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Food Festival Funding

06 Feb

Food Festival Funding, as happens each year, I’m getting asked what’s happening about Welsh Government food festival funding. Sadly, as always, I haven’t a clue. I’ve heard many rumours, but can assure you when wag food tell me – which hopefully they will – our Best Of Welsh & Border producers will be the first to know. Plus then it will be posted on welshfoodbites.co.uk.

One producer suggested I ask the Welsh Government’s press office, which certainly made me chuckle as seemingly he’s been reading welshfoodbites otherwise he’s know that for the second time the wag press office have refused to answer any questions from me, as Welsh Country magazine. Apparently we posted on welshcountry.co.uk a press release from Open Spaces Group, but wag press office, as so many people do, visited our welshcountry website and spotted the Open Spaces post. We were then in trouble because we as Welsh Country hadn’t gone back to the press office to give them a right of reply! Apparently the press office expects a right of reply on issues/articles that relate to the Welsh Government, which they say they get from all other Welsh media. So the Welsh Government press office now class welshcountry.co.uk as ‘merely a depository for unchallenged press releases’ and believe we should make that clear on our site. I’m perfectly happy with welshcountry.co.uk, I’m thrilled with visitor numbers we get on our site and the positve feedback we get from it too! If we had the time and the staff to read through in detail every press release we post and thenh if wag was mentioned I might consider doing just that, but it seems they are ok with my chasing them up three times for a question I wanted answered. The press office appear unconcerned that we do not post any Welsh Government press releases on welshcountry.co.uk  or in Welsh Country magazine, not sure why that is……..

I find this attitude petty and pointless and achieves nothing apart from the press office trying to stamp their influence on Welsh Country magazine. This is the second occasion the wag press office have refused to answer my questions, I find it simply annoying and frustrating. So no questions answered through the press office but thank goodness the Freedom Of Information Act, (FOI), is still an option open to me,  albeit it takes 20 days to achieve that. Perhaps if wag press office were funding their own office and staff and were not being paid for by the tax payer, they’d realised how expensive and time consuming the FOI is. Yes I realise I’m being harsh and unfair as it’s unrealistic for me to expect civil servants to understand the difference between civil servants and those running businesses.

Anyway the latest news on food festival funding for 2017 is there isn’t any. Food festivals that are advertising this year will of course get our support in Welsh Country magazine, on our website and of course on social media too but if/when a list of Welsh Government funded food festivals is ‘sent’ through to me it will as always be sent around our Best Of Welsh & Border producers and then posted on welshfoodbites.co.uk.

Sorry I can’t give you the information you are asking me for but that’s the situation we are in.

 
 

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  1. bow

    February 6, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    Hi Kath
    Thanks for all your efforts, your patience must now be lost.
    I’m also being stupid thinking wag food would tell you about what’s with food festivals, but why should this year be any different to the last ten years or more?
    Wag food are also being stupid because if they want food and drink growth why the deuce don’t they work with you?
    As for the press office – TIME, WASTE, OF – rearrange if you can!
    It’s beyond my understanding all this aggro with wag food and press office, but like you and Ian I also run a business I could never be a civil servant where commonsense is a lost cause.

     
  2. Jay

    February 6, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    I don’t know anyone who would have put up with the total rubbish you have had from wag and wag food. It is beyond my comprehension that we and you still have no idea what wag food are doing this year about food festival funding.
    Every year it’s the same lack lustre performance from wag food
    Kath just give up, let wag win, because until they gain the ability to listen and learn, nothing will improve. If Welsh food and drink grows it will be despite wag food not because of the job they are doing.
    You promised you backed prodcuers and my word you have. But even you cannot have imagined you’d have to put up with bullying and so much rubbish from wag.

     
  3. admin

    February 6, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    I made a promise to our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers and that was my choice.
    I just didn’t appreciate how difficult it would be trying to get responses to my questions

     
  4. Foodie 2

    February 6, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    There are a couple of interesting points here. We now know that WAG read welshcountry.co.uk and must do so on a regular basis. I presume they also read this blog, it is such a pity they do not take any notice of the depth of frustration from the producers.
    They said in the past you are not a journalist, so they cannot hold you to account on any journalistic piece! So therefore it follows that you are an individual, and have the right of free speech. They cannot have it both ways.
    I disagree with others saying give it up. Without a thorn in their sides, we would not know what they were doing, if anything. When I asked a simple question about a funding stream, I was not told the truth. We need someone to challenge them, so please keep going!

