Flintshire food and drink festival rescued from cash crisis

Reporter:

Matt Jones

A POPULAR food and drink festival was saved after a funding crisis, it has been revealed.

Preparations for last month’s Mold Food and Drink Festival were thrown into chaos after it emerged organisers had been given less than half of the funding they had requested from the Welsh Assembly Government.

But after a last-minute intervention, a package was put in place to ensure the festival went ahead.

North Wales AM Mark Isherwood said he had written to Minister for Rural Affairs Elin Jones after the festival’s organisers contacted him.

He said: “I attended the opening of the excellent Mold Food and Drink Festival, showcasing the best of the food and drink produced in Flintshire and across North Wales.

“The committee said that there had been no discussion and no warning that the offer would be less than half what was requested.”

The festival featured stalls from food producers, live music and appearances from celebrity chefs Graham Tinsley and Brian Mellor.

Speaking at the Senedd in Cardiff, Mr Isherwood asked the minister for assurances that similar funding problems would be avoided in the future.

He said: “What measures have you, or can you, put in place to prevent that sort of last-minute planning from recurring so that, in future, shows and festivals such as this can be put on a sustainable footing and people will know in advance what resources will be available so that they can plan accordingly?”

The Minister said officials would work with festival organisers to ensure they were aware as early as possible of any changes to budgets.

She said: “As I have said previously, we currently support around 57 food events and food festivals in Wales and we have a budget of around £1.5 million over three years.

“Like other budgets, that budget will come under scrutiny and pressure over the next few years.”

See full story in the Leader

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