well done FOOD HERO don’t let them grind you down

  8. foodie

    February 28, 2011 at 11:49 am

    I thought there was a food festival on this weekend in Swansea and was going to visit on Sunday. But I checked out visit Swansea and couldn’t find out anything.
    Eventually found it was Saturday only but it wasn’t easy
    Was this event funded by Wag in which case how did they get money out of them as it still does not seem sorted for this year?
    Secondly why hold any food event and not publicises it fully? it’s not fair to take money from tradestanders and not put any proper marketing and PR behind it. If only we could be more professional in Wales

  9. cheese

    February 28, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Wag hadn’t the good manners to invite you to this meeting – but what did we expect from them?
    As far as I can see you would have been as important as any of the organisers, their problem with you is that you don’t agree with everything, or maybe that should be anything, they say or do.
    I think it’s a rather pathetic attitude from them – but we do know Wag know best don’t we?

  10. trader

    March 3, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    festivals are really winding me up. A friend has emailed me saying that she’s heard that Saundersfoot says on another tourism website that they are being supported by Wag amongst others…..
    How does this festival system of funding work? Wouldn’t be useful if someone told us traders?
    You need us traders as much as we need you but you never think to keep us informed.
    I thought that Wag had yet to decide which festivals they were supporting and with how much money.
    Yet year after year, it seems nothing has changes. Wag carry on spending our money as they see fit. What a silly system/government we have to cope with in Wales it seems to me food is the wrst of all but guess that’s just because it’s so important to me.

  11. admin

    March 7, 2011 at 11:20 am

    I think this is because Saundersfoot is running under budget from Wag of 2010/11 and could one of the last ones that have have been funded over the last 3 year period. The period was 08/09, 09/10 and 10/11. We are still waiting to see what happens from April 2011.

  12. honey

    March 18, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    wag are in a world of their own – it’s not real!
    I’m at a loss to guess how much money wag has put into projects, which have achieved very little and cost a fortune. Their money wastage must be off the scale.
    If only they could be forced to take a reality check