Archive for September, 2017

Macmillan Coffee Morning

25 Sep

Macmillan Coffee Morning, I’ve had news from two of our advertisers, well so far anyway, that are hosting coffee mornings for Macmillan Coffee Morning on Friday 29th September. Caffi Carn Alw, they are on the top floor of the Market Hall in Cardigan and have lots of space so you can select your cake, grab a drink and sit and have a chat – but only when you’ve made a donation of course! There’s a raffle taking place, a book sale and sure there will be music too and this is a great time to support this super charity. For those of you that haven’t been in the market in Cardigan for some time then this Friday is a good time to visit again. Caffi Carn Alw owners Cilla and Mike are expecting to be very busy and look forward to meeting customers old and new. They put on a great coffee morning last year and I’ve do doubt they’ll do so again this year.

The other busy company supporting Macmillan but very differently is The Big Bite who have their shop at 29C High St, Cardigan. They’ve had a great idea which is each time you buy a slice of carrot cake or Sharon’s lemon drizzle you’ll be entered into a draw to win a whole cake with all proceeds to go to Macmillan Cancer Care. This runs from 25th September  until 30th September.  Sharon has titled their fund raiser as the Thriller With Vanilla & The Crumble In The Jungle.

Now folks  Sharon really needs your support for her lovely lemon drizzle cake so that Gary doesn’t win with his carrot cake! This will be a great contest of the cakes, so please do join in if you’re in the area.

Ian and I hope to get across on Friday morning, so hope we’ll catch up with some of our readers and perhaps find new ones too!

Please support Caffi Carn Alw and The Big Bite and Macmillan.


Welsh Food & Drink – Rural Business Investment Scheme

22 Sep

Welsh food and drink has been waiting for official news of this food grant scheme for some time and now we have details we’ve sent this to our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers and of course posted here. The reason being we think it is crucial as it is a capital investment scheme for food and drink processing or manufacturing activities currently not eligible under the previous Food Business Investment Scheme. There’s money there and if you don’t bother applying well best thing for me to say is that’s your choice.

The grant scheme is now open for applications and all the details, application forms and guidance notes can be found at:

Please check this out but I have copied just some of it below hopefully to motivate you to go for it!

The Rural Business Investment Scheme – FOOD (RBISF) is a capital investments scheme to support projects that offer clear and quantifiable benefits to the food and drink industry in Wales.  The scheme is open to existing and start up micro & small food and drink processor’s and manufacturers throughout Wales.  

This is a capital investment scheme for food and drink processing or manufacturing activities currently not eligible under the Food Business Investment Scheme.  

The maximum grant for an individual investment project is 40% of the total eligible cost with a maximum of £50,000 for any individual investment project. 

All projects supported through the scheme must make a contribution to the overarching Food Strategy Action Plan – Towards Sustainable Growth: An Action Plan for the Food and Drink Industry 2010 -2020 with one or more of the following objectives:

promoting and developing a growing and vibrant food and drink sector in Wales continuing to develop a green image based on sustainable production methods further building resilience into the industry to withstand market changes driving improvements in food safety and security promoting technological innovation in both product and processes providing career opportunities at varying skill levels. 

Important: You must ensure you complete the appropriate application form for this window, please check the Window dates on the form. 

Further details on the application criteria can be obtained by reading the Guidance and supporting scheme documentation.

Scheme Indicative allocation Expected maximum number of full applications Window opens Window closes EOI Decision Date
Rural Business Investment Scheme – Food £300,000 15 20-Sept-17 1-Nov-17 22-Nov-17
Rural Business Investment Scheme – Food  




25 29-Nov-17 24-Jan-18 14-Feb-18

I’m sure after doing all this work for RBIS for food, we’ll get the usual moans and groans because ‘it doesn’t apply to me’ or ‘I can’t tick those boxes’. Well if you think you have a solid case but you are finding the forms rather tricky, then either talk to Menter A Busnes or talk directly to wag food.


Please don’t miss out on this…………………………………..




Welsh Tourism – Are Wetherspoons Anti-Tourism?

21 Sep

Welsh tourism,  are Wetherspoons anti-tourism because their no dog policy even outside is how it seems to me.

