The Wellington Food Town Initiative is a five-year plan to promote the town as a focus for the area’s producers, and a wonderful food destination for visitors. The project will implement the Wellington Community Plan with a ‘local food and produce’-based regeneration strategy. This aims to bring about a revitalisation of the town centre and economy, create a sense of pride and identity amongst its citizens, and deliver significant benefits to its rural hinterland by creating a ‘gateway’ and strengthening links between all elements of the local food supply chain.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
The Wellington Food Town initiative was launched in December 2006 with a hugely successful one-day food event that attracted an estimated 5,000 people and boosted producers and town centre retailers, with an estimated £100,000 in sales. The second event in September 2007 – the Food Fair and Festival – was even more successful, with an estimated 10,000 visitors and a huge range of food stalls and entertainment.
The catchment area for food and drink producers takes in much of Somerset and a large chunk of Devon, including Rick Stein Food Heroes and dozens of other award-winners.
Wellington Food Town is coordinated by a steering group and organised by Wellington Economic Partnership, Taunton Deane Borough Council and Wellington Town Council, and is supported by Wellington Chamber of Commerce and Trade, Wellington Farmers’ Market, and Somerset Food Links.
Funds from Somerset Rural Renaissance were spent on paying for some capital equipment for the Wellington Farmers Market so that they are able to expand their operations and give themselves a higher profile locally – at markets, exhibitions and other events. The increase in number of canopies should enable an increase in the numbers of producers attending markets and a consequent increase in sales.
Rural Renaissance is also funding a Co-ordinator post to pull together food town projects and linked initiatives. The Wellington based postholder will be working two days a week on the Food Town Initiative. These two discrete areas of funding will help to put Wellington on the map and to improve the economic activity within the town.