Community Interest Company (CIC)

The Cheese Market is run by Directors of Hay Community Enterprise CIC, a community interest company that was set up to save the Cheese Market building and undertake other community projects in the Hay area. Our members include Juliet Noble, Anna Hicks, John Evans, Chris Armstrong, Fiona Howard and Ian Jardin.
During project development and delivery stages Clare Purcell was the Heritage Activities Manager and ex-English Heritage Director, Ian Jardin, oversaw the building repair and restoration.

Hay Community Enterprise CIC

Hay on Wye Community Enterprise CIC is a company limited by guarantee with a community interest company status.  Hay Community Enterprise can hold assets, undertake any trade or commercial activity and is subject to the same regulatory and tax conditions as any other limited company.  As a commercial trading enterprise limited by guarantee it is owned and democratically controlled by its members.  The CIC status means that the assets of the enterprise are locked-in and cannot be sold. All the profits made by the enterprise can only be used to further the interests of the enterprise and for social, community or environmental benefit.

The Hay Fund

The Hay Fund provides small grants to local initiatives and supports community events such as Fair on the Square, HayDoesVintage, Hay Food Festival, the Eliza Trail (children's history tour of Hay) and research costs for Hay History Group.

Hay Cheese Market CIC was established in 2008 from an existing voluntary group, whose principal aim was to restore the Cheese Market. The group continues to operate, even though the Cheese Market is now a successful enterprise. The company's main aim is to create social wealth for the benefit of residents and visitors to Hay. It operates to support the regeneration of buildings, land and public spaces to enable people to improve their economic, educational and social circumstances within Hay and its environs. We currently run an annual profit of about £5000, some of which is put aside for maintenance of the Cheese Market building, with the surplus to be granted in donations to local initiatives through The Hay Fund.

To find out more about The Hay Fund, or to apply for funding, email

Projects Supported

Organisers Jo Hodges and Naomi Emmanuel at HayDoesVintage 2016

Organisers Jo Hodges and Naomi Emmanuel at HayDoesVintage 2016

Watching Henry V at Hay Castle by Hay Theatre Company during Hay History Weekend 2015

Watching Henry V at Hay Castle by Hay Theatre Company during Hay History Weekend 2015

Booklet for the Eliza Trail

Booklet for the Eliza Trail


The Heritage Lottery Fund generously supported 93% of the projects eligible costs, which amounted to £286,000. The group then had to fund-raise to find the 7% ‘match funding’ required, as well as the money to cover those areas that were not eligible from the HLFs. This amounted to a further £35,000.

The £35,000 was split between community fund-raising events that included two fabulous fashion shows that involved all the clothing shops in town, a dinner and an auction. The project has been generously supported by a private donor, as well as sourcing funds from other funding partners including Powys County Council Sustainable Development Fund and The Georgian Group.

In addition, many local businesses have helped us fit-out, furnish and decorate the first floor accommodation.

Tile and Mosaic project

Our main community fundraising initiative was the Tile and Mosaic project. Local artist Shelagh Popham designed the mosaic and ceramicist Pat Birks made it and the frieze tiles to match. The mosaic consists of 900 pieces, each purchased with a donation of £10. It depicts images iconic to Hay (the Cross of St George to represent England, the Dragon Wales; the Welsh Mountain Pony, the Hereford Bull, the gavel to denote the market, the castle, church and River Wye at The Warren) in the middle of the mosaic is the coat of arms of the Bailey family, depicting iron and coal workers, since it is those old industries that gave the family its’ wealth. 

The name, DoB, home county and occupation of everyone who purchased a mosaic piece, and /or a frieze tile, have been recorded in a special book. The book was purchased from Hay Book Binders, and local calligrapher Christina Wright hand-wrote every inscription. The book is kept on permanent display in Hay Library as a snapshot of the community as this point in Hays’ history. A scanned copy of the book can be viewed here. The occupations recorded in 2013 contrasting fascinatingly to those recorded in 1835 when the Cheese Market was built – web designer vs. shoemaker; green energy consultant vs. saddler; architect vs. tanner.

You can see the mosaic on display inside the market hall and the frieze tiles, which detail family or local business names, run around the top of this space.