Archive for May, 2012

True Taste Trailer Kitchen

31 May

The True Taste Trailer Kitchen is a topic a few of you have raised with me over time, basically complaining how expensive it was to hire etc. Not knowing how the TTTK worked, I asked a Freedom Of Information question, Number 5907.

Request for Information – Reference 5907

Q1         Are Howel Consultancy responsible for the True Taste Trailer Kitchen when it is taken out to events.

  1. Howel Food Consultancy is responsible for managing the True Taste Trailer Kitchen, but is not responsible for the management of the trailer at all events.  The trailer is occasionally managed by other private organisations when attending
    specific events. see document below.

Q2       When were Howel Consultancy awarded this contract by Welsh Government (Food)

  1. Howel Food Consultancy were awarded the current contract to manage the True Taste Trailer Kitchen in April 2010, prior to this a single tender exercise for each event was carried out.

Q3       Did Howel Consultancy tender for this Welsh Government (Food) True Taste Trailer Kitchen contract.

  1. Howel Food Consultancy was awarded the current contract to manage the True Taste Trailer kitchen following a mini competition to tender from the Food Procurement OJEU framework lot 4. A total of 3 Contractors come under Lot 4 of the Framework, all of which had the opportunity to tender. Howel Food was successful.

Q4 & 5 How many events did the True Taste Kitchen attend during 2008/9, 2009/10 and 2010/11; and what events were attended by the True Taste Trailer Kitchen during 2008/9, 2009/10 and 2010/11

a.     list  shown below

Q6.      What payments were made to Howel Consultancy for the True Taste Kitchen attending each event during 2008/9, 2009/10 and 2010/11?

  1. Payments made to Howel Food Consultancy during 08/09, 09/10 and 10/11 are included in the attached document – please note value of payments vary depending on the event; for example some include pitch costs, produce purchased for demonstrations as well as staff costs.


2008 / 09 Activity Location Howel Food Consultancy Payments – payments vary depending on the event; for example some include pitch costs, produce purchased for demonstrations as well as staff costs.
20 Sept – 5 Oct Tesco Tour Haverfordwest
x2, Llanelli x2, Swansea x3, Pontypridd x2, Maesteg x2, Bangor x2, Chester x2
October Royal Parks
Half Marathon
Hyde Park 1,357.86
2009 / 10      
  Urdd National Eisteddfod   No associated cost to Howel Food Consultancy
  CardiffFood & Drink Festival Cardiff No associated cost to Howel Food Consultancy
Sept/Oct British Food Fortnight Haverfordwet, Llanelli,Swansea, Treforest, Maesteg,Bangor, Wrexham 1,200 – Hybu Cig Cymru took forward the overall Management
October Opening of WG Offices Aberystwyth 1,692.19
October Cowbridge Food Festival Cowbridge 176.1 – Food Festival took forward overall cost
2010 / 11      
  Urdd National Eisteddfod   No Cost
June South WalesBoat Show Swansea 3,665.00
July Wakestock Pwllheli 3,613.00
July Llangollen International Eisteddfod Llangollen 7,286.10
July/August North WalesBoat Show Bangor 2,220.75
August Brecon Jazz Festival Brecon 4,668.18
August Cardiff HarbourFestival Cardiff 4,577.89
September St Fagans Food Festival Cardiff 6,505.72
October 20:20 Cricket Cardiff 3,709.90
Sept/Oct British Food Fortnight

Asda Tour

Swansea, Merthyr Tydfil, Cardiff,
Wrexham, Llandudno
September Skills Cymru Cardiff 355.32
September Opening of WG offices Llandudno 2,709.53
Sept/Oct Ryder Cup Newport 7,697.80
October Brakes Royal Parks 1/2Marathon Hyde Park,London 561.26 – Hybu Cig Cymru took forward the overall Management
October Cowbridge Food Festival Cowbridge 206.93 – Food Festival took forward overall cost
December Pre Christmas Tour 14 locations, 16 dates + 1 cancelled – Bridgend, Cwmbran, Pontypridd, Merthyr Tydfil, Maesteg, Porthaethwy, Caernarfon, Porthmadog, Cwmcerrig, Swansea, Llanelli, Camarthen, Haverfordwest, Cardigan(Aberystwyth) 13,100.00
January Love Food Big Pit, Blaenafon 1,996.64
February Get Welsh inSwansea Swansea 1,496.64
01/03/2011 St. David’s Day Celebration Marble Arch,London 3,500.00


