Love your local market

Local market
Skipton market. Credit: Alex Cowland

Markets have a long-standing place in the towns, cities and villages of Britain

What would our northern towns be without their local markets? A whole lot less enjoyable, that’s what.

The huge variety of good fresh food, clothing, hardware, homeware and the umpteen other types of stall – along with the friendly service and cheerful banter – make shopping a pleasurable experience rather than a chore to be endured.

Yes, we love our markets, and in May we’ll be encouraged to support them even more in the Love Your Local Market campaign, an annual event which began in 2012 following an extensive report by ‘Queen of Shops’ Mary Portas.

The campaign is led by The National Association of British Market Authorities (NABMA), bringing nearly 100 years’ experience to the campaign.

This year’s Love Your Local Market fortnight will take place from May 17th to 31st, and there will be special events all over the country to celebrate the uniqueness of markets, not just in May but all year round.

The organisation runs ‘Regional Meet Ups’ across the country in the lead in to the campaign each year, to give market organisers ideas towards their events, and to arm them with social media advice so they can reach a new generation of shoppers via Facebook and Twitter.

Markets have a long-standing place in the towns, cities and villages of Britain. They were the cornerstones of every major settlement throughout our history, with people bringing in goods to trade from surrounding settlements in order to feed themselves, but also the citizens of the conurbations they visited.

Market day still holds a special place in the hearts of people from all walks of life, as a place to shop but also to socialise, meet up with acquaintances and catch up on some gossip.

Today’s markets are seeing something of a revival in fortunes. With shoppers wary of long supply chains – emphasised in the 2013 horse meat scandal – we are turning once more to our local butchers, bakers and other more traditional outlets, tempted by the assurance of provenance in the goods we are buying, but also to see a friendly face and to support our local businesses.

Markets have also learned that there’s more to success than just selling quality products at good prices. Many of them put on special events and extra attractions, and you’re often likely to come across street entertainers and musicians, face-painting for the kids, bouncy castles and roundabouts.

Love Your Local Market was devised to herald the changes and to make shoppers aware of what is on offer on their doorstep.

From an initial take up of 400 markets in 2012, successive campaigns have developed into an international movement spanning 16 countries, with over 1,100 markets participating in the UK alone in 2016.

Since 2012 over 10,000 people have tried their hand at market trading and around 1,500 new businesses have been created as a result.

A major part of Love Your Local Market’s mission is to encourage startup businesses and increase young people’s involvement in markets. Surveys show that the average age of the market shoppers and traders in the UK and indeed, across Europe is 65. In order to be relevant for the next generation, market operators need to embrace young people and provide a space where they feel welcome and can express themselves.

Organisers engage with colleges and universities, offer business advice to young traders, give them a cheap stall or a pitch during LYLM and shout about their achievements on social media.

Hosting a market specifically for young people provides an opportunity for young entrepreneurs to trade in the heart of their community, often free of charge. The added inclusion of young performers to these events provides an influx of energy, creativity and
diversity, helping to breathe new life into towns and city centres.

Gala Tent are the main sponsors of Love Your Local Market in 2017 #LYLM2017 and are the official supplier of LYLM merchandise.

To find out more about Love Your Local Market 2017, check out www.loveyourlocalmarket.co

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