20 Mar 2014 Regional Meetups
The first of this years Love Your Local Market Roadshows, have as ever, been a total inspiration.
The fantastic examples we are hearing up and down the country from people working in, with, as part of and alongside markets is truly exciting and leaves me with absolutely no doubt that the UK markets industry is one of the most innovative and vibrant in the world.
We have heard from Ely in Cambridgeshire about all the fantastic market days they put on, catering to every taste with bespoke food offerings, vintage events as well as regular farmers’ and crafts markets. Guest speakers Cambridge told us all about how they got involved in Love Your Local Market last year, running a highly successful arts competition that challenged people to describe in paintings, poetry, photos or video what it is that their market means to them, with some stunning results.
On the Saturday it was then off to Jimmy’s Farm for a bit of a first. Not an industry roadshow as such, but we went along to see their fantastic monthly farmers’ market, hear all about the other initiatives they are involved with and the work they do in promoting regional producers. Also demonstrating that markets are a place to become educated brothers, The Skinny Jeans Gardeners were on hand throughout the morning to talk about gardening and where food comes from, from their patch on the farm, inspiring a new generation of allotmenteers and growers.
We went from country to city on Tuesday of this week going along to visit Nottingham market and hear all about how a local not-for-profit is utilising dis-used land to set up markets and enliven town center spaces. Carly Collingwood from Stall-it told us how the new venture already runs a weekly market in Beeston and are looking to expand their locations to Kimberley and Stapleford. Then we had an inspiring talk from Andy Whyles from All About Tourism, a Nottingham based company passionate about promoting local businesses to tourists, visitors and residents and the main organisers of the Great Notts Show.
Today we have been inspired yet again. The Grainger Market was the venue for the Newcastle Roadshow where we received a very warm Geordie welcome. The first of the local speakers was from Simply Sparkles, I won’t say too much about the presentation, as we shall be featuring them in our trader stories shortly but suffice to say the business and the woman behind it blew me away. Reviving the Heart of the West End were next, telling us all about the work this local charity does on their youth enterprise programme. At the industries January conference, the Love Your Local Market slot was all about Youth Markets and we heard from Solar Learning from Newcastle and all about their monthly market that works with Reviving the Heart of the West End to encourage entrepreneurship and opportunities for all young people.
What an amazing week and such a great start to the LYLM Roadshow season. We have seen over hundred local authorities, tourism providers, traders, social enterprises and charities become enthused about the campaign to celebrate our market culture here in the UK in May and look forward to welcoming many more to markets across the country over the coming month. Todays roadshow in Newcastle ended with a fantastic lunch put on by the market traders in the light and airy event space of The Grainger Market, followed by an enthusiastic and informative tour of the market from one of the City Guides. The Roadshows are free to attend and provide a great to talk to other market mangers and industry specialists….what with that and the free lunch – what have you got to lose?