To summarise:

In 2008/9 £12,817.86 was paid to 2009/10 £3,068.29 and 2010/11 £73,517,59

Total spend on the TTT Kitchen over those three years was £89,403.74 ……………………………. just for the kitchen!!!!!!




Funding For The Three Food Centres In Wales

31 May

The Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and European Programmes and Minister for Business, Enterprise,
Technology and Science have agreed to support the three Food Centres in Wales for the period from January to March 2012 at a rate of £35,000 per centre. The Ministers have also agreed the support the centres for the following three financial year
from 2012 to 2015 at a total cost of £1,560,000.

Statement of information

The Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and European Programmes and Minister for Business, Enterprise,
Technology and Science are being asked to authorise payments and commitmentsdue to individuals and organisations underapproved programmes of activity. These activities relate to the provision of support to the Food & Drink sector by engaging strategic partners in the delivery of new product development, technical advice, the lease of processing halls and incubator units, laboratory services, test kitchens, sensory analysis and associated activities.

I’ve just been alerted to this news by a trader, but it was news to me as I’d heard nothing about it. So I thought I’d see what was
happening at Horeb which is literally just down the road from me, only to find I couldn’t access their website as the links were broken. I know many producers, especially in Ceredigion, that could find many uses for £35k. I assume Horeb is still being funding by Ceredigion County Council and now intrigued to know what Horeb plans to spend it’s latest funding on………………


Miller Research Evaluation Of The Food Festivals Supply Chain Efficiency Project

30 May

Freedom Of Information Question 5807

The questions I asked on this FOI were:

“1. What additional work was undertaken over this two year period project during 2010 and 2011 by Miller Research. I require a full breakdown of payment made by Welsh Government please to Miller Research for this two year project.

2. Howel Food Consultancy worked in association with Miller Research on this two year project. What work
did they undertake? Full breakdown of payment made by WG please.

3. Reap & Sow Ltd also worked in association with Miller Research on this two year project. What work did they undertake? Full breakdown of payment made by WG please. The company Reap & Sow Ltd was dissolved in 2011.

4. Where any Welsh Food Consultancy companies asked to apply for the work undertaken by Reap & Sow Ltd?”

The response from the Welsh Government is shown in full as follows:

I am enclosing some of the information which you requested. As previously provided to you on the 25th July 2011, the total cost for Miller Research Evaluation of the Food Festivals Supply Chain Efficiency project is £80,320.09 and was funded via the Rural Development Plan for Wales through Welsh Government. This payment was paid in 5 instalments direct to Miller Research during the duration of the contract as follows:

£19,652.79 processed on the 31/12/2009

£19,652.79 processed on the 13/05/2010

£19,652.79 processed on the 09/09/2010

£854.46 processed on the 13/12/2010

£20,507.26 processed on the 04/08/2011

The only additional work undertaken by Miller Research (under contract Agreement Number: C255/208/09) was to facilitate a Food Festival Consultation Meeting on behalf of the Welsh Government. This was commissioned following your original enquiry received on the 25th July. The meeting was held on the 16th November 2011 and the full amount paid to Miller Research was £8,712.00.

I have not found any information that fits the questions described in points 2 & 3 & 4. The Welsh Government awarded the contract to Miller Research and does not hold this information.

You  have every right to this information, which, because my questions have been sent through FOI, is now published on the Welsh Government’s website and is therefore in the public domain.

