Cittaslow is part of a cultural trend known as the Slow movement, set up in the 1990s by some laid-back Italians to combat the stresses of modern life. Ideas include Slow Food (taking time to enjoy what you eat and reconnecting with where food comes from), and Slow Cities or Cittaslow.
Early in 2006 under the guidance of Mold Town Council and with the help of Flintshire County Council, Mold set up a working group of 12 people who spent six months putting together a formal bid. The bid demonstrated every aspect of the town’s suitability for accreditation, against 55 criteria, including the strength of its local voluntary organizations, its hospitality, businesses, heritage, and range of local produce and products.
Mold became the first Cittaslow Town in Wales, and it was fitting that this accolade was announced at the first Mold Food and Drink Festival in 2006.
Since joining, Mold has seen its profile raised locally, nationally and internationally, and has benefited hugely from holding the status. The accreditation is for the whole town and builds on the good work carried out by groups, organizations, businesses and individuals alike. The Town Council and its partners are working together in a holistic way towards delivering the Cittaslow goals and principles, which serve as benchmarks to improve the quality of life in each Cittaslow town.
In 2013, Cittaslow International issued a set of 77 revised goals after consultation with the national networks. These are more ambitious to reflect worldwide changes, such as the pressure on clean water supplies and the increasing number of refugees.
One key benefit of being a Cittaslow town has been to reassure potential investors that Mold is well run and progressive, so unlocking funds from grant giving bodies to help finance local initiatives. The town has won several environmental awards and has developed programmes of community engagement, strengthened existing networks and instigated many events and activities for all to enjoy.
There are currently 199 Cittaslow towns in 30 countries across the world all committed to retaining their unique identities in the face of global homogenisation and to strengthen their communities. In the UK these include Aylsham in Norfolk, Berwick- upon-Tweed on the Scottish border, and Mold and Llangollen in north Wales.
Cittaslow is an internationally recognised standard – an accreditation that acknowledges the dedication and commitment of community members involved in making their part of the world a healthier, greener, happier, slower place to be.