Conwy Supporting Business


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Consultation Event: Does the guidance answer your questions about allotments and community led gardening projects?

Consultation events are being held in Conwy, Merthyr Tydfil and Carmarthen in November and December. These events are your opportunity to voice any comments, make suggestions and query any matters arising from the guidance.

The Welsh Government’s paper ‘Improving the availability of allotments and community gardens’ published in July 2014, highlighted the need for up to date guidance, to help communities across Wales benefit from increased growing opportunities. As a result guidance has been created in draft form by The Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens. The guidance is written for both local authorities and community organisations. We are now seeking your thoughts and opinions about it and would like to invite you to one of three consultation events.

A draft copy of the guidance is available for download here and we would strongly recommend reading it before attending.

If you are unable to attend, we would still welcome your comments about the guidance. You can fill in a questionnaire for each chapter that interests you on Survey Monkey doing a fresh survey for each chapter.

When: December 2nd, 2015 10:00 AM through 1:30 PM
Location: CAIS, Station Court, 41-43 Station Road, Colwyn Bay, Conwy, LL29 8BP

Read more here

See below a link to a free resources available from the Open University in Wales that might be of interest to you or businesses in Conwy.

There is a free 30 hour online course ‘Rural Entrepreneurship in Wales’ - click here

Its learning objectives are –

  • Understand the importance of how living rurally influences your business or social enterprise objectives
  • Explore the feasibility of a business idea
  • Plan a strategy for the development of your company
  • State the likely resources and capabilities required for your new business and understand where the gaps are likely to occur

CONWY BUSINESS WEEK, November 16th- 20th - will showcase the county and businesses who operate here and help to support local businesses and workforces by offering a range workshops, inspirational speakers and highlight the support that is available for businesses.

For more information - click here

Provision of and / or access to transport

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This is an exciting opportunity for an individual to work as part of a team responsible for establishing, delivering and managing projects under the Conwy Rural Development Plan.

The officer will work closely with community groups, businesses and other partnering organisations to stimulate and promote the work of the Local Action Group in Conwy.

Closing date – 29/10/15

For more information - click here

Support for investments in processing/marketing and/or development of agricultural products.
Capital investments by food processing businesses using raw and/or first stage processed agricultural products.
This scheme is part of the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

Window for Expression of Interest open – 20th July 2015

Click here for more information:

Basic services and village renewal in rural areas.
Support for:
- small scale infrastructure (including for renewable energy)
- improvement or expansion of local basic services and/or public amenities.

This scheme is part of the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

Window for Expression of Interest open – 20th July 2015

Click here for more information:

Support for investments to improve performance and sustainability of agricultural holdings. Capital investments by agricultural businesses: including arable, beef, dairy, goats, horticulture (including hydroponics and aquaponics), pigs, poultry, sheep and apiculture.
This scheme is part of the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

Window for Expression of Interest open – 27th July 2015

Click here for more information:

Another of Conwy Rural Partnerships beneficiaries to make the press -

Projects amounting to an investment of £350,000 under Conwy’s Rural Development Plan have received support in the last three years. “This sounds like a lot but the threat to bees and the subsequent effect on the economy is very real.” Commented Elen Edwards, Conwy’s Rural Development Strategy Manager “Scientists have estimated the cost to the UK economy of the loss of bees and pollinating insects could be as much as £440m per year and could amount to as much as 13% of the total value of farming across the country. Protecting our pollinators is vital.”

£200,000 for National Beekeeping Centre for Wales

The National Beekeeping Centre for Wales was set up in 2012 in the Conwy Valley, to promote good practice, accurate and accessible public information, and community action to support the beekeeping industry across Wales. This was made possible thanks to support from Conwy’s Rural Development Plan which funded the fun and informative displays in the visitor centre and the salaries for the employees for the initial period.

Cooperating across borders to protect bees

Communities in 46 towns and villages across Conwy, Gwynedd, Denbighshire and Flintshire have also worked together to protect bees and other pollinating insects across north Wales.
This £140,000 Rural Development project has been driven by Conwy to engage and raise awareness of the threat to bees and pollinating insects, to educate about taking positive action to protect the species and to train new beekeepers. Research indicates that honeybees showed a 23% decline in Wales between 1985 and 2005. Butterflies, hoverflies and many species of moth are also declining across Wales. Wild flower meadows and other semi-natural habitats that support pollinators have also decreased in area.

Pollinator friendly planting

Many thousands of seeds and plug plants of some of our favourite native wildflower species, such as Cowslip, Field Poppy, Fox and Cubs and Ragged Robin have been planted in school gardens, nature reserves, railway embankments, along road verges and in parks and play areas. 15,000 Snowdrop bulbs have been planted in Gwydyr Park in Llanrwst alone.
Some schools have planted apple or mixed fruit orchards, others herb gardens and mixed flower borders full of pollinator friendly shrubs and plants. 6000 Bluebell bulbs were planted in just one day in schools during the "On your Knees for the Bees" event with Iolo Williams, nature lover and wildlife presenter for TV.

Engaging children and families

The Snowdonia Society’s Ty Hyll recruited an Events Coordinator to organise school activity days, Family Bee Popular days, and pollinator friendly garden open days. 7 primary schools visited the site with children hearing a talk about bees and visiting the hives before taking part in a bee hunt and quiz in the gardens, making mini bee hotels and rolling beeswax candles to take home. The project also gained significant publicity and media coverage with Snowdonia Society volunteers from Ty Hyll giving 2 Radio Cymru interviews and hosting the BBC’s CBeebies’ Mr Bloom for filming amongst other smaller press articles.

New generation of beekeepers

Keeping bees has been a traditional part of farming and it’s vital to the welfare of bees that this tradition continues. Early on in the beekeeping project, one of the steering group members, Rhys Owen, Head of Conservation, Woodlands & Agriculture for Snowdonia National Park, observed that there were no young beekeepers in the consultation group. “We looked into what was holding them back and then worked with Merionnydd Beekeepers’ Association to put together a training and development programme to support new young beekeepers. Nine young farmers, aged 17 – 37, have completed the training and now have hives of their own. They’re just about to go into their first full season with their bees and we hope to run further training in honey extraction and marketing.”

We can all do our bit towards protecting and supporting our honey bees – plant bee friendly plants in your garden, let a few daisies and dandelions and other wild flowers grow and, of course, look out for delicious local honey in the shops.