At the moment I am not able to accept any comments on this item  which was initially posted in March. Can I suggest that if you have any comments on this that you send them directly to me and I’ll explain what has been happening.



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Grumbles Rumble On About Funding Of Welsh Food Festivals

29 May

I was hopeful that once we’d published on and welshfoodbites and then ensured our Best Of Welsh producers had got the wag food funding festival listing, that everything would calm down here, but that has not been the case.

Far too many producers have got grumbles on a variety of issues. There’s of course the old chestnut that they haven’t got into various festivals, they have been thrown out this year from festivals they have supported for years and then the numbers of English stands that are being allowed into Welsh festivals. Now as if that wasn’t enough hassle, I’m getting complaints that this year Pembrokeshire Fish Week has taken funding from the food festival budget.

According to wag, PFW applied and received funding for this year of £31,671.00. Yet according to me, PFW was funded under Rural Development Plan, RDP from 2007 – 2013. Last year PFW received RDP funding of £55,636, plus £30,711 from Pembrokeshire County Council. In 2010 grant funding was £77,157. I’m not surprised that with the Pembrokeshire County Council ‘form filling team’ assisting the Fish Week team, I’d expect their paperwork to be in order! So PFW was one of the lucky 33 out of 52 festivals that applied for funding, to get it. But what is puzzling me at the moment is that I didn’t think EU could award two grants to the same event.
So I’ll continue to investigate that one………………………………….

Update 1st June

I asked Pembrokeshire Press Office to help me on my Fish Week query and there response is as follows:

 The Pembrokeshire Fish Week festival was part funded through the Rural Development Plan for Wales under axis 3 from 2007 to 2010. Because the start of this funding programme was delayed, this continued until November 2011. The festival has received no RDP funding since this date.

So that clarifies PFW is not getting funding from RDP and festival funding budget, which is good. However, Kath’s still not happy wag. As PFW now joins Wag’s Big 3 to become one of Wag’s Big 4  – that these 4 festivals take nearly £138k out of wag’s £339,280 festival budget. But I do wonder if there is any hope of PFW achieving wag’s wish of ever festivals becoming self funding. Yet as  Abergavenny, Cardiff and Conwy haven’t had to so far, I don’t think PFW need worry – doesn’t look like wag actually mean for that to happen – you can jsut keep growing and wag will give you International status to your funding can just carry on flowing into your coffers. Different story for those smaller festivals who didn’t get any money at all or didn’t get as much as they requested.




50p For Water At The Beach Hut, Llangrannog

28 May

We’ve been fairly regular visitors at this café over the years, bearing in mind we try to avoid the tourists during July and August and of course this place closes out of season.

But on Sunday we parked in the car park and strolled down to the beach for a coffee. Now bearing in mind that this place has a large sign shouting that they serve West Country ice-cream, Ian ordered a mocha, a double espresso and a glass of tap water to go with the espresso. Now hope you are sitting down, because he was then charged 50 pence for the half pint of tap water. He politely explained that water was generally served with espresso coffee but that made no difference, 50 pence charged stayed!

Well Beach Hut I’ve tolerated, grudgingly, that you don’t support the many wonderful Welsh ice-cream producers and for some reason you can see some logic that you offer our visitors West Country ice-cream rather than Welsh ice-cream. ….. Don’t you feel it would help all round if you supported Welsh ice-cream producers, let alone other Welsh food producers? It makes sense to me to sell Welsh ice-cream in Wales, but seemingly not The Beach Hut in Llangrannog.

Anyway back to my original grumble, why charge 50 pence for a glass of tap water? Is it because it’s now tourist season and tourists are allowed to be ripped off? Or is it that you are not aware espresso is ‘usually’ served with a glass of water? Well whatever your reason, just let me say that we’ll not darken your doors again and shall return to other favourites in Ceredigion, The Hive in Aberaeron and The Bosun’s Locker in New Quay.


Welsh Government Says It’s Committed To Better Value For Money

28 May

I couldn’t resist sharing this with you all, as the heading alone on this post will certainly raise a few smirks if not hackles amongst our Best Of Wales & Borders producers. Especially as we have a whole department devoted to this objective.