This is what happened after visiting the Aberystwyth Food Festival on Saturday 16th September, when  Ian and I stopped off at Wetherspoon’s Yr Hen Orsaf, simply to have a drink. I sat outside at the front, with our well-behaved and very quiet dog, whilst Ian went inside for drinks. There is no food served in the two areas at the front of these premises and the weather was rather chilly.

I sat in the non-smoking area which was empty apart from one gentleman. The smoking area had just a couple of people there, obviously smoking and just one of them drinking. After waiting for ages to be served, Ian explained that it was busy inside and there were quite a few noisy children, so he was pleased we were outside.

Whilst sitting there a member of staff came out, collected a few glasses and went back inside.

When we’d finished our drinks and were about to leave another member of staff came outside and said we couldn’t sit there – that there were no dogs allowed. Asked why not, she said it was a Wetherspoon rule and as Wetherspoon owned the pavement, that was their decision.

I disputed who actually owned the pavement as I understood that Ceredigion County Council owned and were responsible for the County’s roads and pavements. No explanation was forthcoming but she said she’d get her line manager to come out and walked off.

A man appeared, said ‘Hi guys you’ve got a problem? Well I’m the manager. As a female I object to being called ‘guy’, but can only assume that either that greeting is part of Wetherspoon training, or perhaps it’s acceptable for me to address him as ‘girl?’

Then we were told that Yr Hen Orsaf did own the two roped off pavement areas, but when challenged again, he said well maybe Wetherspoons didn’t own it, but they paid for it. When asked how much ‘rent’ was paid he said that was commercially sensitive information! The manager made no further no comment until I explained that I intended to post this on Trip Advisor. He then suggested I contact Head Office, as he, as the Manager is the person that monitors Trip Advisor for Yr Hen Orsaf. Well that’s fine, but Trip Advisor will actually put this problem out in the arena for many to see, including dog owners.

Our dog is not a problem otherwise he would not be taken out in public, which cannot be said of the children running riot inside Yr Hen Orsaf!

The Manager agreed our dog was not causing a problem and that he was better behaved than many children that visited Yr Hen Orsaf, but it was company policy – NO DOGS. The Manager went back inside and as we were about to leave, two individuals said the Manager was wrong and they hadn’t realised we’d a dog with us. Then one lady kindly directed us to two pubs across the road opposite Yr Hen Orsaf, that both welcomed dogs, plus a café between those two pubs that also accepted dogs. She said she’d never heard anything so stupid as this Wetherspoon policy.

On Monday I contacted Ceredigion Country Council press team and ask them to clarify who owned the pavement and if Wetherspoons had bought this pavement area how much had they paid for it, or if they rent this space from the Council, how much is paid per year.

Follows is my email sent to the Press Office on 18th September:

Please can you clarify the outside of Yr Hen Orsaf in Aberystwyth?

The Manager has apparently stated that because they have roped of some of the pavement and put tables and chairs on both sides that this is THEIR space.

  1. Please can you clarify if the council still owns and is responsible for this section of pavement?

     2. If the council has sold this section of pavement to Wetherspoons please say when this deal took place and how much the council made on this sale.     

     3. If the council rents out this space to Wetherspoons please state price and terms agreed.

 Apparently the two pavement sections outside Yr Hen Orsaf are roped off as smoking and non-smoking. However a person – well actually that was me! – on Saturday afternoon was told she and her partner couldn’t sit in the non-smoking area outside with their dog, despite having bought and already had finished their drinks. She was told categorically Wetherspoons OWN THAT SECTION OF THE PAVEMENT. It is Wetherspoons’ space and their policy is no dogs outside, despite the Manager admitting the dog in question was asleep and less trouble than many children inside.

Please clarify fully Ceredigion’s policy on this situation.

Below is the response on behalf of Ceredigion County Council which I received on 20th September:

The Council is not in a position to comment / respond on the specific aspects of the disagreement behind the enquiry; however it can be confirmed that:

  1. The land in question is within the ownership of Ceredigion County Council.
  2. Please see 1. Above
  3. As a condition of the purchase of the land, the agreement was that Wetherspoons would be allowed to place tables / chairs in the defined area.