Members of the community, Council leaders, Rural Development Plan staff and Conwy Local Action Group members turned out on a freezing afternoon to see the newly built community Pavilion in Llannefydd last Thursday. 

Councillor Goronwy Edwards, Chairman of the Local Action Group said: “Projects like this test the mettle of a community – and this community has proven itself.  By working together they’ve created

something that will help to sustain their community for the future.  They should be very proud of their achievement.”

The idea of a pavilion was first discussed in a community appraisal in 2009 and the group Menter Nefydd was formed soon after.  With funding from the Rural Development Plan’s Conwy Cynhaliol project, WREN, Sports Wales and Cartrefi Conwy as well as a significant sum raised by the community themselves, the £275K Pavilion is a great achievement and a long term community asset. 

All of the speakers singled out Beryl Morris, Secretary of Menter Nefydd, for particular praise.  Stuart Whitfield of Conwy Rural Development’s Conwy Cynhaliol said “Whilst a grant can pay for a building, it can’t the buy dedication and commitment that Beryl has given to this project to make this happen.  It’s been an honour and a privilege to have worked with Beryl and the rest of the group to deliver this fantastic new community facility.”

Beryl Morris shied away from the praise she was attracting saying “The community have been behind us all the way.  The young people have been really enthusiastic – they’ve even made a cleaning rota already.   And Stuart Whitfield and Neil Pringle from the Rural Development Plan have been a fantastic help and support.”

Councillor Chris Hughes, Cabinet Member for Communities, remembers playing football on the field in Llannefydd as a child: “It’s changed a bit since I played football here as a boy – back then we had to change on the grass.  They were always a great team though!  This has been an excellent project for all involved and it’s good to see projects that help to ensure the sustainability of rural communities.”

Councillor Ronnie Hughes also remembered bringing a team up from Llandudno to play more recently.  The lads got out of the bus and asked where the changing rooms were – they pointed to a container on the field and said “in there”.  As they proceeded towards the container they stopped them and said “you can’t go in, the home team are in there changing!” Most reverted back to the mini-bus to change.   He concluded “The facilities now are up there with, if not better then, those of top league teams.”  Llanefydd was the only team in their league of 30 not to have any changing rooms until now.

The Pavilion offers changing rooms, toilet and shower facilities for home and away teams and a separate area for referees as well as a small kitchen for preparing and selling refreshments.  A new FAW ruling had meant that Llannefydd FC would have been unable to progress in the league without changing rooms from this year. The football team are delighted with the new facilities.

The benefits of a farm grant scheme launched in Conwy in November are starting to be realised with eighteen holdings supported to introduce new processes to their businesses.

The Conwy Farm Improvement Small Grant Scheme opened for a short window last year and invited applications from farm businesses across rural Conwy who had identified ways of improving productivity under four themes; reducing production costs, improving energy efficiency, improving animal welfare and improving farm safety and security. The scheme was administered by Conwy County Borough Council’s Conwy Cynhaliol project based in Llanrwst and was funded through the Rural Development Plan.

Project officer Gethin Owen said “Farming businesses need to invest in the modernisation of their holdings to improve productivity and efficiency, to mitigate the effects of the long-term decline in the real value of farm gate returns. The scheme was established to assist farmers within rural Conwy achieve this by implementing new innovative ideas and techniques that deliver good value for money. The projects funded will help towards safeguarding the future sustainability and viability of Conwy farms”

Funding of up to 50% was available to introduce improvements across the county from Llanfairtalhaiarn to Penmachno. Equipment purchased included a low-volume weed wiper that selectively treats grassland weeds, reducing the amount of herbicide required, mobile sheep and cattle handling equipment, rubber matting to improve cow comfort, and a 50-place calf feeding trailer. While some of the improvements are tied to seasonal activity, others, like mobile sheep handling pens, are providing an instant impact on productivity.

One farm expecting benefits during the grass growing season is Ty’n-y-Coed Uchaf, Penmachno. Sian & Llion Jones, who took over the tenancy of the National Trust holding in 2013, used the grant towards buying electric fencing equipment. The new equipment will enable them to improve grass management on the farm by implementing a rotational grazing system. Compared to the previous set-stocking system used, well-managed rotational grazing systems have been shown to increase grass growth, and therefore the stock-carrying capacity of a farm, by approximately 25% without any additional increase in external inputs. Sheep and cattle are kept at a high stocking density at any given time, and are moved to new paddocks regularly, often on a daily basis. The purchased equipment, including an auto-wind barrow and solar-powered fence energiser, makes the process of moving stock and fences quick and efficient.

Sian commented ’the equipment will enable us to make the most of the farm’s potential to produce livestock from a relatively small investment. It will allow us to increase production and profitability in a sustainable way, without having to invest heavily in infrastructure and expensive inputs such as fertiliser and feed’    

Conwy Cynhaliol was part of Conwy Rural Partnership’s programme of Rural Development Plan projects in the 2011-2014 period.

Although final details and the opening date are yet to be announced, the proposed ‘Sustainable Production Grant Scheme’, to be administered nationally by the Welsh Government is expected to offer funding for similar investments supported by Conwy’s scheme, which is understood to have been unique in Wales for the previous period of Rural Development Plan funding.

According to draft proposals, the new scheme is designed to help farmers modernise their on-farm facilities with the aim of enhancing profitability and environmental outcomes. Grants of between £2,000 and £50,000 at a maximum rate of 40% of the eligible project costs will be available. Submitted projects must be targeted under one or more of four themes:

  • Soil and crop management.
  • Production housing and handling.
  • Animal and plant health and welfare.
  • Crop storage.
  • Machno Utd

    Last year, Machno United FC were delivered some bad news – the field on which they’d played for 85 years was to be sold. The farmer who had leased the land to the club for years was retiring and the farm was on the market.

    Believe And You Will Achieve

    The Club, whose motto is “Believe and you will achieve”, set out to try and raise enough funds to purchase the piece of land for the Club. The farmer very generously offered the Club the chance to buy the field and agreed to sell it at a reduced rate. The Club managed to raise £10,000 themselves and, with the help of Conwy’s Rural Development Plan as well as Sport Wales and a generous donation from a local Charitable trust, they purchased the 5 acre field.