The Welsh Government is committed to achieving best value for money in all our public services. The Value Wales Division of the Welsh Government has the role of supporting public sector organisations in making the Welsh pound go

Value Wales acts as a catalyst for change, providing leadership, strategic direction, procurement training and best practice guidance to help public sector organisations in Wales achieve real and sustainable improvements.

Buying Smarter

We work in partnership with the Welsh public sector to promote professionalism and improve the value for money obtained from procurement activities; thereby supporting the delivery of public services while benefiting the economic, environmental and social landscape of Wales.

We assist Welsh Government officials, partners and stakeholders to meet their business objectives, ensuring best practice and value for money whilst working on schemes, arrangements and policies for the benefit of the people of Wales. Further guidance on supplying goods and services to the Welsh Government can currently be found under ‘Winning our Welsh Government

Public service bodies in Wales are estimated to spend about £4 billion each year on buying goods and services from suppliers. It’s important that every pound that is spent is done so wisely, achieving best value for the people of Wales. That’s why we have introduced such initiatives as the Welsh Purchasing Card, designed to eliminate bureaucracy in purchasing and deliver cost savings.

The card is available to the public sector in Wales on a no-fee basis and encourages staff to obtain goods quickly and easily. Similarly, it improves cash-flow for suppliers by guaranteeing payment within 3-4 working days.

The Welsh Purchasing Card is just one procurement initiative designed to create efficiencies and savings across the public sector.




The Sun Shines On Caerphilly Food Festival

28 May

With wag putting £9,753 of funding into this one day festival I was looking forward to see how Caerphilly ran it. It started well with AA signs going into Caerphilly directing you to their Park & Ride service. That worked well and really made life easy for locals getting into the festival. Caerphilly had also been clever as the Olympic torch was also travelling through Caerphilly that morning which created a huge buzz and I’d never seen the town so busy. What a great start.

The stalls lined the street but I couldn’t find any map or list of stands, but maybe I missed were they were. I’d taken a list of traders off their website on Thursday, which was good to have that, but there were as always anomalies. But I soon spotted one of our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers, (BOW), Ralph’s Cider and it was good to see them there. Although they might not have been sited in the busiest area the weather certainly made a big difference after the wet, cold, windy days they’ve been trading in so far.

There were three cookery demo areas running which was quite a lot, but what I did appreciate was that Caerphilly had asked the producers that had taken stands to do the demos. What a great idea!  I went along to see one of our Best Of Welsh & Borders,  Goldie from SamosaCo in action and I was impressed with her skill and her rapport with the audience. What I found disappointing was her microphone wasn’t working and right across from this demo area was a stand that had a selection of parrots squawking away throughout her slot and of course the other producers that fololwed. Surely a little thought was all that was needed here. Birds are noisy and although they were a great attraction they should not have been sited by a demo area. I struggled also to find a list of demos, who was doing what and when and it was 12.30 before a Caerphilly employee had time to put the list out on view. Although there was hand washing facilities and think a few cooks had to run around to find water to cook with. I appreciate that the council; had a lot on, but planning and preparation could have easily sorted out these niggly bits. I do though have to give you 10 out of 10 for having the sense to use the cookery talent that was already attending – that was a smart move and I know that mahny of them then got good trader back on their stands as well. What a bonus!

I was unimpressed to see the garlic man who’d travelled up from the Isle of Wight and a huge stand Vins De France. I didn’t bother to count the Welsh stands versus English and European and as I haven’t heard of any Welsh stands couldn’t get into this event, I’ll leave that one there. What did not impress me was that there were eight cup cakes stands – eight – is that overkill or what? I’ve no
idea how many of the eight were professionals, but it’s sad if there is so much competition from some if the are just ‘playing’ at it. It also good to catch up with Mike from Cwm Deri Vineyard, another of our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers, who was having a very busy show – great news.

