Monmouthshire Council Not Too Strapped For Cash

16 Mar

I thought you’d be interested in reading the following:

SUBJECT: Abergavenny Food Festival: Interest Free Loan

MEETING: Individual Cabinet Member Decision (Cllr Greenland)

DATE: 14TH March 2018




1.0 To request a one-off, interest free loan of £25,000 to be made available to Abergavenny Food Festival to assist them in sustaining their financial viability given the cancellation of their Christmas 2017 Christmas Market and in doing so assure the County of the wider benefits that are derived from hosting an international food festival. Abergavenny Food Festival will work with the Authority to extend the brand to benefit the wider county.


2.1 That the interest free loan of £25,000 is approved to be repaid over a four year period with an initial repayment holiday until September.

2.2 That delegated authority be given to the Head of Enterprise and Community Development in conjunction with the Cabinet Member for Enterprise to finalise and agree detailed terms of the underlying loan agreement and consistent with the terms outlined in this report.


3.1 Abergavenny Food Festival was created in 1999 by two local farmers in response to the BSE crisis and the resulting lack of consumer confidence in British produce. With the outbreak of Foot and Mouth in 2001, the difficulties worsened for farmers which served to push Festival forward in terms of showcasing local food and the passion of the people who produce it.

3.2 Abergavenny Food Festival enjoys an exceptional reputation as a place for chefs, food businesses, journalists, farmers and food producers to come together. They have a reputation for being an inclusive and welcoming event for all people to explore and learn about food.

3.3 The Festival delivers an extensive programme of activities including product tastings, children’s activities, masterclasses, hands-on cookery lessons and topical debates. It also prides itself on transforming the way people think about food; challenging and promoting new ideas; pushing the boundaries of current thinking and encouraging people to look differently at where their food comes from.

I’m constantly told by Councils across the whole of Wales that because of the cuts in their funding, put on them by the Welsh Government they are being forced chop services, halt building programmes, close libraries, youth clubs, sports facilities etc. etc. etc.

With the pressure being put on front line services I’m surprised that Monmouthshire Council can bale out Abergavenny Christmas Fare, not just with a loan, but an interest-free loan over 4 years and payments don’t kick off until September. This Christmas Food & Drink Fare had been funded by the Welsh Government certainly as far back as 08/09, last year they were allocated the maximum grant of £5k but would not get it as the event was cancelled due the poor weather. The Food Festival in Abergavenny were given £14,350 by the Welsh Government last year for their September offering. But in previous years when budgets were larger they were awarded at times £50k. Obviously Welsh Country magazine has a strong interest in  Welsh food festivals as so many of our Best Of Welsh & Borders advertisers attend them. It’s interesting what’s available for some festivals and fares, but of course not all.

I’m sure Abergavenny will be applying for funding again this year for both their events.

Producers’ Markets:

  • Victorian Market Hall: £450.00 – prime showcase producer market in central location
  • Lower Brewery Yard includes Night Market, so you must be willing to trade until 11pm in this area: £400. (Double stalls: £800)
  • Outside enclosed market areas including Cheese and Wine Market (Chadwick’s Yard); Tiverton Market (Chadwick’s Place); Upper Brewery Yard Market: £350.00. Double stalls: £700.
  • Street stalls £250.00 – no electricity available
  • The Priory Souk Marquee: £200
  • New Producers’ Market: The Priory Souk Marquee

The Priory Souk Marquee:

 £150.00 for the weekend (£100 Saturday/£50 Sunday if only able to trade for 1 day – this strictly applies to new businesses only)

The Priory Fish and Fizz Market:

  • The Priory Fish Market is £450 for caterers and alcohol sales, and £350 for primary produce.

Abergavenny say their footfall averages about 30,000 visitors, dependent on the weather and with Early Bird tickets working out just under £10.00 each, that alone is a reasonable income, plus there’s further income from a variety of talks that are held. The festival hosts in excess of 200 stands, but do feel free to do your own sums out on that one and then of course add on sponsorships.

Over the years Abergavenny Food Festival must have built up strong contacts with Monmouthshire Council to even be aware that they could apply for an interest free loan, let alone get one!

I do wonder now if other food festivals will be chasing their councils for cash in the form of an interest free loan……………………………………………


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  1. Monmouth man

    March 28, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    What is going on here?
    A council so strapped for cash – which is what they tell us – but can find money to offer a cash free loan to a Xmas fair. How can this happen? Can any event now go to them for this free loan?
    According to their website Abergavenny drags in 30,000 people at about a tenner each, plus over 200 stands at around £400 each, plus government money, plus sponsorship, please don’t expect us to believe this festival which has been massively funded by wag over the years, can’t fund this without asking the public to do so.
    This stinks.

  2. BOW

    March 28, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    I can’t believe believe this council have got stashes of cash to loan out for free
    couldn’t reduce my council tax could they?
    I’m livid with this
    Abergavenny has had loads of gov money, gets lots in too as they are so expensive to attend as a punter or a trade stand
    They must pay themselves a fortune

  3. Ted

    March 28, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    No idea how you got this but I’m disgusted and agree with other comments left.
    Abergavenny should fund their own Xmas fair and sure they ask the government to cough up again for both events.

  4. admin

    March 28, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    This information was on Monmouthshire’s own website so in the public domain and since been in local paper too I understand

  5. Appalled

    April 10, 2018 at 10:03 am

    I am grateful I don’t live in Monmouthshire, but to be fair no Welsh councils seem capable for getting value for money in any area.
    I’m appalled by this.
    Abergavenny festival draws in a fortune and they have been paid a fortune by Government over decades and sponsorship as well. But they are so quick to get their begging bowl out.
    Who would have thought this council had another stack of cash when all services are being cut? This should NOT have been allowed to happen.

  6. BOW

    April 10, 2018 at 10:12 am

    Like other comments left I cannot believe this council would allow money for Abergavenny Xmas Fair. I assume the government is still funding both of the Abergavenny events?
    How would Abergavenny have known this council has a stack of cash to hand over as an interest-free loan? Just why does everyone seem to bend over backwards to support Abergavenny? I’m sorry I don’t understand it.
    It is just my take on it but this festival has had so much money from all sectors of the government that they should be able to run just one a Xmas fair. Don’t they pay a Director at this event?
    I find this pathetic and unfair.