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Made with Wool aims to promote innovate uses of Welsh wool


A new partnership has launched to add promote innovative ways of using Welsh wool to ultimately increase its value.

It is being led by Anglesey-based social enterprise Menter Môn in partnership with British Wool, the Wool Testing Authority and BioComposites Centre from Bangor University, and funded through the Welsh Government Rural Communities.

With the price of wool in decline over several years, the ‘Made with Wool’ project aims to add value to Welsh wool as a natural and sustainable product.

The first Wool Manifesto for Wales was launched last month at the British Wool Depo, Newtown in Powys.

“The Wool Manifesto for Wales’ has been created by those who are involved in all parts of the supply chain, explained project manager Elen Parry. “It acknowledges the current circumstances faced by the industry and presents a clear vision for a future that responds to challenges, making the best use of the opportunities going forward.

She explained that the project will pilot five high value innovative products made using Welsh wool, offer a mentoring scheme and offer free wool testing for farmers to have a better understanding of the quality of their wool.

It will also build a network of stakeholders across the supply chain and educate people about wool through webinars, workshops and visits. The project also has the opportunity for scoping studies, which can look at certain barriers within the industry or feasibility studies.

“One of the scoping studies we are currently conducting is on the current state of the Welsh Mills and whether there is a demand for a new weaving outlet in Wales,” she said. “We have had designers contact us to say that they would like to get their designs weaved in Wales, but the mills don’t have the capacity. We are hoping to get an understanding on the future of the mills and how to keep the skillset alive.”

The manifesto is available here, as well as further information about the project.

Developing new Welsh wool product prototypes

The Menter Môn project is working in partnership with Bangor University’s BioComposites Centre to develop five wool product prototypes with the aim of ultimately increasing the value of Welsh wool.

The project team is keen to work with a different people and businesses to develop products which demonstrate the potential of Welsh wool as a valuable product.

Sioned McGuigan, Made with Wool project officer, said: “Shearing costs are now higher than the price of the wool itself, which is at an all-time low and farmers are facing significant challenges with the annual disposal of wool. The project aims to add value across the supply chain, from the farm to the end product. The response so far has been fantastic and as we move to the next stages of creating several prototypes, we want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to play a part in the project.”

The project is looking to hear from businesses, farmers, producers, or people with an interest in rural matters, to work together on the next steps of the product development. You can register your interest in the project here.

Traceability of Welsh wool

A traceable wool scheme that traces the origin of wool from the farm gate to the shop floor is also one of Menter Môn’s projects as part of the  ‘Made with Wool’ programme.

The traceability scheme has been launched by British Wool and the Made with Wool team to ensure that the identity of Welsh wool is not lost as the wool is processed and sold.

To solve this, British Wool launched a wool traceability scheme in 2021 that introduces transparency to the supply chain and enables customers to identify the provenance of their wool while offering a higher price to the farmers that sell their wool through the scheme.

Gareth Jones, Head of Producer Marketing at British Wool, said: “This scheme was launched in response to our customers’ needs and their desire to be able to trace the wool back to the breed of sheep or specific area.”

During the first year of the scheme, over 500,000 kilos of traced wool was sold, equivalent to 250,000 sheep and British Wool will continue to expand the scheme.

Made with Wool will be working in partnership with British Wool and the Wool Testing Authority to offer free wool testing to farmers in Wales, this will enable them to gain an understanding of the quality of their wool and whether it can be improved in the hope of raising the status of Welsh wool as a valuable commodity rather than a by-product. The project also continues to collect ideas on the barriers within the sector in order to undertake scoping and feasibility studies that address issues and support the sector.

Gwnaed â Gwlân is funded by the Welsh Government’s Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

Visit the Gwnaed â Gwlân website to find out more