What I do find disappointing is the number of stands that haven’t got their own banners, business cards or any literature about the company either.  Unprofessional to say the least……………….

Walking back to the car late in the afternoon, across Castle Green, I‘d though get very cross with the massive amount of litter everywhere. This time I can’t totally blame the public because every litter bin I passed was totally full. Please, please, please, if you are planning to hold two busy events in one day, you are bound to get lots of litter  – then for goodness sake get the bins emptied beforehand. Just in case anyone from Caerphilly wishes to take me to task on that, it is going to cost you as a council a
lot of man hours to clear all that rubbish away, as it was bloowing all over the place, instead of just emptying the
bins again. You are not encouraging people to use bins if they are always full and that’s a poor message to send to the people of Caerphilly and your visitors. The festival was held with such a beautiful background of the castle and ruined for me with all this rubbish. I did notice ‘yellow jackets’ about picking up some rubbish but full bins was your biggest problem.



Cowbridge Food and Drink Festival Gives A Tradestand Update

23 May

After hearing too many of your grumbles about not getting into some food festivals, our team have been chatting to the Welsh Government and a few organisers to see if we can get any clarification. I’m  always upset when any of our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers aren’t allowed in!!! But Polly Wilson from Cowbridge Food and Drink Festival, which this year runs from 27-28th October, was quick to respond and explain how things work there. This is how Cowbridge operates:

“On behalf of the Cowbridge Food and Drink Festival Committee I would like to thank everyone for their expressions of interest in having a stall this year. It is unfortunate that we can’t fit everyone in as there are some amazing producers
out there.
For 2012 we had 120 forms for 80 stalls. We have to keep a few free for now as this leaves us the option of inviting sponsors to exhibit. Otherwise these will be filled from the exceptional waiting list. We are ever grateful to the wonderful John Family who loan us the site (free of charge) that holds the exhibition marquees. We use as much space as humanly possible but there are
still 3 businesses in this area who need to function. Therefore, without significant changes to the festival, we will always be limited to these 80 stalls.

In 2011 we changed our applications process to our current system whereby we set a deadline for interest and then meet as a sub-committee of 7 (including 2 producers) to select a good balance of exhibitors. As soon as the deadline date has passed we close the database until the following January and ask any further people expressing interest, to contact us then. We still receive many calls and emails up until October and adding each one can be time-consuming. This year the form was sent to the database of over 300, plus others requested and those passed on by past exhibitors.

From the expressions we will each have preferred existing exhibitors who we know have a great following with returning clientele. But we feel we need to have 10-15% of new or returning exhibitors to keep the festival fresh. The geographical question always comes up and generally the exhibitors from outside Wales are of exceptional quality and fill a particular niche that we want represented and have no alternative application from closer.

We feel that this process has allowed us to have a much better variety of produce and this year we have over 60 primary producers exhibiting. We know that visitors like to see tasters having paid to get in and nearly 60 this year
will be offering samples. These are bits of information that we ask on the form which are useful statistics for our funders but do not generally sway our decision. We also ask for awards won as this can be indicative quality and also can prove press-worthy later in the process. This is also useful regarding True Taste winners as we have started highlighting these with True Taste logos as it was felt in the past that we did not show enough presence of the logo. As we run the week of the awards, we don’t know the updated list until we are on site!

We have always been reluctant to have strict criteria drawn up as this will limit our ability to respond to feedback and our individual judgements. If each festival had the same criteria then festivals would become very “samey” which
is not what we want.

Prior to this process starting, we opened applications and kept accepting until we were full, only turning down exhibitors when it was felt there was too much of a certain product. This meant for example, that we might accept a pancake stall from Shrewsbury and later get a great application from Barry and not be able to accommodate them.

We ask for full details of produce they want to sell so that we can make sure we don’t have too many preserves perhaps. I am going to a food festival shortly and note from the website that of 40 stalls, 8 have listed a preserve element in their wares. It also means that if a form states brownies, cupcakes and flapjacks we might offer them a stall rather than allocate 3 separate stalls.

