The popular and successful “Gwyrddio Penarth Greening” Food Festival, which is held every year in the Kymin in Penarth as part of the Penarth Summer Festival, may never be held again – and the organisation which began it may be closed down.
Members of “Gwyrddio Penarth Greening” (GPG) – which organises this event – are understood to have voted in principle to wind-up the organisation once an audit of its accounts has been completed.
The decision is said to have come in an Emergency General Meeting held at the Albion Pub in Glebe St Penarth in the last few days.
The all-volunteer Gwyrddio Penarth Greening organisation was not only the driving force behind the Food Festival – it also promoted the innovative “Shop in Penarth” scheme .
The Shop in Penarth scheme allowed customers who bought a GPG “Shop in Penarth” membership card for £1, to obtain a wide range of discounts from a long list of local retailers.
It’s not yet clear what is to happen to the Shop in Penarth scheme and whether card-holding customers and participating retailers will get their money back.
Insiders say cash isn’t the problem: GPG is understood to have an ample bank balance.
A PDN source says the real difficulty is that GPG has had the wind knocked out of its sails by the rival council-promoted festival “Picnic Penarth” . Sources say that the GPG organisation has now languished and became “moribund” – with very little activity beyond the continuation of the “Shop in Penarth” scheme.
Some GPG members see “Picnic Penarth” as being an event which is so similar to GPG ‘s annual one-day Penarth Food Festival at the Kymin that both events were – in effect – mining the same seam. The “Picnic” events however, have had the advantage of being promoted, underwritten and “owned” by the Labour-controlled Penarth Town Council with additional funding from the Labour-controlled Vale of Glamorgan Council.
Indisputably, it was Gwyrddio Penarth Greening which was the first organisation to come up with an idea of holding an outdoor Food Festival in Penarth. The first GPG event was held in 2011,
“Gwyrddio” is Welsh for “greening” which might have given the impression that the organisation was somehow connected to the Green Party – although it’s understood there was never any formal link. The “green” element was environmental rather than political.
GPG’s chairman, however, is the well-known Green activist Anthony Slaughter, who has been a former Deputy Leader of the Green Party in Wales, and has twice stood for election as a Green Party candidate in UK Parliamentary General Elections and in Welsh Assembly elections.
Slaughter has announced that he is to stand as a Green candidate for the St Augustine’s Ward of Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan Council elections coming-up in May 2017 – thus putting himself in head-to-head contention with the ruling Labour Party and the incumbent St Augustine’s Labour councillors – amongst whom is Cllr Lis Burnett – now Deputy Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council.
The Vale Council’s support for the rival “Picnic Penarth” event was seen by some in GPG as an attempt to “steal the thunder” of the annual GPG Kymin Food Festival and to prevent the environmental Green movement – and, by inference, the Green Party – from gaining any further momentum in Penarth.
Picnic Penarth was originally launched on September 5th 2015, with a second larger Picnic event taking over the whole of Station Approach which ran from 18:00 on Friday April 15th 2016 to 21:00 on Sunday April 17th 2016 .
However instead of holding a Picnic this Autumn – 12 months after the original event – the Autumn event was cancelled at short notice and Penarth Town Council now proposes to hold 2 “Picnic Penarth” events in the course of 2017 . As the Vale of Glamorgan Council is said not to be providing any further funding for the Picnic Penarth, Penarth Town Council is seeking a budget of £2,000 in order to fund the development of the further scheduled ‘Picnic’ events and obtain sponsorship to underwrite the costs.
In the Emergency General Meeting of Gwyddio Penarth Greening in the Albion Pub last week, a majority of members are understood to have voted in principle to wind up the organisation once the final audit of accounts has been completed. The formal closure of GPG would then be triggered by a further vote by its members.
It’s understood that a new organisation – provisionally entitled “Sustainable Penarth” – may be launched in its place .