The role of event led regeneration has been a focus in Newport City Centre over recent years with Newport Food Festival created a way of showcasing food and hospitality businesses, using physical spaces in an urban setting and working towards changing perceptions of a place that has lacked investment and sense of purpose.
Whilst the event is focussed on one day of the year, the festival is working towards developing a broader and identity and reach organisationally and physically, with it forming a food festival partnership, developing “sister events” and aligning other food related activities to the festival’s objectives.
Chris Jones Regeneration has supported the festival in terms of designing the event around city centre venues, business and spaces with local business engagement key to local benefits that have been generated. Knowledge on local food producers, chefs and restaurateurs and other food businesses has helped build the street based food stalls, chef demonstrations and other activities.
The role of education in food has been important with the Teenchef competition involving 500 young people over the duration of the festival, providing an opportunity to learn how to cook and work as a team. Fringe activity has been developed which has developed pop-up teaching areas, micro brewery talks and joint use of local bookshops as well as masterclass events. Skills development has also been an area of focus, working with Coleg Gwent and Job Centre Plus providing volunteering opportunities at the Food Festival supper and through other activities. Support towards a food and retail academy and the provision of a training kitchen in Newport Market Hall has also been aligned to the festival in terms of the local food and drink sector and pathways to learning for student and workplace training.
In 2014, Newport Food Festival saw 12,500 people attend the one day event with 80 food producers attending, over 30 food related activities, a fanfare supper, fringe activity and a bustling city centre. Chris Jones Regeneration continues to support Newport City Council and partners by putting its food and drink firmly on the food map of Wales.