Janet Finch-Saunders MS, Shadow Minister for Environment, Energy, and Rural Affairs, has seen the Welsh Government make a positive step towards delivering on her calls for a Rural Shows Development Fund.
The Member wrote to the Welsh Government earlier this month outlining the need to create a Fund which would:
- Have grants made available to all shows to help with marketing, Covid-19 safety measures, and even greater diversification;
- Include a set of operational guidance for agricultural shows so that they can come back with confidence;
- See Visit Wales publish an ‘Agricultural Show Trail for Wales’ – encouraging people to attend these events where so much can be learnt about farming, food, and crafts.
Lesley Griffiths MS, Minister for Environment, Energy, and Rural Affairs has now responded, noting that:
- She has accepted all the recommendations of the Resilience Review of Agricultural Shows in Wales;
- A new innovation fund will be launched, as well as a new accredited training package for individuals working or volunteering with show societies;
- Her officials are developing guidance for the return of outdoor events in Wales;
- Officials will work with Visit Wales in the coming months.
Commenting on support for rural shows, Janet said:
“As the Resilience Review report highlighted, there is a need to explore the provision of some financial support to ensure the survival of shows, we now have an opportunity to innovate, and Visit Wales should be promoting these essential events.
“From small shows which only had insurance costs to cover after cancellations, to large one and multi-day events facing considerable losses, grant support should be accessible.
“It’s time for the Welsh Government to match its rhetoric with action. The £25,000 made available to the Agricultural Shows Innovation Fund represents a cap on ambition.
“I have a plan to help rural Wales prosper, and the actions outlined in my proposed Rural Shows Development Fund is an important part of that”.
Photo: Janet Finch-Saunders MS at Llanrwst Show