After two years of using this process we feel that it offers a much better and fairer platform for exhibitors but we recognise that there will always be those disappointed for no fault of their own. We are always open to feedback from exhibitors or visitors regarding this process or any other matter and if it is felt there is a better way, we will look into it.

These are difficult times for producers everywhere and we have held our exhibitor charges at £160 for a normal stall for several years now which we feel is competitive. We do not want to put the price up to get fewer applications but think that this price is a contributory factor in our popularity because it is so cost effective. Our ticket price will also stay the same this year as the simplified system of £4/day worked very well last year.

We know that Cowbridge Food and Drink Festival is in a very privileged position of being able to chose from great producers and still have a very strong reserve list but this ultimately does cause disappointment. We would welcome any feedback on how we could improve this process and invite producers to apply next year even if they have not been successful this year. Ultimately, if we are to continue in this difficult climate we need to do all we can to support as many producers as we possibly can.

Now I know that some of our ‘Best of Welsh & Border producers have not got in again at Cowbridge, plus a couple of them I think have been bumped out this year. I understand your massive disappointment at missing out on such a brilliant and financially rewarding festival, nothing hits home harder than not being able to get accepted. But let’s be realistic, it’s a fantastic festival, one of my favourites, I must confess, but as it’s such a good money earner, Cowbridge like many others will continue to be heavily oversubscribed. On the site in town, Cowbridge haven’t room to expand and add more stands and so we must all accept that fact.

I’d love to see stands in the High Street and the High Street closed off but I’m sure locals would hang me for saying that. My challenge to you guys that missed out is to read carefully Polly’s criteria and see how you can prove to her next year that your stand is one she cannot do without!!!!
Get your application in early and give much more thought about the produce you want to take, the awards you have won, have you got some different lines to your competitors? Literally sell yourself to Polly and her team, say why Cowbridge will be better with you there!!!!!

I was impressed that at least at Cowbridge do have producers on the selection committee. That’s good, but maybe even better might be to include a true professional trader that is doing festivals week in week out. They will really understand festival problems, they’ll know the good traders and they’ll spot what I’m now calling ‘Pin Money Traders’ which I think is often
covering the influx of some cup cake and jam makers. I’d also like to see my suggested professsional  trader, named to all tradestands so they can be used as a sort of ‘trader rep’ for the festival. Any tradestand problems can be directed through them and then taken further if needed. If they’ve been on the committee, then I’m sure there will be fewer issues cropping up initially and it would perhaps take some of the hassle away from people like Polly during the event. I’m not sure if this idea has been tried at food festivals –  sorry if it has and failed, but it’s a method I seen used to great effect on the equestrian circuit with the competitiors.

Another idea, which I accept some festivals will not like, is they send out to traders a tradestand map with your forms and you say which area you’d prefer to go in, or maybe say you don’t care as long as you can go! Where you are sited is a huge problem, especially at the larger festivals and often you don’t know until weeks before where you have been put, if you are told at all! Again at larger festivals different prices, would premium prices work for busy areas, or would it be easier to have slightly cheaper stands on the outskirts?

Not sure if I agree totally that food festivals could in the future be in danger of being samey. I can’t be sure of course how many people are regular food festival junkies like Ian and I are, but think that’s unlikely. Many traders haven’t got the time, staff and money to travel from one end of Wales to the other and although I accept there will be some, just not a huge amount. So for me that’s not a problem, especially as our selection of produce is so good that visitors enjoy the tasting opportunities and being able to chat to the people that our producing such fantastic food.  You really cannot get that experience in the supermarket, no matter where you shop.

So with lots of things to talk and ponder about, I’ll leave that with you……………………………..


