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Royal Welsh Showground
The WRN is proud and pleased with how the event went at The Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells.
The celebration welcomed over 360 delegates over the two day event, with more than 30 projects showcasing their work.
The two days also included themed panel discussions covering the subjects that matter to rural Wales, and a chat show with some of the case study beneficiaries, explaining what the funding has meant to them and outlining their success.
The first day came to a close with a True Taste celebration of Wales' food and drink products that the Programme has supported.
The Celebrations came to a climax with The Wales Rural Network Awards, rewarding 4 projects from across the event themes which best epitomise the ethos of the funding programme.
34 exhibition stands across 4 Zones;
- Innovation - Showcasing projects such as Social Farm & Gardens; Keep Wales Tidy; Menter Moch Cymru; Farming Connect; Gwnaed â Gwlân - Made with Wool; Food Skills Cymru; Tyfu Cymru; Wales. A Food Destination
- Landscape, Nature & Forestry - Showcasing projects and Schemes such as Environmental Monitoring & Evidence; National Forest Programme; Sustainable Management Scheme
- Food & Tourism - Showcasing numerous Tourism projects funded through the Programme and Food related projects such as Cywain - Menter a Busnes; Food & Drink Wales; Helix (inside the fantastic 360 degree dome, offering tastings throughout the day)
- Communities - Showcasing the fantastic LEADER funded projects from 18 Local Action Groups across Wales
Each stand showcased the achievements of the Programme with the actual beneficiaries of the funding attending and showcasing their fantastic projects.
Six panel discussions took place over the two days. The panels included specialists and beneficiaries of Scheme Funding, broken down into themes -
- Land Management Successes - James Skates, Head of Modelling, Geospatial and Monitoring and Prof. Bridget Emmett, UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
- Farming & Countryside - Dr Nerys Llewelyn Jones, Interim Environmental Protection Assessor for Wales; Prysor Williams, Bangor University; Julie Davies, Welsh Woman Farmer of The Year 2006
- Communities and Regeneration - Professor Michael Woods, Aberystwyth University, Tom Jones, Independent Farmer, President of ERCA, The European Rural Community Alliance, former member of the S4C Authority, The Countryside Council for Wales and the Legal Services Commission. First Chair of the National Lottery Charities Board Wales, the Millenium Stadium Charitable Trust and former Director of the ATB, Agricultural Training Board, Former FUW Vice President and Wales YFC President;
- Gerallt Llewelyn Jones, Senior Responsible Officer, Morlais
- Future Land Management - Ann Humble, Welsh Government; Prof. Bridget Emmett, UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology; Prysor Williams, Bangor University
- Environment & Climate Change - Dr Keith Powell, Stump up for Trees; Professor Dave Chadwick, Bangor University; Rhys Parry, Chair, Partneriaeth Pennal (Pennal 2050)
- Rural Youth - Caryl Haf, Wales YFC Vice-Chair; Caryl Hughes, (First person to undertake the Llyndy Isaf Scholarship with the National Trust)
Thursdays' final agenda item in the theatre area was a chat show style interviews with the people behind some of rural Wales’ best success stories -
- Jo Quinney, Wales on Rails;
- Robert Clapham, Glantawe Outdoor Education Academy;
- Garry Williams, Blaencennen, Gwynfe, Carmarthenshire;
- And Adrian Jones Biodiversity means Business
With the Rural Development Programme 2014 - 2020 nearing an end, the question on everyone's lips is 'What Comes Next?'. A series of workshops took place in The Business Lounge, where stakeholders heard some of the plans for the future from Policy Leads, the workshops covered -
- National Forest Plan; Landscape Scale
- Land Management;
- Agricultural Diversification;
- Agricultural Diversification
- And The Future of Natural Flood Management;
Taste of Wales Networking Evening
A Food & Drink Networking evening brought the first day to an end in the Montgomery Pavilion where attendees heard from Mark Drakeford, The First Minister for Wales, followed by a fantastic array of Welsh Food & Drink, funded through the Rural Development Programme.
Over 200 attendees sampled some of the best food & drink from Wales, spoke with just some of the producers and experienced a massive array of showcased products.
Wales Rural Network Awards
A key element of the event was the presentation of the Wales Rural Network Awards to a number of successful projects which best epitomise the ethos of the funding programme – projects which have helped increase diversity and resilience in farming, forestry and food, investing in green initiatives, tackling poverty, driving competitiveness and creating sustainable growth and jobs for the people who live and work in rural Wales.
Projects were nominated by the Policy Teams who know the projects and the Awards were judged by an Independent Panel.
The presentation of the Awards took place on the afternoon of 10 June. Winners each received a personalised trophy (a slate trophy from Inigo Jones, an RDP Tourism Funded project), and gained recognition as one of the premier successful projects in rural Wales of the past 20 years.
Awards were given in four categories -
- Food & Tourism - Project Helix
- Landscapes, Nature & Forestry - Pennal 2050
- Innovation - Caru Cymru / Caring for Wales
- Communities - Cambrian Futures
Project Helix took overall winner.
Mark Drakeford, First Minister for Wales.
We were pleased to welcome The First Minister who formerly opened the Taste of Wales Networking evening.
'It was a pleasure to attend an event celebrating the Rural Development Programme, and to see first hand the brilliant work it's done to help our rual communities prosper.'
'It was great to see our delicious Welsh Produce on show - especially the cheese!'
Lesley Griffiths, MS, Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd.
Lesley Griffiths, MS attended and opened the afternoon session on 9th June.
The Minister walked around the exhibition zones, meeting and talking to project beneficiaries.
In her opening address.
'Our rural communities play a vital role in Welsh life and we have a lot to be proud of'.