     
  5. admin

    February 7, 2017 at 9:19 am

    My view is wag can have things anyway they wish, whenever they wish.
    Why wag cannot take any notice of the depth of frustration from producers is a mystery to me and always has been.
    I’m happy to challenge the frustration is no-one taking any notice!!!
    thanks for leaving a comment.

     
  6. Jerry

    February 7, 2017 at 9:28 am

    Kath I don’t agree you should give up with wag or wga food because doing so makes them the winners and us living in a Welsh dictatorship
    The work you do for producers and the massive effort you Ian and the team have put into Welsh food and drink over the years needs to be recognised and praised not penalised by wag food. That’s wrong.
    You got an award a few years back when you were called a hero by Countryside Alliance, not a term you liked, but at least you were highlighted for all your hard work on food and drink in Wales.
    Do not give up please. You’re the only one listening and understanding what help we need.
    It’s not your fault wag food have closed ears.

     
  7. admin

    February 7, 2017 at 9:40 am

    Thanks for comment
    No hated being called a hero – our soldiers are our heroes but it was kind of people/producers to put my name forward to the CA.

     
  8. Susie

    February 7, 2017 at 11:29 am

    I wish I could give you some other suggestions in how to get wag food and wag to understand that you’ll all achieve more for Welsh food and drink if you can work together.
    I’m a micro producer and have been with Best of Welsh for quite a few years after meeting you and Ian at a farmers’ market and then often at food festivals.
    You guys are our source of inspiration, help and a listening ear. Never once have I heard from a BOW producer that you couldn’t be bothered to help or suggest where to go to for help.
    Welsh Country is a top quality magazine that encourages people to support us and Welsh food and drink. Why you’re not backed by wag and wag food makes no sense to me, I find it disgraceful. Keep this site going because you are airing time and again the problems we have with wag food.
    Having said that, no-one has had more problems with wag food than you have. A press office that wont answer your questions is a farce – I say we stop paying for them.

     
  9. BOW

    February 7, 2017 at 11:33 am

    I agree with other comment left saying keep the pressure on wag and wag food too, but realise we producers are being selfish asking you to keep doing so when we are not paying you to run this site or keep asking wag food questions that the press office now will not answer. To me that’s stupid, it makes no sense. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer wag, yet that’s unfair to class Kath as other than helping producers, despite the way they bully her.
    Would you stop this site if wag asked you too Kath?

     
  10. Meat man

    February 7, 2017 at 11:34 am

    Give up Kath you’re not getting anywhere with wag food just as you struggled and then gave up with HCC.

     
  11. admin

    February 7, 2017 at 11:52 am

    Please don’t forget it is my choice to keep asking questions that our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers want answers to.
    I don’t have to do that.
    I don’t see myself as an enemy of wag or wag food but as a journalist it’s my job to ask questions and keep asking until I get answers. That’s now difficult with the press office banning me from asking questions.
    Would I stop this site if wag asked me to. Well that would be difficult for wag to do as they are not talking to me wouldn’t it? But should that
    Seriously they would have to make a very good case to allow me to consider it and from their current stance – that will not happen now but has in the past, believe it or not. If it does happen again I’ll let you know!!!!!!!!
    I think a Welsh food and drink site is very important, as our rankings on welshfoodbites show. I do have ideas for another site, ideally with a very different format to welshfoodbites, but time and funding are needed.

     
  12. BOW

    February 8, 2017 at 9:41 am

    I’m also tempted to say give up with wag food but take the point left saying we need you to keep trying to get through to wag food. But also see the point made in another comment left left saying you are not getting paid to put pressure on wag food. Add to that the press office kicking Welsh Country into touch AGAIN, it’s so childish.
    I’m settling into thinking we are not being fair expecting you to keep asking wag food what’s happening and getting little back from them. You can’t make them listen to you and I don’t then see how you can change their attitude.
    You’re well known for telling wag food communication is the key, but they can’t even grasp simple concept, so all is lost despite your longstanding efforts.

     
  13. Hunny

    February 8, 2017 at 9:47 am

    If wag food were running a business we’d have known late December what food festivals are running this year.
    It’s not a worry to wag food which festivals are running as it doesn’t alter wag food staff pay checks.
    Pity no-one in the wag food team has the practical knowledge of the food industry, especially micro businesses like you and Ian.
    Surely your readers want to know which food festivals are running this year?