    Jon Seymour, Chairman of Machno United FC said “Machno United is a huge part of the community and heritage of the village. We want to make our village a thriving community and give the kids here just as much as any other child in the UK. As well as the football field, we’re exploring a number of other options for raising funds to develop the rest of the site for the community. We’re hoping to include things the whole family can enjoy together like allotments, an apiary, an orchard and a wildflower meadow.”

    Ela Fon Williams from Conwy’s Rural Development Plan commented “The football field is a really important community asset and we’re delighted to have helped secure its future. Machno United is well-established in the footballing history of Wales and we’re very pleased that it won’t end here.”

    Conwy County has a track record of being the location for a wide range of sporting, music and cultural events which play a significant role in boosting the economy of the County bringing in excess of £25million (per annum).

    The Rural Development Plan has been instrumental in supporting County’s event strategy by focussing on bringing new events to the rural area, and supporting community events to help them achieve their full potential.

    Over the past two years, Conwy’s Rural Development Plan has supported many sporting events in the County including races like the Snowman Triathlon, the Betws y Coed Trail Challenge, the Cambrian Rally, Snowdonia 50 and the World Trail Ultramarathon. In total competitors ran, swam, cycled and rallied over 43,000 kilometres of our beautiful County – that’s enough to go round the world!

    As well as attracting almost 1,000 competitors, the events bring in racers’ families and friends, support teams and spectators, and attract plenty of coverage in the media which all helps to bring even more visitors to the area. Wales Rally GB recently reached up to 60 million people in 150 territories around the world.

    Cultural events and festivals like Snowdonfest, Llanast Llanrwst and Ymuno are community led events which celebrate local artists and musicians and are beginning to grow and attract wider audiences thanks to some additional funding. Nadolig Betws y Coed, another community run event, has gone from being a small Christmas celebration for the people in the village of Betws y Coed, to an annual event attracting visitors from all over the UK to start their Christmas celebrations here in rural Conwy.

    After the initial investment to help overcome the start-up costs, capital investment and risk associated with new ventures, most of these have gone on to become annual events with the ongoing benefit to the area of attracting more visitors and investment to the area as well as giving young people a valuable opportunity to gain work experience in this field.

    As the current Rural Development Plan (RDP) draws to a close across Wales, the RDP team in Conwy held an evening showcase event to celebrate what has been achieved in Conwy.

    Rural Councillors, volunteers from Conwy’s Local Action Group and the Rural Partnership, members of staff and beneficiaries joined together to enjoy an evening of entertainment and a superb meal prepared using produce from Dyffryn Conwy Naturiol by the talented young Chef, Stuart Russell.


    Guests were entertained by some of the beneficiaries of the Rural Development Plan including the new video of the Penmachno mountain bike trail, a performance from Elliott Parkes, the winner of Snowdon’s Got Talent, and harpist Hefina Williams.

    The highlight of the evening for many was an emotional finale by the Nant Conwy Rugby Club youth choir, who performed in aid of Macmillan Cancer Research. The young singers helped to raise over £300.

    The Leader of Conwy Council, Councillor Dilwyn Roberts ended the evening with an emotional speech, adding:
    “I feel very privileged both as a ward Councillor for Llangernyw, Conwy Council Leader and Cabinet member for the rural area to have been a witness to so many successful projects brought to fruition due to the support and funding we have secured for rural Conwy for the Business Plan here from March 2011 until 2014, December. Thank you to you all.”

    Key Facts
    During the evening guests heard from several speakers about the achievements of Conwy’s RDP over the course of the past 3 and a half years:
    • £10million invested
    • 400 businesses supported
    • Developments in tourism
    • Events brought to Conwy:
    • World Trail Championships
    • Snowman Triathlon
    • Betws Trail Race
    • Snowdonia 50
    • Cambrian Rally
    • Innovation & diversification in farming and forestry
    • Community groups grown and strengthened
    • 600 people supported with training
    • 60 jobs created
    • Almost 5,000 individual projects
    • and over 25,000 people in rural villages who are benefitting from better services


    Telynau Tandderwen Harps

    It’s not every day that you see 10 brand new 34-string lever harps all at once but that’s exactly what Hefina and Huw Williams of Telynau Tandderwen Harps were able to do earlier this year thanks to the assistance of a Farm Diversification Grant through Conwy’s Rural Development Plan. 

    Hefina, a music teacher at St Asaph Fairholme Preparatory spotted a gap in the market in North Wales for a harp rental service and set about trying to establish her business.  She originally thought of buying two harps but after researching her market and with support from family and friends and encouragement from Rural Development Officer Neil Pringle, she successfully applied for a grant to help her buy 10 harps.  These have now all gone out to their new families - the last one will be waiting under the Christmas tree on Christmas morning for two lucky children.

    Hefina Says “We’re so proud to offer such a service helping children have the opportunity to realise their potential.  It’s been a whirlwind – we’ve met some lovely families and we feel enriched and honoured to provide them with an affordable lever harp.  It’s priceless witnessing the handover process – it’s the most gratifying experience to see their beaming smiles!”

    Hefina has just ordered another 5 harps which will be available to rent in the next few weeks – in time for Christmas for another lucky family perhaps and a far cry from the two that she first imagined just a few months ago. 

    “I’m really looking forward to unwrapping the next 5 harps although nothing will quite beat having those first ten arrive all at once – and hopefully we’ll never see them all together again.  It was a really special moment and wouldn’t have been possible without the Rural Development grant and Neil Pringle’s unwavering support.”

    Telynau Tandderwen Harps offer a complete service of harp rental with insurance, advice and after-care service for a very competitive rate.

    The community of Capel Garmon gathered in the refurbished village hall last week to enjoy an entertaining Chistmas concert by the children of Ysgol Capel Garmon followed by the switching on of the Christmas tree lights and an evening of music and refreshments with members of the community.  They were joined by representatives of the Community Council, Snowdonia National Park and Conwy Rural Partnership who jointly funded the improvements along with the Heritage Lottery Fund, Conwy Council and others.  

    The committee who look after the village hall on a voluntary basis have successfully raised over £35,000 in total to fund the refurbishment of the hall, including £7,000 from Conwy Rural Partnership’s Village Renewal Key Fund.   The hall has a new roof as well as a new kitchen and toilets, and, most importantly, an outside socket for the Christmas tree lights!