Welsh Food Festivals Create Confusion With Trade Stand Rejections

23 May

This has always been a regular complaint reported to me from traders all over Wales. I think the bulk of the complaints have been levelled at Abergavenny, which is understandable as it is such a popular and busy event. You can read last year’s post about Abergavenny and I think that was the festival when far too many traders were very unhappy – and that was from those that got accepted. At the moment, as I say, complaints are for those that once again haven’t got in. I’d
heard various reasons why not but have nothing official in writing that I can post for you. So I decided to query with the Welsh Government Press Office to see if any additional criteria had been sent to festival organisers. All our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers had sent out to them on 30th January, I think, the Food Festival Funding Criteria. But just in case it’s of interest I’ve added it again after the press statement from the Press Office.

Criteria for Food Festival funding is as laid out in the annex (sent previously). NO additional criteria has been issued by the Welsh Government. In addition – the Welsh Government plays no role in the selection of individual food and drink producers to attend festivals which are supported by a Food Festival Grant. This is a matter for the festival organiser – as long as they strictly comply with the criteria set down as a condition of any grant awarded.

Food Festival Funding Criteria

 All events supported will have food activity as the core. The whole cost of the event must be shown in the application form to include added value elements e.g. music, street theatre, cookery demonstrations etc

Small Festivals with less than 3,000 footfall must have no less than 25 food producers exhibiting to be eligible for support. Food and Drink producers must also form at least 80% of the total exhibitors.

Large Festivals with over 3,000 footfall must have no less than 35 food producers exhibiting to be eligible for support. Food and Drink producers must also form at least 80% of the total exhibitors.

(The number of other exhibitors e.g. Craft, Community will be taken into account when assessing an application).

 unding is not  available for activity which adds value to an existing attraction. E.g. where a charge is made to enter a premises and the food activity is an added attraction.

 (Where the charge makes a direct contribution to the funding of the festival then these may be considered for support.)

 Activity which adds value to an existing market (e.g Farmers Market) will no longer be eligible for support.

 All applications will be required to submit a business plan as part of the application process.  As a minimum, your plan must cover the following matters:

 Aims, objectives and targets

    • Governance and management arrangements with details of relevant experience and track record
    • Budget forecast  (income and expenditure projections)
    • Support from other public sector agencies, for example: local authorities and national governing bodies of sport
    • Details of other funding sources including private sector/commercial sponsorship
    • Risk Management
    • Marketing Plans
    • Legacy Plans
    • Welsh Language provision
    • Sustainable event management
    • Waste Management     

 Existing Festivals over £10k will be required to submit a full set of your most recent Audited Accounts.

 Existing Festivals under £10k will be required to submit a cash flow statement with opening and closing balances taken from your most recent set of accounts.

 New Festivals which have never previously applied for funding, will be measured on their application form and business plan alone with your financial proposals.

Should applications exceed available funding, criteria listed below will be considered when deciding who to award funding to:

 Target visitor numbers and actual visitor numbers achieved in previous years.

  • Number of producers above the lower limit of 25 or 35.
  • Size of financial contributions from other (non-W.G.) partners and direct contributions from festival resources
  • Geographical location
  • Historical performance (if applicable)
  • Local Economic benefit
  • Delivery
  • Infrastructure
  • Sustainable Strategies
  • Innovation
  • Food Culture
  • Benefit to Local Community

So there you have it officially from the Welsh Government, providing food festival organisers stick to wag’s criteria they can ‘make-up’ their own selection procedure for tradestands. So the ball is back in the organiser’s court, which in my view is fair enough. However what I’d like to see is organisers letting traders know very early on what they are looking for, so then, so that maybe,
you can perhaps give a bit more time and thought to filling in your application forms.

If any of you have any explanation in writing that you wish me to take up on your behalf – please send it through. Or if you just want me to have it for my information only – just send it through. You have my assurance that you will never be named as a company unless you wish me to do that.

In my ‘ideal’ world, I’d never get a complaint about any food festival –  ever again, but I will not hold my breath! The recession is not helping and of course. Better than most maybe our team at Welsh Country magazine know how tough life is out there for you. But somehow let’s find a way to improve what we can. Some food festivals are happy to talk to us and are often receptive to our feedback, which of course by and large comes from you anyway.