     
  14. admin

    February 8, 2017 at 10:08 am

    Of course my readers, as they have an interest in Welsh food and drink, want food festival dates but it is prodcuers that are keen to know what’s happening this year. Since wag food no longer advertise with WCM I do not publish a full list of wag supported food festivals. It’s our editorial policy to support them in WCM, welshcountry.co.uk and social media where possible. For those food festivals who are advertising with WCM we do just that and also send around to our Best Of Welsh producers application forms or any info. the festivals want our producers to have. We are there to help them but they MUST advertise with us. All wag funded festivals are posted on welshfoodbites but that’s as far as it goes.

     
  15. bow

    February 8, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Another year and another long wait before wag food tell us which festivals are being funded this year.
    You have tackled this issue every year since you started this site in 2010 – you explain why it’s important we are told early, but wag food ignore everything you say. I like many don’t understand why wag food cannot basically get a grip on this issue, above many others.
    No producers have any right to ask you to keep going with wag food because we are not paying you for this and all the endless questions you try and get answered for us. Many producers forget how seriously you’ve been bullied by this government all for doing your job as a journalist and editor of the brilliant Welsh Country magazine.
    That’s where I think we are and I’ll say for your sanity Kath forget wag food, give up and let them win but please keep this site running if you can as I can find out a little what goes on in our industry.

     
  16. trader

    February 8, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    Let’s be fair to wag food folks, why are we expecting them to sort out food festival funding quickly? It’s obviously not a priority for them and NOTHING, NOTHING will make wag food change despite our wishes.

     
  17. Bow

    February 8, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    I was at a local food market yesterday and there was a lot of talk about your latest piece on welshfoodbites
    wag food are totally out-of-touch with food producers and Kath would say media too I’m sure.
    We haven’t a hope of getting this basic information from wag food until they wish to give it to us. Wish they’d do a job swap with me. I’d love the security of a regular salary each month, holiday and sick pay and a pension.

     
  18. John

    February 9, 2017 at 9:28 am

    As a Bow and therefore a regular reader of Welsh Country I’m fuming that HCC, wag food, visit Wales and the rest of government, do not advertise with you. I cannot fault the content or the quality of the magazine but as you are right across Wales it makes no sense to me as a food producer why you get no support from them. I can understand HCC and wag food not being happy let’s say with welshfoodbites, but you shouldn’t be punished for telling things as they are.
    My brother is in PR and Marketing and he can make no sense of this either, he’s says ‘lost opportunities’ which he’d never allow to happen. He’s not a civil servant, but runs his own business! Is that the difference?

     
  19. admin

    February 9, 2017 at 10:36 am

    Ian and I have spent many years doing PR & Marketing like your brother.
    I’ve explained this before and will not do so again – promise.
    Our editorial policy is to support all advertisers, which also includes welshcountry.co.uk and social media. We also try and help with any queries our advertisers might have. That’s how WCM works.
    Wag, wag food HCC, Visit Wales etc. have their own marketing and advertising plans and these have rarely included WCM, but there is nothing further we can do apart from keep contact with them and after thirteen years it is let’s say difficult!
    HCC have never supported WCM and so at my request I was taken off their press mailing list. We need to work together but that’s not happened. A lost oportunity – yes- as each issue I published 4 recipes and HCC have recipes………
    I get press releases from Natural Rescources Wales, but as they are not with WCM, they are not used, but interesting to see what they are doing.
    I get regular ones from Visit Wales too and a few from wag food but again I cannot use from either source, so again lost opportunities.
    I agree that wag food ‘might’ not be happy with welshfoodbites, but I say again I only created welshfoodbites when wag food pulled their advertising with us for 2010.Welshfoodbites would never have been started if wag food had stayed with us. I couldn’t have done that, as it would go against our promise to advertisers that we are there to support them!!!!!!
    But I must say again all the departments you mention make their own advertising decisions and as we have failed to change their decsions we must accept them. They all know we are here, they all know WCM goes across Wales, they all know we want to work with them, but as the saying goes you can take a horse to water, but cannot make it drink!
    This is the FINAL time I’m explaining where we are as regards wag, wag food HCC, Visit Wales etc.

     
  20. Long time BOW

    February 9, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    The only way wag food and other government depts will change their attitude and listen is for them to run their own busineses.
    That will never ever happen, so throw in the towel Kath, you can do no more to be heard and still think producers shouldn’t ask you too.

     
  21. admin

    February 9, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    Thanks for your comment but do remember it’s my choice to offer help to producers
    I’m just upset that the issues I raise don’t get changed.

