This week we interviewed Kirsty Wild the Club Coordinator for Llangollen and Dee Valley Food and Drink so she could share a little bit about the project.
Hi Kirsty, can you tell us a little bit about your role as Club Coordinator?
As Club Coordinator for Llangollen and Dee Valley Food and Drink, I meet lots of the fantastic food and drink growers, producers, retailers and hospitality businesses that make North East Wales such a great place to eat, drink, visit and live. The Club represents around 40 food and drink businesses in Llangollen and the Dee Valley, and works closely with the neighbouring Clwydian Range Food and Drink Group with another 30 members. The two groups work to promote local food and drink to locals and visitors alike; to support networking and collaboration between businesses, and to shorten food miles and increase sustainable practices. Usually we offer networking and training opportunities, as well as promotional and face-to-face events, such as Taste North East Wales, Light Up Local, and our annual Meet the Producers event, as well as working with Llangollen Food Festival.
Your enthusiasm shines through, how has the difficulties of the last year affected you?
Of course, all of our members have been affected by the pandemic, and our events have mostly been cancelled or postponed. But our Committee, made up of food and drink business owners and managers, felt strongly that this is the time members need our input and support the most! Instead of holding our Meet the Producers event face to face, we instead successfully sought funding from Denbighshire County Council and Flintshire County Council, and commissioned local production company Eastwood Media, based in Llandegla, to film a series of videos of local food and drink producers. The idea is to give producers a professional video and photos to promote their products and businesses, that they can use on social media, their own websites and when communicating with potential customers. The groups can also use them to showcase the fantastic array of food and drink that’s created here in North East Wales: it really is a food destination!
It’s wonderful to finally see many members very busy once again. The Club expects to resume more of our activities soon, including face-to-face networking and training as well as our much-missed food and drink events! We are very pleased that during the pandemic the Club has kept members informed of relevant business, finance and industry information and training opportunities; maintained links between members, and between the Club and the local Councils, food and drink bodies and organisations, and has continued to promote the interests and offers of its members, supporting their businesses through these difficult times. We have Committee appointees representing members and meetings have continued virtually throughout the lockdowns.
Please tell us more about the film project, it sounds really exciting.
The project began in late April, and filming concluded on 9th June. Eastwood Media have done a phenomenal job, visiting multiple sites each day in all weathers, putting people at ease from their nerves at being filmed, and showing off settings and products in the best possible light. Feedback from businesses so far has been overwhelmingly positive, with many grateful for an opportunity that would have been out of their reach at the current time if they had commissioned filming individually. As we gained full funding for the project, it was free for our producer members and 29 took part. We have received hundreds of incredible images from Eastwood Media so far, and they are in the process of editing the video footage, so watch this space! We’ll be sure to share on our social media channels @tastedeevalley, @clwydianrangefoodanddrink and @tastenortheastwales.
I believe you have been busy despite the local restrictions, what type of activities have you been able to maintain?
In addition to our Meet the Producers Video Project, our Grow Llangollen project is in its infancy to support a network of growers in the Dee Valley, and we have secured almost £60,000 grant funding in partnership with Clwydian Range Food and Drink Group to appoint expert industry consultants and an events coordinator to support members and their recovery from the pandemic until January 2023.
How do people get in touch if they want to be involved?
We’re grateful for members’ continued support and commitment to the Club and its aims, which feel even more important now we’ve seen so many examples of how beneficial short local supply chains, collaborative working and community is. Many readers will know other food and drink growers, producers, retail and hospitality in the Dee Valley and Clwydian Range AONB that would benefit from joining us, so please encourage them to contact me, I’m more than happy to have a chat with anyone interested in the Club to let them know what we can do for them: our membership fee is just £60 per year. Together we are greater than the sum of our parts, and we’d love to welcome new members to promote more local collaboration and all the benefits it brings. We look forward to a better year ahead!
If you or someone you know could benefit from being part of this collective get in touch with Kirsty today on on firstname.lastname@example.org
The project was made possible with grant funding from
Clocaenog Forest Wind Farm Fund
Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB
Denbighshire County Council
Flintshire County Council
Wrexham County Borough Council.
This blog is written as part of the Denbighshire County Council Destination Management Plan 2021.