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UK Research and Innovation funds new Welsh economic partnership

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A WELSH initiative designed to improve lives and economic opportunities in rural Wales will get £5m in new funding.

The Rural Wales Local Policy Innovation Partnership will strengthen collaborations and knowledge exchange in rural Wales to:

  • develop integrated and innovative solutions to challenges facing rural Wales.
  • empower local communities to respond to local challenges through community-led research and innovation, contributing to inclusive sustainable development.
  • It will collaborate with communities in five pilot areas around Corwen, Newtown, Trawsfynydd, northern Ceredigion and north-west Pembrokeshire to build a regenerative economy and support the move to net zero.

The Director of the Rural Wales Local Policy and Innovation Partnership (LPIP), Professor Michael Woods, said:

“Rural Wales faces significant challenges in growing its economy, providing good jobs and housing for local people, and maintaining services to ensure the wellbeing of communities. This is an exciting opportunity to bring together expertise from universities, businesses, the public sector and communities to work towards an inclusive, sustainable future for the region.”

Part of UKRI’s work to create opportunities and improve outcomes across the UK, the four Local Policy Innovation Partnerships (LPIPs) will bring together devolved governments, local authorities, businesses and communities to harness the power of research and innovation in addressing local challenges. The partnerships will drive sustainable and inclusive economic growth and reduce regional disparities in the UK.

Professor Alison Park, Head of UKRI’s creating opportunities, improving outcomes theme, said:

“Local Policy Innovation Partnerships demonstrate UKRI’s commitment to bringing together a diverse range of partners, from local and devolved government, communities and businesses. Through these long-term collaborations, we will accelerate the use of research and innovation to reduce regional inequalities and drive sustainable, inclusive growth.”

The other partnerships are:

  • A Scottish project, which will focus on building inclusive economic opportunities, including jobs, around an abundant natural resource – water; and
  • A Northern Irish collaboration that will focus primarily on boosting skills to tackle unemployment and improve economic growth.
  • A Yorkshire partnership to support inclusive and sustainable job-growth, businesses, culture and tourism with a focus on low-income, marginalised and isolated communities.
  • The four projects are supported by a Birmingham-based LPIPs hub, which will gather and share data, evidence, learning and best practice with the UK government, local authorities and researchers who are focusing on regional inequality.

The LPIPs programme is funded by UKRI through the Economic and Social Research Council, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Innovate UK.

It used an innovative two-phase competitive process. In phase one of the programme 10 LPIPs each received up to £50,000 of seed corn funding to build local partnerships and work with communities and other agencies to develop strong, evidence-based proposals for phase two.

Creating opportunities and improving outcomes is one of five cross-cutting strategic themes for UK Research and Innovation. Work funded under this theme will improve outcomes for people and places across the UK by identifying solutions that promote economic and social prosperity.

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£1m boost for marine, fisheries and aquaculture industry in Wales

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£1 MILLION of Welsh Government funding is being made available to boost the marine, fisheries and aquaculture industry in Wales, Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths has announced.

The support comes from the Welsh Marine and Fisheries Scheme, with the application window for this funding opening today. The scheme aims to ensure environmentally and economically sustainable growth in the sector and help coastal communities prosper into the future.

Those in the industry can apply for funding for a wide range of activities from 11 separate categories.

These include, but are not limited to, funding to increase the potential of aquaculture sites and equipment on vessels aimed at reducing emissions and increasing energy efficiency, and professional advice for businesses ranging from marine environment sustainability to business and marketing strategies. Applicants could also apply for funding for projects to carry out research on health safety and wellbeing needs for the sector.

The maximum grant award is £100,000, with the minimum grant award being £500. The application window closes on 10 May and successful applicants will be notified during July.

Applicants must be registered with Rural Payments Wales (RPW) Online, where the application and claims processes can be found. Details of the scheme, including guidance, can be found on the Welsh Government’s website – www.gov.wales/marine-fisheries-grants

Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths said: “I am pleased to be able to make £1 million available to support our marine, fisheries and aquaculture industry.

“The Welsh Marine and Fisheries Scheme offers funding for a broad range of actions which can be vital in helping businesses to take advantage of opportunities and grow.

“I encourage everyone with an interest to visit the Welsh Government’s website to learn more about the scheme and apply by the closing date of 10 May.”

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St David’s Day boost: Pembs creamery launches new Welsh milk price

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PEMBROKESHIRE CREAMERY, which is set to begin production this spring, has used St Davids’ Day to launch its new milk price for Welsh milk.