     
  22. bow

    February 10, 2017 at 9:05 am

    I’m long term visitor to this site and have been with Welsh Country for many years. These guys work hard for us, way above what a 6 issue advert costs. Without this site I’d know nothing of what is happening in Welsh food. That’s because wag food cannot be bothered talking to us, whereas Kath and Ian send us regular emails – when there is any news, plus we have this site.
    It looks to me that Kath and Ian are doing much of what I’d expect wag food to be doing. Wag’s bullying would have stopped most people in their tracks, for good, but not Kath. Wag have met their match they just need the guts now to offer Kath an olive branch and a huge apology, still that wont happen now, more’s the pity for producers. Just because wag have the budgets and control does not excuse their behaviour towards Kath. In my view this is not acceptable for any government, but who does she complain too? The government? That’s a joke!
    I’ve not a pr and marketing background and so no training in this area, but what I do have, unlike in my view wag food, is common sense!

     
  23. Mr T

    February 10, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Kath you’ve done a great job fighting our corner but time for you to admit defeat and give up. These guys are not worth any more of your time.

     
  24. admin

    February 10, 2017 at 9:14 am

    My take is that common sense is NOT commonly available! In business it’s needed in the government it seems not. Grateful for your comment.

     
  25. admin

    February 10, 2017 at 9:17 am

    Kath why wont HCC work with Welsh Country?
    It makes no sense especially when there are recipe chances in the mag too. That stupid.

     
  26. admin

    February 10, 2017 at 9:29 am

    We have tried for years and years to get HCC working with WCM including talking endlessly with one of their PR companies in Cardiff when one of our team was told WE were too passionate about Welsh food. A comment that was later denied by the PR company and HCC – bearing in mind HCC were not involved in the phone call, but why would our staff make that up, more so as we don’t work on commisssion? We are passionate about Welsh food abd drink but I don’t believe we can possibly be too passionate, we just can’t be.
    So as we can’t work together, we can’t help HCC promote whatever they are doing. To me that’s daft as we are workign with butchers across Wales with us.
    But as I keep saying it’s their choice, advertising is their choice, as it’s my choice which press releases I use and which I junk!

     
  27. Livvy

    February 10, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    Kath you’ve got yourself in a tough postion, with honouring your promise to advertisers saying you’ll help them and totally wasting your time with both wag and wag food.
    I admire your stance, but realistically you are never going to change their attitude. Civil servants all going out and running their own businesses would be a start of them understanding, but that’s not a reality, so call it a day, you’ve lost, so give up.

     
  28. BOW

    February 13, 2017 at 10:22 am

    Why can’t wag food get the message that organisers and producers need to know what is happening with food festival funding? What’s the matter with this department?
    For how many years does Kath have to raise this issue before it sinks into wag food’s heads that this needs sorting and sorting early? In fact this should have been sorted as again Kath has suggested by the end of last year.
    This situation is not acceptable to us but we have a food department that neither understands us or cares.
    If I’d Kath’s bravery and confidence I’d ring wag food myself, but I can’t afford to be blackballed as wag food have done to Kath and Ian and the magazine.
    I need to know for sure what festivals are running and funding for them is so important.

     
  29. Eddie

    February 13, 2017 at 10:23 am

    For goodness sake Kath give up on food festival funding, you cannot get through to this dept. Pity you can’t run this side of it for them, it’s clear they need help.
    I view wag food them as hopeless and hampering us. Organisers must feel under pressure with sponsorship so tough to get. I’d not run a festival, would you Kath?

     
  30. Cheeseman

    February 13, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    I’ts annoying that every year we are left waiting, worrying and wondering about what wag food are doing about food festival funding, if anything.
    This site shows how much interest there is from producers with lots of comments left, however the arrogance of wag food shows clearly that they couldn’t care less, because their decision on funding still means wag food staff will get paid.
    I’m surprised anyone would volunteer to run a food festival for wag food.
    If that dept. manages to hit it’s own food and drink target it will be despite the shambles which is how I see that dept. I feel they are not fit for purpose, but my views like Kath’s and all other comments left, count for nothing, nothing at all.

     
  31. admin

    February 13, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    No I wouldn’t but full of admiration for those who do. We have some fantastic food festivals and they are vital for our producers and visitors.
    It’s this funding issue which makes me furious every year.

     
  32. Bow

    February 14, 2017 at 9:30 am

    I’m impressed that you have continued to challenge wag food especially over food festival funding. Now you have to accept that you’d have made more progress talking to a brick wall.
    I cannot understand why of all the problems you raise, festival funding has never been accepted as a priority for wag food. As has been said many times on here, if wag food staff earned some of their income from festivals they’d have sorted this out last December.
    Kath just admit you have wasted your time and call it a day, but keep this site going as it obviously upsets wag and wag food so much and us traders love their dirty washing big laundered in public, but it is how we find out what is happening or NOT.

