PENARTH ‘S POPULAR KYMIN FOOD FESTIVAL MAY NEVER BE HELD AGAIN

Locally grown fruit and vegetables were a keynote of the Penarth GPG Food Festival

Locally grown fruit and vegetables and local produce were a keynote of the Penarth GPG Food Festival

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 GPG Food Festival has been a success every year since it began in 2013

The GPG Food Festival has been a success every year since it began in 2013

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 .

Gwyrddio Penarth Greening has its own website - featuring a list of local retailers participating in the Shop in Penarth local discount scheme . It's uncertain what the validity of SIP cards will be if the scheme folds.

Gwyrddio Penarth Greening has its own website – featuring a list of local retailers participating in the Shop in Penarth local discount scheme . It’s uncertain what the validity of SIP cards – bought by shoppers for £1 –  will be if the scheme folds.

The "Shop in Penarth" scheme had stickers in the windows of participating retailers

The “Shop in Penarth” scheme had stickers in the windows of participating retailers

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.

Warm sunshine, great food, music, straw-bale seating and cold beer were all part of the crowd-pulling appeal of the 2015 Picnic Peanrth.

The new kid on the block turned out to be the Picnic Penarth event which was launched in 2015 – supported by the Labour-controlled Vale of Glamorgan Council. It’s said to have “stolen the thunder” of the longer-established GPG Penarth Food Festival.

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.

Anthony Slaughter is nominated to contest the St Augustines Ward seat for the Green Party on the Vale Council in May 2017

Anthony Slaughter is nominated to contest the St Augustines Ward seat for the Green Party on the Vale Council in May 2017

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.

Happier Days: At the GPG Food Festival in 2013 Cllr Lis Burnett (Labour St Augustines) (now Deputy Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council) shares a joke with the Green Party's Anthony Slaughter who is chairman of Gwyrddio Penarth Greening. The Labour-controlled Vale Council's support for the rival Picnic Penarth event is now being seen by some as being a factor in GPG's vote in principle to wind up its organisation

Happier Days: At the GPG Food Festival in 2013 Cllr Lis Burnett (Labour St Augustines) (now Deputy Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council) shares a joke with the Green Party’s Anthony Slaughter who is chairman of the non-political Gwyrddio Penarth Greening. Ostensibly both will be in contention for a Vale Council St Augustine’s seat in the 2017 electiions

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 .

The "Picnic Penarth" logo at Station Approach in April 2016. There is to be no autumn event this year.

The “Picnic Penarth” logo at Station Approach in April 2016. There will be two “Picnics” 2017.

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.

fullscreen-capture-30102016-065740-bmpIn 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 .

 

 

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13 Responses to PENARTH ‘S POPULAR KYMIN FOOD FESTIVAL MAY NEVER BE HELD AGAIN

  1. Jan Harding says:

    Love both events, please keep one of each.

  2. SianP says:

    I don’t understand why the two food events can’t co-exist, they both have a different feel.The council backed one actually has less choice of food and is much louder and basher. Perhaps, having stolen the idea they want to eradicate the opposition…..

  3. penarthblog says:

    It would be good if the Shop-in-Penarth scheme could continue as it would be of benefit to both customers and businesses and the marketing opportunities it would bring.

  4. Christopher David says:

    I’m not clear on the issues here. Are we saying the VOG used public money to set up an organisation that competes with and may eventually have closed a private enterprise organisation?
    On the surface if the private scheme had just one event a year and a shoppers discount scheme the council don’t have then I’m not sure how the council can have impacted on them? Unless of course the council plans to hold a publically sponsored event on the same day as the one day private event? That would be silly and destructive. So what’s up?

    • Lindsay says:

      GPG is, or was, a voluntary organisation concerning itself with climate change and other environmental issues. Membership was free and open to anyone with no bias and no political affiliations. It organised a few functions with a view to involving the wider community. Sadly, it appears to have floundered, presumably because of lack of interest. I doubt that its demise has anything to do with Machiavellian plotting for political reasons.

  5. Anne Greagsby says:

    ‘Greening Penarth’ became moribund after Patricia was succeeded by Slaughter who let the group become moribund while he boasted of his chairmanship but was pursuing his green party politics. A new organisation has been formed by Sandra Booth and others called ‘sustainable Penarth’ @SustainablePen1 to replace it so ‘greening Penarth’ had to be formally closed.

    • Dan Potts says:

      Slaughter has been a big problem for GPG since he joined and took over, he just used the volunteers to boost his political career, not that he has got very far !

    • Mgg says:

      Is that the Sandra booth who will be running as a green candidate in next election so it’s the same problem isn’t it . Please have a bit of respect and refer to. People by their name ie Mr Slaughter. PS I have always found Mr Anthony Slaughter to be hard working and dedicated in his role as gpg chair. What are you doing for your community as well as highlighting everything wrong with everyone Else.💏
      .

  6. jm says:

    there’s surely room for all – I have a lot of aympathy for the aims of GPG but would suggest they shouldn’t give up so easilh. I don’t think the vog is clever enough to undermine GPG’s event, and even if it were, it’s the VoG we’re talking about, it’d never work. Is the town council being used as a political tool? well possibly, but until we get rid of political parties from it, it’ll be political.

    i fear it may just be that GPG has run out of steam!

  7. Peter Church says:

    Penarth Greening, wasn’t he the controller of BBC Radio 1 ??

  8. RetailGuru says:

    The Shop in Penarth scheme is continuing, but will be organised by Penarth TC and the retailers themselves. GPG ran out of steam some time ago – hopefully this change will give the SIP a much needed boost.

  9. Louise says:

    Both events are good for Penarth, surely? They raise awareness of locally sourced food and suppliers with their individual atmospheres. Whenever I’ve been to the GPG food festival or Picnic, they seem well supported by locals and visitors all having a good time and putting money back into the local economy.

  10. Anne Greagsby says:

    Correction….Sandra Booth is a Plaid Cymru member!

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