    Cllr Graham Rees opens the Trail
    and starts the Penmachno Enduro

    The new, improved Penmachno Mountain Bike Trail was launched on Saturday (15/11/14).

    The Penmachno Trail is the hidden gem of North Wales biking, with over 30 kilometres of single track and forest trail, spectacular views and the feel of a proper mountain bike adventure.

    Two new sections have now been built, adding an extra 1.5km to the existing trail. The aim of these new sections is to take riders off the forest roads and also to provide a continual descent.

    This £175k rural tourism project was funded by the Rural Development Plan.

    Cllr Graham Rees, Conwy Council’s Cabinet Member for Tourism, Marketing and Leisure, said: “The main objectives were to provide a high quality recreational resource for the local community and visitors; increase local tourism income; and engage the local community in the development and future management of the trail.”

    He added, “The trail is also the perfect location for mountain bike events, and I was delighted to welcome the first ever Penmachno Enduro event on Saturday.”

    The Project had been managed by Conwy Council’s Tourism Team, in association with Menter Bro Machno and Natural Resources Wales.

    Conwy Rural Partnership have just announced a short term small grant scheme for farm improvements in rural Conwy.

    Eligible holdings will be able to apply for a maximum of £5000, paid at a rate of 50% of the total cost of projects which meet one of the 4 criteria:
    Reducing production costs
    Improving energy efficiency
    Improving animal welfare
    Improving farm safety and security

    The last date for claims has been set at 12th December 2014, giving farms just 5 weeks to complete projects. Application forms are available from Glasdir in Llanrwst or by emailing Prior written approval must be obtained before starting work or purchasing any items.

    The naturalist and broadcaster Iolo Williams was on tour around schools in north Wales this week by joining pupils from over 120 schools who were planting over 6000 bluebell bulbs in a  special day ‘On your Knees for the Bees.’

    The Bee Co-operative Project has been active in rural areas of Conwy, Gwynedd, Denbighshire and Flintshire was developed by the Conwy Rural Partnership and is implemented by Menter a Busnes.

    The planting was held on Friday 17th of October at 1.30pm when pupils from over 120 primary and secondary schools were planting on their school land.

    The project aims to increase the numbers of honey bees and the numbers of beekeepers, and also raise awareness amongst the pupils of the importance of the honeybees.

    The naturalist Iolo Williams visited Ysgol Bro Ddyfrdwy in Cynwyd, Ysgol y Foel Cilcain, Ysgol Bro Gwydir Llanrwst and Ysgol Syr Hugh Owen, Caernarfon during the planting day.

    All of the schools participating in the project were given a signed certificate by Iolo Williams as a thank you for their work and cooperation during the special day ‘On Your Knees for the Bees’.

    Myrddin Davies of Menter a Busnes and Project Manager of the Bee Co-operative Project described the project as exciting.

    “We are very fortunate to be a part of implementing this project that will have such a positive effect on honeybees and will also raise awareness amongst children and young people of the importance of the honey bee.”

    Elen Edwards, Rural Development Plan Strategy Manager added that the day had been a huge success and the pupils had been taught planting skills as well as the importance of the honeybees in the company of Iolo Williams

    “The day has been a great example of people working side by side.  Pupils of all ages have taken part in the days activities and have enjoyed.  It has been a unique opportunity for us to raise awareness of the importance of the honeybees in an interesting and appealing way.”

    The best of rural Conwy’s food and drink was put on show for the county’s hospitality trade on 15th October and once again a sumptuous menu captured the interest of local businesses.

    For the third occasion, Conwy County Borough Council’s project Conwy Cynhaliol organised the evening as a networking opportunity for rural food and drink producers to meet new customers from the area’s substantial catering trade.

    Project manager Stuart Whitfield said “It’s a cliché but the showcase format is a recipe for success. We have refined it since last October, took on feedback from our guests and built upon success this April. With the early feedback I am really pleased with the autumn event. A lot of hard work has been put in by my team. Gethin Owen and Laura Fisher have helped us build a great relationship with many of the producers in the area. I know this approach is reaping rewards.”


    Chief Executive of Wrexham’s Village Bakery – Wales’ fastest growing business in 2013 and Baking Industry Awards 2014 'Bakery Manufacturer of the Year' - Robin Jones, was invited as guest speaker and set the tone for the night with his inspiring account of rapid business growth underpinned by a commitment to buying locally.

    Recently appointed by Welsh Government to chair the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board, Mr Jones spoke about the high quality of the food on the evening;

    “The food tonight has been superb.  It’s been a wonderful evening and it has really demonstrated the value of local sourcing”.

    Head Chef at Coleg Llandrillo, Mike Evans, devised a tapas style menu to accommodate a wide variety of produce including organic apples, veal, beef, marrow and rare breed pork sausages. A final course of three deserts from Llanrwst bakery Siwgr a Sbeis (celebrating 25 years in business) and locally blended teas and coffees from Penmachno based Caffi Cristobal completed the culinary cavalcade. Samples of Great Orme Brewery’s craft ales were also served, offering the guests from hotels, pubs and restaurants an overall diverse array of products to consider treating their customers to.

    Fresh look

    Gerwyn Rowlands, of AA Rosette holder Dunoon Hotel, Llandudno, added, “Until you come to an event like this you don’t fully appreciate the amount of produce within the County and the quality is so high.  We’ll be having a fresh look at our menu now in the light of what we’ve seen and tasted this evening.”

    Having attended the previous two events Jonathan Hughes of award winning Great Orme Brewery said; “I’ve again made some great new contacts tonight.  After the last food showcase event I ended up with four new customers who are still ordering from me now.  This is such a brilliant idea.”

    Representing a recent addition to the Naturally Conwy Valley group, Shôn Edwards of Barcut Rosé Veal, Llangernyw, added: “This is the first showcase we’ve been to and it’s been an eye-opener for us.  We’ve made some worthwhile contacts this evening and we’ll be picking up the phone tomorrow morning to pursue them further.”

    Also among the guests was Darren Poynton of Poyntons Butchers with shops in both Colwyn Bay and Llandudno. He is keen to use the project’s Naturally Conwy Valley brand to promote awareness of meat produced entirely within the county.

    Commenting on the evening he said “It is great to see so many local businesses producing fantastic food under the Naturally Conwy Valley brand. I’m proud to be involved.”