     
  33. TRADER

    February 14, 2017 at 9:33 am

    At a market on Saturday some traders were chatting about this piece, if wag food had visited the market they would have had a very hard time from us. In reality that couldn’t happen as we don’t know anyone from wag food if we fell over them. We haven’t a clue who works in wag food, or what they do all day, we just know it isn’t sorting out food festival funding for us!

     
  34. MEAT MAN

    February 14, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    I’m sorry for you and furious on your behalf that you get no support from wag food, Visit Wales and for me HCC. Why would HCC not want its recipes in the mag and to tell your readers what they are doing, if anything? It’s a stupid attitude to me.
    The support you guys give Welsh food and drink is remarkable. What makes me furious is that civil servants and the HCC quango cannot recognise the job you are doing. They should back the magazine which goes across Wales and is so strong on food and drink.

     
  35. admin

    February 14, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    We all make our own choices.
    We choose to support and back our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers and the food festivals that work with us too. In fact all our advertisers get as much additional support and help that we can give them over and above their advert. That is our choice and our decision. Just as everyone else, government and including quangos, make their own choices on marketing and advertising. Sorry we can do no more than make sure they are aware of Welsh Country magazine.

     
  36. bow

    February 16, 2017 at 10:40 am

    If wag food still can’t work out that organisers and producers need to know what festivals they are funding and therefore likely to run this year, to me that department is a lost cause, a waste of space.
    On welshfoodbites alone you must have spent way over 5 years telling wag food they have it wrong on food festivals on many levels – but funding is the crunch.
    All you can do Kath is give up.
    You are proof that wag food can’t only not listen, they can’t communicate with us either. Thank goodness I’m with a bow otherwise I’d have no knowledge of what’s happening in food.
    Keep this site going please Kath.

     
  37. BOW

    February 17, 2017 at 9:51 am

    Firstly must thank you Kath for sending to us bow producers any food related press releases wag send to you. Good of you to help wag do their job, but it must annoy you.
    As for this post, it must be one of the most ‘popular’ ones judging by number of comments left.
    I find it hard to believe that wag food cannot understand how strong the feeling is on this matter and how we’ve all been bleating about this for years. Can a department be so remote to what in effect are its customers? Seems they can. As you often say, they couldn’t run a business with that attitude.
    Being selfish, I want this site to continue and for you to keep hitting wag food and wag hard, but I’d be happier if wag food made an effort to build bridges with you. For me, and many others I talk to, wag food are in the wrong not supporting you, ironic that it’s their own fault this site even exists!!!!! Find that hilarious. Think it makes them, to put it politely, look rather silly!

     
  38. Jay

    February 17, 2017 at 9:55 am

    Give up Kath, even you aren’t able to turn wag food into a listening and communicating dept, more’s the pity. Wag food should be there to work FOR us and blocking the only magazine Wales has fully backing food and drink is ridiculous. How does that make sense to anyone but wag food?
    But I say again Kath, give up or run the dept yourself.
    Love this site where I can leave my views and know wag food can’t blackball me!! Yippee!

     
  39. admin

    February 17, 2017 at 10:07 am

    You are being silly, all I want to do is to get wag food talking and listening to Welsh food and drink producers and food festival organisers too. I wouldn’t have thought that a difficult task but it seems to wag food it is.
    I keep saying we all have choices and it’s wag food’s choice how or if they advertise, there’s nothing we can do about that. Wag food know where we are and what we do. Although running this site is more work than I’d thought, it will continue.

     
  40. admin

    February 17, 2017 at 10:11 am

    I’m amused too with wag’s attitude to this site and refusing to talk to me because ‘wag does not engage with bloggers’
    I’m not sure if anyone one in wag has worked out this site came about because they left us as advertisers. We promise our advertisers we’ll support them, but if they leave, well…………….

     
  41. Zulu

    February 17, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    Kath – keep this site running, I love it that wag must hate it, it makes my day.
    You can do no more and must now accept that wag food will continue wearing their blinkers and earmuffs and there isn’t one more thing you can do to change them.
    File wag food under lost causes with wag and the other quangos that we pay for.
    That’s how I see it.

     
  42. Trader

    February 23, 2017 at 10:06 am

    Guess we’ll have to wait until summer until wag tells us what they are doing about food festival funding,
    obvious they don’t have to earn an income from festivals.
    This stinks, so thanks wag for ‘helping’ producers – like NOT!