Using the industry-recognised Liquid Standard Litre the company has announced an April milk price of 38.5 pence per litre.

Pembrokeshire Creamery will be the only liquid milk bottling facility in Wales certified to supply Welsh supermarkets. Ultimately this will be local Welsh milk, produced, processed and distributed from this new development.

Eliminating the need for transporting milk to England for processing, Pembrokeshire Creamery significantly reduces food miles, streamlines the supply chain, creates new skilled jobs in Pembrokeshire, and bolsters local farming communities. This efficiency enables Pembrokeshire Creamery to offer producers who have already committed, and those following the project as it develops, a competitive milk price from April 2024.

Mark McQuade, managing director, Pembrokeshire Creamery said: “It seemed fitting, on St David’s Day, to launch an April milk price for Welsh milk which we hope will be sufficiently competitive to attract farmers from across the region to consider us as a potential customer.

“We will be the only BRC Certified facility to offer Welsh milk that is also bottled in Wales enabling us to offer an authentically Welsh milk supply for Welsh supermarket stores.

“This unique selling point gives Pembrokeshire Creamery, and the farmers who work with us, a strong point of difference in meeting the needs of both retailers and consumers who increasingly value locally-sourced produce,” he said.

The development of Pembrokeshire Creamery has been supported by the Welsh Government and the EU RDP-funded Food Business Investment Scheme. Additional funding has been supplied by HSBC.

(Cover Image: Mark Sinclair)

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Indian baker inspired to make Welsh cakes in Mumbai

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A BAKER based in India has been impressing locals after trying her hand at Welsh cakes, finding inspiration in an old family recipe.

Desiree Bradford, who runs the Goodie Bag Co based in Mumbai, has enjoyed baking the much-loved Welsh treats, despite having no idea what they were supposed to taste like beforehand.

Born and raised in Mumbai, she was given an old family recipe by Mitchell Theaker, a Welsh native who recently moved to the country as the Welsh Government’s head of India.

Desiree said: “It definitely made me nervous; trying to recreate something that Mitch has had since childhood, it was a big ask.

“Also, I had no idea what it actually tastes like. I did enjoy the process – learning about it – that it was meant to be a hardy food for the miners, who carried them in their pockets.

“Mitch was very encouraging with his feedback and after a few trials – I hope I can do some justice to the Welsh cakes.”

She’s also created a fusion to celebrate the coming together of the two nations, in addition to the original recipe – an Indian-inspired rose, cardamom and pistachio flavour.

St David’s Day is being celebrated in Mumbai as the Welsh Government announces that 2024 is the year of Wales in India.

Year-long celebrations will bring the two nations together through a series of events, stories and activities which celebrate the two nations of culture and innovation.  

Food is playing a key part in the celebrations – both throughout the year and at the St David’s Day events.

Alongside showcasing popular brands, such as Penderyn whisky and Calon Wen cheese to a global market, Desiree made more than 1,000 Welsh cakes ready for the St David’s Day celebrations in Mumbai.

Desiree, who also loves to ride motorcycles in her spare time, wasn’t actually sure what the cakes were supposed to taste like. She said: “The first time I made Welsh cakes, I could not gauge if it was supposed to taste like a cookie or a pancake or a scone.

“I had to watch lots of videos on dos and don’ts, it does take some time to understand just how much to cook it, so it doesn’t get dry.

“Since then I have been enjoying the Welsh cakes – especially when they are straight off the pan.”

The recipe came from Mitchell’s grandmother, who was from Ynyshir, and he believes she probably got the recipe from her mother.

Mitchell said: “My grandmother lived in Ynyshir, Rhondda all her life.

“Seeing her Welsh cake recipe, being baked in Mumbai with such love for our Saint David’s Day events, well, it’s really touching.

“To us it’s more than just a set of instructions; it’s a piece of our family’s heart and history that Desiree has honoured so beautifully.

“The timeless appeal of genuine, traditional, home-cooked goodness. It’s a beautiful bridge between our two countries.”

Baking Welsh cakes has even inspired her to learn more about our nation, and even attempt to try more Welsh classics.

“I honestly can’t say that I know much about Wales, but I am definitely inspired to visit and curious to try some other Welsh favourites like the Bara Brith.”

For the latest news and updates on Wales in India, follow @WalesInIndia on twitter and Wales in India on LinkedIn.

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