Helen Gwenllian - Executive Chair

The Cambrian Mountains Initiative Community Interest Company welcomes Helen Gwenllian as Executive Chair, to drive forward  the organisation’s ambitions. Helen joins as Ieuan Joyce steps down following his leadership of over the last six years, 

“We are delighted to welcome Helen as Executive Chair,” said Ieuan Joyce  “the region will benefit greatly from the skills and experience she brings to the role.” Ieuan Joyce will continue to serve as a Non-Executive Director on a renewed Board of Directors.

Helen was involved in the very early days of the inception of the Cambrian Mountains Initiative CIC and has been brought in as Executive Chair to provide a commercial focus for the growth of the organisation, whilst also seeking partnership funding.

Helen has held several senior appointments as a rural practitioner. This includes being a former Non-Executive Director of Hybu Cig Cymru and a Commissioner for the National Infrastructure Commission for Wales. Helen was also the lead author of the ‘Vision for Rural Wales Manifesto’ as Rural Policy Officer for the Welsh Local Government Association, working for the nine rural authorities in Wales.

However, her boots are firmly on the ground as an entrepreneur and business advisor supporting SMEs. She is also the founder of Merched Medrus, a business development group for women running rural businesses in Ceredigion.  

“Small independent businesses play a vital role in the vibrancy of rural communities. The recent drama about the Horizon scandal highlighted exactly how vulnerable they can be – especially when supplying much larger entities. The Cambrian Mountains Initiative CIC is here to champion the fantastic independent businesses of the region by promoting the area as an astounding destination for the discerning visitor. My vision is to elevate our storytelling, and promote the region’s premium produce as distinctly different, ”says Helen

There is no doubt that the current climate is challenging for all rural businesses. The Cambrian Mountains represent the deepest rural parts of Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Powys. Communities in these areas will be the first to experience the impacts of public sector budget cuts and will feel them acutely. Coupled with a predicted 10% reduction in direct farm support, the seriousness of the current climate is not lost on the initiative’s Board of Directors.

“The Cambrian Mountains Initiative CIC is here to support rural development where good businesses make their ‘ceiniog’ whilst retaining a deep love for their ‘cynefin’ and ‘cymdogaeth’. As the antithesis of extractive business and government practices, I like to refer to it as ‘heart-led economics’, which plays a strong role in the Cambrian Mountain brand,” confirmed Helen.

“Whilst this wild landscape provides solace to the soul, I want the businesses and communities of the Cambrian Mountains to understand that they are not alone.”