Ukraine Looks to Ludlow for Inspiration

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A group of local government officials from Lviv, Ukraine made a beeline for three of Ludlow’s biggest assets when visiting the UK on a business fact-finding mission this week.

Eager to research successful regeneration partnerships between the public and private sectors, the group of economic and regional policy decision makers was introduced to the Ludlow Food Centre, Ludlow Castle and Ludlow Eco Business Park by Adrian Campbell of the International Development Department at the University of Birmingham and Tim King from South Shropshire District Council.

From a country where agriculture and national heritage have suffered from years of under investment, the Ukrainian visitors approached Ludlow seeking inspiration on how to rejuvenate their own food and tourism sectors and were impressed by the well preserved historical town centre, the entrepreneurial activity at the Eco Park and the successful marriage between farming and food at the sophisticated £2.5 million Food Centre in Bromfield. Both projects have received funding support from Advantage West Midlands through the Rural Regeneration Zone.

Food Centre director Sandy Boyd welcomed the party with a presentation on how the 4000 sq ft retail centre got off the ground and how, since its launch in April, it has created 62 full and part time jobs for local people and regular trade for the region’s farmers and growers. He says, ‘Although we have only been open eight months, the Centre is fast developing a national reputation for innovation in local food retailing and in recent weeks we have been visited by two groups of regional development executives from Scotland, keen to replicate our success. In the right location, with sufficient funding and planning, there is no reason why the Ukrainians can’t follow our example and create a thriving food tourism sector of their own.’

Elena Denezhkina was delighted with her day in Ludlow. She says, ‘I liked the good design and quality products on display at the Food Centre and believe the concept would work well in Lviv as we love to cook real food and will travel distances to find good quality ingredients. In Ukraine people do their shopping at markets and there are only a handful of supermarkets in the country, which we don’t really use to buy food. People who eat well are happier and this is reflected in Ukrainian culture, as I think it also is in yours!’

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