As I didn’t really understand the Council’s response, I went back to them on 20/9 as follows:

Thank you for your response. I’m sorry for being rather stupid and not fully following your response. I’m not asking the council to get involved in any dispute but to simply answer the questions submitted to you. You are stating that the council owns the pavement in front of Yr Hen Orsaf as they own all pavements across the county.

Please confirm this is a correct understanding of your response to question three:

You say as a condition of the purchase of the land, which I assume by this you mean that when Wetherspoons purchased the Old Station initially, the council agreement was that Wetherspoons would be allowed to place tables / chairs in the defined area. So in effect you are saying that Wetherspoons have in effect have ‘bought’ part of the pavement in the defined area. What amount was paid to CCC for Wetherspoons to ‘technically own the pavement in front of Yr Hen Orsaf?  

The Press Office replied on 21/9 again as follows:

Please find below the response on behalf of Ceredigion County Council:

Ceredigion County Council does own the pavement in question outside the Station/Wetherspoons in Aberystwyth, but it does not own all the pavements in the County as many of those (particularly within the towns) remain in private ownership.

What the Council is stating in response to question 3 is that when the Authority purchased the land in question from Wetherspoons, a condition of the purchase was that Wetherspoons would be granted permission to place tables/chairs in that area. Ownership of the area remains with Ceredigion County Council.

I hope these answer your final questions. – Well not really as all my questions haven;t been answered but there we are!!!

But I’ve learnt something, in that the council doesn’t own all the pavements in the County. Now I wonder if the Council still clean ALL the pavements, even those in private ownership, particularly in towns! So CCC have granted permission to place tables and chairs in the area in front of Yr Hen Orsaf, but you will note that I’ve not been told that this is rented or not, only that they ‘have permission’ to use that space. I guess as this question has been ignored as it could be classed as commercially sensitive!

I’m still bemused by this Wetherspoon policy and only wish it applied to children, the majority of which are poorly behaved indoors. But I’m also angry as Aberystwyth is very much a tourist area and many visitors to Wales do bring their dogs. Why this section outside the Yr Hen Orsaf cannot accept dogs, especially as no food is served there, is annoying to say the least. Surely Wales should be doing everything they can to encourage tourists – our economy needs them.

However dog owners, whether local or visitors have no need to worry, as the lady told me the two pubs opposite Yr Hen Orsaf welcome dogs and also The Diner which is opposite the new bandstand welcome dogs.

So my dear reader, is the last time we’ll visit ANY Wetherspoons – with or without our dog……………………


Welsh Food & Drink Market In Cardigan

12 Sep

Welsh Food & Drink Market In Cardigan  

Welsh food and drink will feature in a weekly market in Cardigan thanks to Mum of two and founder of Cardigan Bay Brownies, Nerys Evans. She is in the process of establishing Blas, a new food and drink market and a much-needed brand for Cardigan. Cardigan Bay Brownies are a Best Of Welsh & Borders advertiser with Welsh Country magazine and the magazine, with their strong local food and drink ethos are fully supporting this project – hoping this pilot scheme will be the first of many across Wales.


The new venture in conjunction with Menter Aberteifi will be held in the Guildhall Courtyard every Saturday morning and will officially open in the next few weeks. Nerys is looking for local food and drink producers and businesses who would be interested in attending the Guildhall Courtyard in Cardigan every Saturday morning to sell their produce.

Nerys is aware that many towns and villages have thriving food markets and she wants that to happen in Cardigan too. She’s hopeful that the Courtyard within the Guildhall and indoor market complex can work as a welcoming social hub for local people as well as visitors and she is convinced that the market can function how it used to some 30 years ago and wants people to buy local.

Nerys can remember as a child that the upper market in Cardigan was really busy and that’s what she wishes to replicate. She’s pleased that everyone involved with the Guildhall is most supportive of Blas. There are tables and chairs in the Courtyard where people will be able to meet and socialise after shopping. With around 12 to 14 stalls there will be plenty of choice for people to come along and buy local.