    Connecting Conwy farms with catering butchers such as Poyntons is Conwy Valley Meats in Llanrwst. Director Stephen Williams is eager to see more locally reared and finished lamb and beef – and the tight supply chain - achieve a stronger profile, considering Naturally Conwy Valley to be a great opportunity to achieve this.

    The idea for the event originally came from Stuart Whitfield, Manager of Conwy Rural Partnership’s Conwy Cynhaliol project. “We’ve been working to develop the supply chain between truly ‘local’ food and drink producers and those businesses selling their products to both residents and visitors to Conwy. We are promoting some of the shortest supply chains the consumer will find anywhere. While this is a big task the greatest investment in the showcase events is not venue hire or marketing but rather the time spent by the businesses attending. We are very appreciative of that”.


    For more information on the event contact the Conwy Cynhaliol team on 01492 577837 or email and follow Naturally Conwy Valley / Dyffryn Conwy Naturiol on Twitter @ConwyNaturiol

    Conwy Timber Forum Meeting

    Conwy Cynhaliol is holding a timber forum meeting on Monday 8th of September at Nant Conwy Rugby Club, starting at 7.00pm.

    Local contractors, timber processors, woodland owners and timber users are all invited to attend.

    Six months has passed since the last meeting and we have several items to present:


    • Equipment sales
    • Rural Development Plan in Conwy 2015 -2020
    • Coed Conwy website
    • Summary of initiatives in 2014 and suggestions for rest of year

    If you are interested in attending the meeting or know of anyone that may be interested please contact Laura Fisher on 01492 577837 or email


    The Children of Gwynedd, Anglesey and Conwy Being Enterprising 'Marchnad Mentro' - click here


    The Conwy Local Action Group (LAG) has been appointed by the Welsh Government to oversee the 2014 – 2020 Rural Development Programme (RDP) funded by the European Union with an estimated budget of £1.75 million for LEADER type activity in rural Conwy.  The Conwy Local Action Group are now drawing up plans on how to invest this money and we want to hear from you about what you think the priorities should be. 

    Business, community, cultural and natural heritage, farming, food, timber & tourism are some of the areas of activity that will be looked at as we work on a County wide plan to tackle rural poverty and build a sustainable future for life in the rural area. You can have your say by completing our short, anonymous 10 question survey about what you think the priorities in the area should be for 2014- 2020 and/or by emailing us at  

    If you’re interested in rural development and live or work in rural Conwy, there may also be an opportunity to join the Local Action Group and help to steer the next Rural Development Programme.  We need people from all walks of life and all sectors – private and public, community and voluntary. You can give from as little as a few hours of your time at the initial consultation for the Local Development Strategy to coming to regular meetings. To register your interest, please contact Elen Edwards on 01492 576673 or email

    councillor parry

    Rural members of Conwy County Borough Council and members of the Local Action Group enjoyed demonstrations of a mobile sawmill and an anaerobic digester during a visit to two Rural Development Plan projects on Thursday last week. 

    Councillors Goronwy Edwards, Delyth MacRae, Edgar Parry, Ian Jenkins and Ifor Lloyd visited Tai’n y Foel in Cerrigydrudion who have been supported in developing an innovative anaerobic digestion system which will not only provide a long term supply of heat to the farm house but also considerably reduce ongoing fertiliser costs though the biological processing of slurry from the beef herd.

    They went on to visit a Farm Diversification project at Y Glyn, Melin y Coed.  Three farms have formed a cooperative which has been supported to trial the processing of their own timber to create a sustainable alternative revenue stream. Forestry equipment and a mobile sawmill was demonstrated by the group.

    Councillor Goronwy Edwards commented:
    “The visit was really informative.  I’m always impressed by how innovative and resourceful people in the rural area are.  It was very rewarding to be able to see these projects in action.”

    Raising substantial sums of money for big capital projects can be a challenge for many community groups, but next month two presentations will show what is possible with the right approach.

    Conwy Cynhaliol, a Rural Development Plan project managed by Conwy County Borough Council, is hosting two short finance related presentations from Nick Venti of Robert Owen Community Banking and Mike Williams from the Wales Cooperative Centre. The focus will be away from traditional grant funding and more towards sustainable and accessible forms of finance.

    An update on a local community hydropower project, ‘Ynni’r Dyffryn’ will also be given by members of the group.

    ‘Raising Community Finance’ will be held at Y Ganolfan, Dolwyddelan on the 17th of July, starting at 7p.m.

    Ela Fôn Williams, the event organiser, said “This is an opportunity for groups to look at different ways of raising substantial sums of money for projects within their communities and move away from relying on traditional grants to get things done. This event will help build community capacity within groups by supporting and strengthening skills and abilities to take effective action and leading roles in the development of their communities”

    If you are interested in attending the meeting or know of anyone that may be interested please contact Ela on 01492 577 839 or email

    We have an excellent opportunity for anyone living in rural Conwy or who has an interest in the area to have a part in shaping the next Rural Development Plan.  This is your chance to get involved in the consultation process and influence the strategy for this area for the next 6 years.  If you have ideas and suggestions and a positive outlook, we’d like to hear from you.

    We need people from all walks of life and all sectors – private and public, community and voluntary.  You can give from as little as a few hours of your time at the initial consultation for the Local Development Strategy to coming to regular meetings.  For now, all you need to do is register your interest in the area.

    Business, community, cultural and natural heritage, farming, food, timber & tourism are some of the areas of activity that will be looked at as we work on a County wide plan to tackle rural poverty and build a sustainable future for life in the rural area.   

    To register your interest, please contact Elen Edwards on 01492 576673 or email

    Work has recently begun on Menter Nefydd’s new Community Pavilion in Llannefydd, the fruits of years of hard work by the charity.

    With funding from the Rural Development Plan’s Conwy Cynhaliol project administered by Conwy County Borough Council, WREN, Sports Wales, Cartrefi Conwy and also locally raised, the whole project represents a significant achievement and a long term community asset in the village and wider area.

    R.L. Davies and Son Ltd of Llysfaen were appointed in April to construct the timber facility with work set to be completed by September 2014. Composite panels are being used for the build with the structure being largely manufactured in a workshop and then assembled on site.
    Beryl Morris, treasurer of the Menter Nefydd committee said, “We are very excited that work has finally begun on the pavilion and can’t wait for it to be completed”.
    “It will be a huge asset to the area providing a much needed facility to strengthen the community”.
    Conwy Cynhaliol project manager Stuart Whitfield said “The Rural Development Plan is all about increasing the sustainability of rural communities and this project is clearly going to support Llannefydd well into the future”. “Funding aside, the project would never be realised without hard work and commitment from the Menter Nefydd committee. Getting to this stage has been no mean feat”.

