County’s rural communities at forefront of conference

64 days ago

The opportunities and challenges faced by Carmarthenshire’s rural areas were highlighted at a special conference.

More than 170 delegates attended the Carmarthenshire Rural Affairs Conference, held at the Halliwell Centre in the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

The event was a chance for people to have their say in shaping the Carmarthenshire Rural Affairs Task Group’s future recommendations.

The conference was sponsored by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Coleg Sir Gâr and LHP Chartered Accountants.

Topics discussed included the implications of Brexit for agriculture and rural areas as well as approaches to rural development and regeneration.

Speakers at the conference included Cllr Cefin Campbell, Carmarthenshire County Council Executive Board Member for Rural Affairs and Communities; Professor Janet Dwyer, University of Gloucestershire; Gerallt Llewelyn Jones, former Managing Director of Menter Môn and MC for the day was Aled Rhys Jones, Chartered Surveyor, Nuffield Farming Scholar and radio presenter.

A question and answer session was held with Cllr Cefin Campbell, Professor Janet Dwyer, Gerallt Llywelyn Jones, and local businessman Simon Wright.

Discussion sessions covered a number of topics, including the challenges facing entrepreneurs in rural areas; Brexit and what are likely to be the biggest challenges in the agricultural sector, supporting and developing infrastructure and services in rural areas, the environmental challenges and opportunities facing Carmarthenshire and the opportunities for the tourism and leisure sector in the county.

More than 300 responses have been received to the consultation, with the top issues including jobs, broadband, public transport and public services.

Contributions from the conference will be fed into the Rural Affairs Task Group’s work with a report and recommendations for action due to be published in April 2019. 

Closing the conference, Cllr Cefin Campbell, executive board member responsible for Rural Affairs and Communities, said: “A big thank you to all for cooperating with the wide range of topics here at the conference. There are various factors on how to develop the economic impact in the rural areas of Carmarthenshire. In a time of uncertainties and cuts, I felt that today has proven that there is a positive future in front of us and I’d like to capture this enthusiasm and see Carmarthenshire’s rural areas succeed as we all work together to respond to the challenges and opportunities we face.”