Blas will open in the Guildhall courtyard from 8.30am until 12.30. Cost is £15 per stall. Nerys has already been in discussions with Ceredigion Country Council as regards parking for loading and unloading to make things easier for producers and talks are on- going. With the enthusiasm of Nerys and Menter Aberteifi there is no reason Blas cannot be a thriving hub for Cardigan.





Welsh Food Pop Up Shop In Conwy Bay

08 Sep

Welsh Food Pop Up Shop In Conwy Bay

Welsh food pop up shop in Colwyn Bay  – this is such good news. I received details of this project yesterday and wanted to make sure that as many producers as possible got to hear about it. Please don’t tell me yet again that this is not my job, I know that, but if it involves Welsh food and drink then I find it hard not to share! As is our standard practice, we’ve sent a mailshot to our Best of Welsh & Border producers. We’ve also passed our favourable comments onto a few of ‘our friendly Assembly Members’ too.

Here’s the press release in full:

This could be your chance to win a shop/production area!!

Currently working from home and running out of space or your workspace is becoming a bit of a squeeze?Do you need that little helping hand in taking the next step from kitchen table top to produce/shop space? We understand that taking the next step can seem risky and daunting but in order to grow, develop and expand into a sustainable business you just need that extra space to produce, retail, export and/or sell.

After a successful pop-up food shop ‘Natural Conwy’, a project supported by Dyffryn Conwy Naturiol which celebrated and promoted food producers of Conwy in 2016.  We are now able to offer the exciting opportunity to food producers of North Wales.

Exciting Future

We have earmarked a retail unit in the heart of Colwyn Bay which can be used solely as a retail space, a production space – or both. Colwyn Bay has undergone millions of pounds worth of regeneration over the last few years and was recently named as one of the most visited beaches in the UK.  It’s not just the seaside that draws people to the town. There’s also award winning Chef Bryn Williams’ Bistro ‘Bryn Williams at Port Eirias’, the recently upgraded The Station, renowned for its good food and friendly atmosphere, Fresh Hut, a new local food initiative serving up fresh, healthy meals and snacks and The Bay Hop, a micro pub that’s become a firm hit with the local community for its range of local beers and lively music sessions. Further investment also means that in 2018 Conwy County Borough Council will be moving around 750 staff into their purpose built office building – which is located directly opposite where your retail / production unit will be.

Local Demand

With the demand for locally produced foods and edibles ever increasing we have identified that there is a need for local produce and a need for spaces for local producers to produce!

The pop-up producers project 2017 is a Welsh Government funded project that will start in September 2017 and will be funded until September 2019. The project is supported by Colwyn Bay TownScape Heritage Initiative, Amaeth Cywain Agriculture and Conwy County Borough Council.

A versatile shop space in the heart of Colwyn Bay which can be used as production space only or as production and retail space.

First 12 month rent free

Business rate relief

Year 2 half rent

Contribute to the final design of the layout of the building using their proposed plan to guide this process.

Year 3 – We know by then that you will be a sustainable business model so we will hand over the responsibility of rent and rates to you.

We are particularly keen to hear from producers who are bread makers & bakers, however, we will consider and encourage application from all food disciplines of food and drink production.

How to Enter

We ask that you download the application form (from the web page url above) and demonstrate the development of a sustainable business model over the next 3 years.

We ask that all interested parties visit the space to check the suitability of purpose. Please contact Judi Greenwood on 07717 543 304 to arrange a viewing.

Deadline for applications: 5pm, Friday, September 22, 2017

Please email your completed application form, or for any questions or enquiries please contact: Alwen Eidda: or Sarah Wilkie:

I am so pleased that the Welsh Government has funded this project as I was interested in the initial Welsh food pop-up food shop ‘Natural Conwy’. What I’d like to know is which people are judging this competition and how they are going to assess the applications. I can only hope that it is judged purely on merit and the winner has potential for future growth and employment. This is such an exciting project for Welsh food and one I’d like to see running across Wales, not just in Conwy. But having said that, I’m impressed that Conwy has not only tried something different, but that it’s been successful and they’ve been able to move the project forward. It’s great to post a good news story on welshfoodbites……………………………