    For further information on the project please contact the Conwy Cynhaliol team on 01492 577837 or email

    We’ve teamed up with Conwy Walking Week to help raise awareness of the beautiful Hiraethog area. Take up the Hiraethog Challenge, walking from village to village over 5 days. Or you could try a night walk or bushcraft and foraging events for all the family. You could even join us for an early morning walk and breakfast in a local pub! Booking is essential for all walks during Conwy walking Week – see or for more information.

    We currently have two vacancies within Conwy Rural Development Programme.

    Please follow the following links for further information:

    Renewable Resource Officer - click here

    Rural Development Plan Project Development Officer (Ref: REQ381) - click here



    Conwy’s businesses were celebrating on Friday night at Conwy’s inaugural business awards event “Be a Winner”.

    Conwy Council hosted the evening at Eirias Conference Centre where nearly 250 people enjoyed a meal of local produce under the Dyffryn Conwy Naturiol brand and entertainment from Craig Ryder before the awards themselves began.

    Anna Openshaw of Conwy Rural Business Support, one of the organisers of the event commented:

    “Following our successful Rural Business Awards over the past few years, we felt that it was time to recognise all of Conwy’s small businesses. As a county and as a community, we rely on these entrepreneurs to bring us their products and services. We’re very privileged to have so many talented and hard-working people in the County.”

    John Merrick, Conwy’s Business & Enterprise Manager added “The winners were chosen by a panel of judges made up of the event sponsors and other representatives of business and enterprise. Over a hundred businesses were nominated so to make it to the finals was a real achievement.”

    And the winners are:

    Small Business of the Year – Be My Bear

    New Business of the Year – Holmes & Murphy Veterinary Practice

    Trainee of the Year – Joshua Cook

    Green Business of the Year - Penrallt Consulting

    Apprentice of the Year – Tara Bowerman, Tree Top Adventure

    Social Enterprise of the Year – Glasdir

    Business Person of the Year – Rhian Hastings, Celebration Chair Cover Company

    Award for Corporate Social Responsibility – SPAR

    Business of the Year - Sigwr a Sbeis



    The second rural Conwy food showcase took place on 10 April with Conwy Rural Partnership’s Conwy Cynhaliol project once again teaming up with staff and students at Coleg Llandrillo’s Catering and Hospitality Department to show local hotels and restaurants the food and drink being produced in rural Conwy

    Fifty four guests representing twenty seven hospitality businesses enjoyed a three course meal consisting of locally produced food, alongside the producers themselves. Starting with Ham Hock terrine with meat supplied by Pigging Good Pork at Teyrdan Hall and rolls freshly baked by Scilicorns of Llanrwst, a main course followed consisting of beautifully cooked organic lamb from Bryn Dowsi, Henryd with baby carrots, butterneut squash and spring cabbage courtesy of Belmont, Llanddoged.

    A delicious desert of vanilla panacotta, ginger and rhubarb, also from Bryn Dowsi, rounded of the food before samples of coffee and tea prepared by Caffi Cristobal of Penmachno were offered. All the producers at the event are users of Conwy Cynhaliol’s ‘Dyffryn Conwy Naturiol’ brand which is promoting the local identity of food and drink from rural Conwy.

    Aled Williams, Head Chef of Cennin restaurant, Beamaris, was recruited for the evening to present each producer and explain a little about them to the assembled guests. Guests were asked to make the most of the valuable networking opportunity and discussions about rural producers supplying large and small outlets across the county continued into the evening. A small display of the producers was the focus for the evening, including Conwy Valley Meats, Llaeth y Llan of Llannefydd and Great Orme Brewery, Glan Conwy.

    We’re very proud to be supporting Snowdonfest - a brand new music festival happening right here in Llanrwst on 14th & 15th June. Leanne Mitchell, winner of The Voice 2012 is headlining with performances by the West End’s “We Will Rock You” and local bands Sen Segur, Forever Kings, Kizzy Crawford, Gavner P, Cover Up and Candelas. You’ll also be entertained by newly discovered local talent as the finalists of Snowdonia’s Got Talent will be performing during the weekend as well.

    You can join in the fun and take part in Wales’ biggest dance on Saturday night –learn the moves by watching the video on

    Tickets are £10 for one day, £15 for 2 days and are available now on the website or from


    Hoteliers and restaurateurs from all over the county have been invited to sample a mouth-watering spring themed menu created by Llandrillo College head chef Michael Evans. The dishes will all be created using produce sourced from “Naturally Conwy Valley” producers.

    Michael Evans said, “This event is a fantastic opportunity to highlight the produce we have in North Wales, allowing the hoteliers and restaurateurs to meet with the suppliers first hand and taste their products”.

    “It is only through events like this that we can show the diversity of products we have right on our doorstep and demonstrate the benefits to business customers in using locally produced ingredients”.

    The idea for the event came from Stuart Whitfield, Manager of Conwy Rural Partnership’s Conwy Cynhaliol project. “Our aim is to develop and strengthen the supply chain between truly local food and drink producers and those businesses serving and selling food and drink to residents and visitors to Conwy alike. Nothing beats a face to face conversation.”

    Apart from sampling the quality of locally sourced food, the evening is an opportunity for producers and businesses to network and discuss business opportunities. For more information on the event contact the Conwy Cynhaliol team on 01492 577837 or email



    On the 18th and 19th March, Conwy Rural Partnership will be hosting a bootcamp for tourism businesses to kick start the 2014 season.

    Workshops including copywriting, PR and social media are free to all tourism businesses in rural Conwy and will be held on the afternoons of both days.

    Hazel Barclay, Conwy Rural Partnership’s Marketing Officer commented “This will be a fantastic opportunity for people to step back and look at their marketing from a different perspective and learn some new techniques. We’re aiming to help businesses to stand out in a crowded marketplace and to help Conwy stand out at the same time.”

    Anyone in the rural area who’d like to attend and hasn’t yet received an invitation is asked to contact Glasdir 01492 640640 or see

    What do you dream of…?

