Shadow Minister calls for Rural Shows Development Fund

March 08, 2021

The Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs and the Member of the Welsh Parliament for Aberconwy – Janet Finch-Saunders MS – has written to the Welsh Government to call for the establishment of a Rural Shows Development Fund, so that financial support can be provided to smaller agricultural shows.

Underlining the need for financial assistance, Mrs. Finch-Saunders said: “Whilst I am pleased that financial support has been provided to the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society, concerns have been raised with me that some smaller rural shows have not yet received a penny of support.

“I do believe that there would be merit in the Welsh Government creating a Rural Shows Development Fund – a scheme which would not only assist these renowned agricultural and community events to bridge this challenging period, but bounce back better.

“I have proposed that grants could be made available to help with Covid-19 safety measures and greater diversification. Events, such as the Llanrwst Rural Show and Eglwysbach Show, are landmarks in the calendar for many rural towns and village. Such a scheme would mean that these communities will be empowered to continue these traditions into the future.

The Member has also called for the development of a set of operational guidance for agricultural shows, so as to assist with the resumption of such controlled outdoor events later this year.

On her other proposals, designed to secure a brighter future for such shows, she added:

“Looking to the years ahead, I have also proposed the creation of an ‘Agricultural Show Trail for Wales’ – with the Minister working with Visit Wales to encourage the domestic and international market to attend these events where so much can be learnt about farming, food, and crafts.

“When the time is right, there will be huge scope for these shows to draw in audiences from across the UK, and further afield. Capturing their spend will ensure investment in our rural communities, and the display of sustainable skills should also assist our battle against climate change.

“But if this is to be effective, planning must begin in earnest. For exactly this reason, I have written to the Minister to ask that her department works to develop a set of operational guidance for agricultural shows and work with Visit Wales on an effective marketing plan.”