This is some progress, albeit rather small. Sadly not many understand how difficult life is in the food business here in Wales………………..


Welsh Food At The Smallholder Show

21 May

The only way I can start this post is to query, yet again, why this event has not got funding from wag again this year. In my research, I’ve established that this event has never been funded from the Food Festival budget, but from ‘Promoting Welsh Food’ – Budget Expenditure Line. From last year under the latest festival criteria rules, festivals have to have food as the core activity. Some years ago Steve Shearman, was asked by wag to run this event for them, but last year was then told that there would be no funding for the Smallholder. Further investigation uncovered how Smallholder had been funded. I asked how much had
been in the ‘Promoting Welsh Food’ – Budget Expenditure Line for 2008/9, 2009/10, 2010/11, who received funding from this budget over these three years and finally how this funding was allocated. I was told that my questions were so time consuming, it would cost wag over £600 to determine if they hold this information, to retrieve and extract it, so wag decided not to process my

Well that wasn’t useful, bearing in mind this is funding from a wag budget and I’m simply asking how it was spent. Can you really expect me to believe that wag are so sloppy that they don’t keep financial records of how they spend our money? Of course the RWS Show and the Winter Fair food halls are funded by wag and these two events obviously don’t have food as their core activity, but seemingly those two exceptions are allowed because wag are allowed to make their own rules
and keep the secret if they so wish.

In 2010, food hall hire for RWS was £65,403.32 and for the Winter Fair was £19,975.00. Event Build and Management Costs were £131,968.22 and £56,078.64 respectively. So these are not cheap events to put on but wag in its wisdom have decided to pull the plug again this year for Smallholder and in effect give out food producers another slap in the face. In the RWS especially you see large, large companies that are purely there for PR and can easily afford stands that are not subsidised by wag, whilst genuine micro and small producers simply cannot afford to take a stand at the RWS. But sadly wag appears not to care about this
quirk either.

Now I’ve reminded you of my background work, let me return to my visit there yesterday. Hardworking organiser Steve Shearman had no choice last year to substantially raise his stand prices and this has a huge knock on effect down the line, some traders couldn’t cope with the increase and didn’t attend, others had to take this hit and accept their overheads had rocketed. Thankfully all traders were aware that the tradestand price increase was down to an unsupportive wag, not to Steve.

I had many complaints from producers about the number of festivals they’d not been accepted for and the main culprits were: Abergavenny, Cardiff and Cowbridge. I know that these three are popular festivals and organisers know that they are in the fortunate position that they can pick and choose who they accept. But I do wish that applications gave producers full details and not say when they are rejected maybe they should have sent samples in because we don’t know you. I can tell you now that being a True Taste winner didn’t help this particular company! What I would also like some organisers to think about whilst they are in the position of playing God, that some of these companies rely on festivals and markets for their livelihood, not many of them have the back up of also being in super markets, they are simply too small to take this route. My final comment is that when producers have been loyal, supporting your event since it first started surely should count from something instead of being thrown out like last weeks rubbish.

There was a good mix of stands in the food hall, some superb produce available. It’s always a pleasure too to see so many of our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers there too. Steve had put  tentage outside with tables and chairs so visitors could buy and eat their food in comfort, but I hated seeing people using this area for their own packed lunch. Yes I know they were saving money and I no times are tough, but I’m also sure they did not give the producers a thought. In their eyes it was just somewhere to sit and eat their picnic in comfort!!!!

I got very mixed reports, which is the normal, but I’m safe in saying that many traders were well down on last year and the year before. The recession isn’t helping anyone, but all those traders would have been far happier if wag had supported this event.

Try as I might I cannot understand why wag don’t fund the Smallholder. How can wag food appear to think that it’s not important to have a Welsh food presence at the Smallholder? If they do believe that’s true then I think some of them need reminding of which department they are working for.

Well done wag another own goal.

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