    Becoming a photographer?
    Writing a book?
    Being your own business?
    Becoming a beauty therapist?
    Being a mountain guide?
    Making hats?
    Driving an HGV?
    Learning to design a website?

    You could be one step closer to making your dream come true after coming to a Conwy Rural Partnership Training Open Evening. We can offer up to 75% of the costs of any training that you want*.

    Come along to find out more:

    Monday 10th March
    Pafiliwn Cymunedol/Community Pavilion

    Thursday 13th March
    4 – 7pm
    Neuadd Bentref /Village Hall

    Wednesday 26th March
    Neuadd Bentref /Village Hall

    Thursday 27th March
    Neuadd Goffa /Memorial Hall

    If you can’t make it to an Open Evening please call us to talk about our Tailored Training Fund:
    01492 577840

    * Subject to eligibility. You must live or work in rural Conwy and not be eligible for support from other grant bodies.


    A farming family at Llwyn y Coed Isaf in Dolgarrog has begun to cut reeds commercially for the first time. With a grant from Conwy Rural Partnership’s Key Fund, a rice harvester specially adapted for cutting the reeds has been imported from Asia. Emma Roberts first started thinking about the reeds after seeing it at the Royal Welsh. 32 of the 60 acres at Llwyn y Coed is flat marsh land bordering the river Conwy with an abundance of naturally growing reed. Emma, her husband Aled and his brother William took the decision to diversify from their traditional farming activity to put this to commercial use for the first time and approached Conwy Rural Partnership for support.

    Elen Edwards, Rural Development Plan Strategy Manager said:

    “This is one of our flagship projects and we’re really proud to have been able to support this venture. It’s a truly sustainable product in all ways and it’s fantastic to see a local family benefitting from such an innovative idea.”

    Neil Pringle of CVSC who manage the Farm Diversification Key Fund on behalf of Conwy Rural Partnership added:

    “There is an established demand for Welsh reed and only one other grower in Wales – a wildlife trust in Pembrokeshire. 80% of reeds used for roofing in Britain are now imported from Eastern Europe and are not of such high quality. Home grown reed is more economically viable, and lasts longer as well as supporting very valuable wildlife habitats.”

    2 berson The initiative makes use of 32 acres of land unsuitable for grazing. It will provide additional income to the farm business and also creates seasonal employment to one local person. The project will improve the quality of the reed bed for nesting and breeding ground and habitat for a wide variety of birds/wildlife. The family is working with the RSPB and Natural Wealth Resources to manage the site sustainably.


    Conwy Rural Partnership is proud to have supported Boombox Eryri - a film produced by Migrations, inspired by New York based performer and art director Ely Kim's Boombox and recreated with the people of North Wales. In collaboration with Austrian artist David Subal, Migrations filmed 100 people dancing to their favourite music in their favourite place in rural Conwy. The resulting short film is a celebration of dancing, rural Conwy and its communities.


    rhaglen ffermio


    Click here to see the Ffermio programme where Alun Elidyr meets a farmer in Llanrwst who has diversified.




    Conwy’s Food

    Visitors were welcomed to Glasdir in Llanrwst last Friday for the first Local Produce Market where a variety of farm and locally produced food and handmade crafts were on sale.

    The first twenty shoppers to arrive received a goodie bag of promotional materials promoting the new local food brand “Dyffryn Conwy Naturiol” and the passionate local producers using it.

    Fresh vegetables from Cae Melwr farm in Llanrwst, Christmas cake and biscuits made by Scilicorns Bakery, Llanrwst, using wheat grown by Cae Melwr Farm, also of Llanrwst as well as bottled ales from Nant Conwy Brewery of Llanddoged were amongst some of the products kindly donated which were up for grabs in a promotional hamper prize draw.

    Conwy Cynhaliol project manager, Stuart Whitfield said; “The Dyffryn Conwy Naturiol brand is a way of bringing the wide range of products produced in rural Conwy to the attention of local consumers and those visiting the area who are keen to sample what rural Conwy has to offer. The local identity of food and drink can sometimes be missed when consumers are confronted with an assortment of similar products in the shops. Using support from the Rural Development Plan for Wales, with this brand we are trying to give local produce an edge in what can be fierce competition for the attention of shoppers”.

    Ceri Williams of Llanrwst was the lucky winner of the hamper, “I hope the Local Produce Market will be a great success and look forward to the next market in January”.

    The Local Produce Market will be held every second Friday of the month at Glasdir, Llanrwst, from 9.30am until 1.30pm. January market will be held on the 10th of January, 2014.

    Conwy’s Food

    Dyffryn Conwy Naturiol and the Local Produce Market are initiatives supported by the Conwy Cynhaliol

    Project, part funded through the Rural Development Plan which is financed by the EU and Welsh Government. For more information on the brand or to obtain a local food guide please contact a member of the Conwy Cynhaliol team on 01492 577837 or email

    Food Showcase

    Goat’s cheese coated in ginger crumb with a beetroot cake and chutney. Seared pork lion with slow cooked belly pork, braised potato, squash and apples. Prime fillet of Welsh Black beef tartar to name just a few dishes which were prepared at Coleg Llandrillo last month.

    You’d be forgiven for thinking you were reading a Masterchef menu, but in fact these are just some of the dishes that were served up as part of an eight course dinner to showcase food produced in rural Conwy, prepared by head chef Michael Evans and hosted by Conwy Rural Partnership’s Conwy Cynhaliol project.

    Hotel and restaurant businesses from across the county were invited to the evening where they could discuss potential business opportunities with producers located sometimes only a matter of minutes from the major resorts.

    Michael commented, “This event was a fantastic opportunity to highlight the produce we have in North Wales allowing local hoteliers to meet with suppliers first hand and to taste their products.”

    “It is only through events like this that we can show the diversity of products we have right on our doorstep and demonstrate the benefits to both producers and business customers in using locally produced ingredients. It also gave the students at Llandrillo first hand knowledge of what is on our doorstep.”

    A survey conducted at the start of the year established that there is a lack of information available to businesses about produce from rural Conwy, with the survey identifying the sources of ingredients often being neighbouring counties and well beyond, despite there being suitable suppliers in the area.

