The marketing initiative that was first held in March 2017 to promote events and profile-raising opportunities in London for Wales and Welsh organisations has launched its 2018 events programme.
The 2018 schedule was launched at an event hosted by Rt Hon Alun Cairns MP, Secretary of State for Wales, and First Secretary of State, Rt Hon Damian Green MP, at Gwydyr House in London on Monday 4th December, and was attended by representatives from both UK Government and Welsh Government, and leading figures from a range of business sectors, the Welsh diaspora in London, Welsh sporting and arts organisations, and the media, to hear about next spring’s Wales Week in London, which will take place over a fortnight around the time of St David’s Day in London next year.
Described as ‘Where Wales meets London, when London celebrates Wales’, the inaugural Wales Week in London was first held back in February-March 2017, and is led by Founders Dan Langford and Mike Jordan, two Welsh-based professionals who have long had business connections in London.
At the time, Wales Week in London was launched with founding partners Acorn Recruitment, Bluegg, Welsh Government, UK Government and Seer Green Financial Planning, and the support of four sponsors. In recent months the initiative has captured the imagination of many more, and for 2018, 15 sponsors have signed up, as well as the continuing involvement of both the Welsh Government and the Office of the Secretary of Sate for Wales.
The 2018 celebration consists of a calendar of events from Saturday 24th February until Friday 10th March; together to galvanise, showcase and leverage the activities of existing London-based Welsh communities, and help celebrate and promote the best of Wales, in London.
And as well as a number of activities being held by the Welsh Government and the UK Government, the programme of events has also attracted the participation of a number of other Welsh-based organisations, which are using the occasion as a vehicle to promote their products and services whist developing new London-based audiences, partnerships and businesses connections. Such events include the Football Association of Wales, Hugh James, National Museum Wales, Furrer+Frey, Welsh Books Council, BAFTA Cymru, and Swansea University School of Management among others.
There were 56 events and activities held during Wales Week in London last spring and the organisers are expecting this number to be increased to nearer 75, being held around St David’s Day in 2018.
Dan Langford, Group Marketing Director of Acorn Recruitment, who for a number of years has been active in promoting Welsh business in London, said, “Back last spring we never imagined how well the inaugural Wales Week in London was going to be received, or the extent of participation it attracted from so many individuals and organisations. The whole thing came together in just over three months, and we were amazed by the incredible reception it had and how quickly it would build into something quite significant.
“This year, we have been completely overwhelmed by how the momentum continues to build, and we’ve experienced a huge increase in the number of people approaching us with ideas for events they’d like to run or to discuss how their organisation can get involved through sponsorship in any way.
“The active contribution of the Welsh diaspora and the various Welsh groups and societies based in London has been crucial to the success to date; as has the superb support and involvement of both the Welsh Government and the UK Government, working collaboratively with a shared ambition to promote a modern Wales to the rest of the world.
“And we are also hugely grateful to all our sponsors, who are backing Wales Week in London through a number of ways; helping it to grow, thrive and develop.”
Wales Week in London is an opportunity for any Welsh organisation that has an interest in developing new or increasing audiences in London.
Whether promoting products or services to London-based consumers or businesses, attracting new audiences for an artistic production, developing new business contacts and partnerships; or simply showcasing the best of Wales as the place to do businesses, to visit or to study, Wales Week in London is there to support.
In doing so, this united, proactive and coordinated promotion aims to build a positive momentum across the capital that is distinctly about Wales.
Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns MP said; “St David's Day is a time when Welsh people across the world celebrate their roots and show off the best our nation has to offer to friends and colleagues. As one of the world's most exciting international cities, it makes perfect sense to use the many events taking place in the city around St David's Day to provide a platform to promote Wales to the World.
“I'm delighted that the UK Government was a founding partner of Wales Week in London and is able to give its full backing in 2018 and help host so many fantastic events to celebrate Welsh culture, industry and products."
Welcoming the initiative, Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for Economy & Transport, Welsh Government, said; “Ours is a vibrant country with so much to offer - historically, culturally and of course through our diverse range of businesses, and Wales Week in London is a co-ordinated promotion of all that we have to shout about.
“This annual festival showcases a series of activities that celebrate and promote existing Welsh communities in London, providing an exciting opportunity to raise our profile and create a real buzz.
“Together with the best in Welsh business, music, art, tourism, heritage, sport, public life and the media, we’re promoting a schedule of events that will collectively tell the world how good we truly are.”
The Wales Week in London website includes details of nearly 40 events that are already confirmed, and the organisers confirm that many more will be added over the coming weeks.
Sponsors of Wales Week in London 2018 include Hugh James, Swansea University School of Management, SD Sealants, Furrer+Frey, SaxonAir, GE Aviation, PwC, Cooke & Arkwright, Cardiff Council, Burns Pet Nutrition, Colleges Wales, Welsh Sports Association, Golley Slater, Resources Ltd, and WRW Construction.
Co-founder, Mike Jordan, director at branding agency bluegg added; “We’d love to hear from anyone who wishes to get involved; this initiative must aim to benefit the whole of Wales and in any capacity possible; for that we need more activities, and louder and more diverse events. We want to make as much Welsh noise as possible and blow the minds of everyone across London.”
The website can be found at www.walesweek.london