    Emyr Evans of Cae Melwr, Llanrwst, who supplied seasonal vegetables for the event said, “The organisation, service and quality of food was fantastic. For me as a producer of seasonal vegetables it made me proud that vegetables dug out of the ground hours earlier were used as part of a creative and amazing menu.”

    Apart from sampling the quality of locally sourced food the evening was an opportunity for producers and businesses to network and discuss business opportunities. A second event in the spring of 2014 is being planned and enquiries from producers and businesses serving food should be submitted to the Conwy Cynhaliol team on 01492 577837 or email

    Bwyta Allan

    Last month a new local food brand, ‘Dyffryn Conwy Naturiol’, was welcomed by visitors to the Conwy Feast where thousands of food and drink lovers took the opportunity to sample produce from far and wide.

    Members of Conwy Rural Partnership’s Conwy Cynhaliol team spent the weekend at the food festival promoting the new brand and the passionate local producers using it.

    Fresh vegetables from Belmont farm in Llanddoged, lemon drizzle cake and bara brith from Ty Hwnt I’r Bont in Llanrwst as well as bottled ales from Great Orme Brewery of Glan Conwy were amongst some of the products kindly donated which were up for grabs in a promotional hamper prize draw.

    Conwy Cynhaliol project manager, Stuart Whitfield said; “The Dyffryn Conwy Naturiol brand is a way of bringing the wide range of products produced in rural Conwy to the attention of local consumers and those visiting the area who are keen to sample what rural Conwy has to offer. The local identity of food and drink can sometimes be missed when consumers are confronted with an assortment of similar products in the shops. Using support from the Rural Development Plan for Wales, with this brand we are trying to give local produce an edge in what can be fierce competition for the attention of shoppers”.

    Demonstrating the extent of the attraction of the Conwy Feast, Saturday saw the first lucky winner, Kevin Fearnehough from Liverpool win the hamper, while Will Williams from near Tregarth won the second hamper on the final day of the feast. The team also met visitors travelling from as far as Staffordshire, Manchester and Aberystwyth.

    A Local Food Guide was distributed at the feast, featuring the producers currently using the brand, with more than four hundred guides being handed out over the two days. Stuart added “The food guide was particularly popular. Having the details of rural producers in one place makes it easier for food lovers to find a local source. This first Autumn edition will be updated with more producers as more sign up to the brand”.

    Dyffryn Conwy Naturiol is an initiative supported by the Conwy Cynhaliol Project, part funded through the Rural Development Plan which is financed by the EU and Welsh Government. For more information on the brand or to obtain a local food guide please contact a member of the Conwy Cynhaliol team on 01492 577837 or email

    Bwyta Allan

    If you come to Gwledd Conwy Feast this October, you’ll spot an unusual structure amongst the castle walls – a giant, luminous yellow and pink inflatable. No – it’s not a bouncy castle, but if you allow your kids to drag you there, you’ll be able to sample some of rural Conwy’s tastiest treats.

    Bwyta Allan, supported by Conwy Rural Partnership as part of the Rural Development Plan, has produced a guide to Eating Out in rural Conwy and you’ll be able to meet some of the owners of the restaurants, pubs and cafes featured in the guide, sample some of their dishes and take away your free copy of the guide as well.

    Meet the owners of Pinnacle Café in Capel Curig among others– they’re well-known by walkers in Snowdonia for their homemade cakes and their famous Pinnacle Breakfasts – a must if you’re heading for a day in the hills. They’ll be in the Bwyta Allan pop-up selling some of their delicious flapjacks, brownies, bara brith and welshcakes.

    The Bwyta Allan project currently supports over 50 eateries in rural Conwy. Discover country pubs & charming tea rooms, fine dining with fine views to match or hearty home made pies and crackling log fires. The diverse range of establishments have one common theme – they’re fiercely proud of rural Conwy’s superb local produce.

    Bwyta Allan

    If you can’t make it to Conwy Feast, the Bwyta Allan guide, has been developed to support local cafes and restaurants by encouraging local people as well as tourists to eat out when visiting the area. The guide is now available and copies can be obtained from Tourist Information Centres, B&B's and holiday cottages around rural Conwy. Or you can pick up a copy from our offices at Glasdir in Llanrwst.

    There’s been great demand for another drive-in cinema night after the huge success last time. Organisers Goleuo are delighted to announce The Lion King will be shown at Nant Conwy rugby Club on Saturday October 12th. It’s a free event so arrive early to guarantee a good car viewing point as it’s on a first come first served basis. Parking opens at 6:30 pm and films start at 7pm.

    There will be raffle on the night and popcorn and light snacks will be sold in aid of Cylch Meithrin Bro Cernyw.

    Iola Roberts, Chair of the Cylch Meithrin Bro Cernyw commented:

    “This is a unique outdoor cinema experience for cinema goers of all ages. You can just tune in your car radio on the night to the correct frequency to listen to the film while watching it on the big screen. The support that we have received as Mudiad Meithrin Bro Cernyw in organising this event from Goleuo has been invaluable and we hope that people will support the Mudiad on the evening in buying popcorn and drinks and buying raffle tickets. And we’ve been lucky to get great raffle prizes from tickets to Zip World and Tree Tops Adventures to cakes from Siwgr a Sbeis to a Sunday Lunch at the Holland Arms to name but a few. We have even had milk donated for Tea’s and Coffee’s from the owners of Siop y Llan in Llangernyw! Thanks to all that have worked hard in making the arrangements and those who have donated in any way… all we need now is for people to attend this one-off event!”

    This is a one of a kind event and doesn’t happen much in Wales, it’s a spectacle to see.

    Sioned Davies from Goleuo said “We’re lucky to get the support to put on an event like this from Conwy Rural Partnership, under the Rural Development Plan. It’s a completely different twist to a Saturday night out and I’d urge anyone to come along. It should be a real spectacle.”

    A recent market research project, supported by Conwy Rural Partnership, has shown that there is a real demand for local beef, lamb and bacon from the hospitality and catering industry in Llandudno. John Rooney, the project officer from Conwy Cynhaliol commented, "The results show that a large number of products are purchased from outside the area. Furthermore, after talking with hotel managers, there was a passion for local meats wherever available.

    From this survey came the idea of a farmers' cooperative. The idea is to work with a group of farmers to sell meat directly from farms. Conwy Cynhaliol can offer support with slaughtering, butchering and processing the meat."

    For more information contact John Rooney - 01492 577836 or