Love your local market - urges new roadshow

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Shoppers are being urged to ‘love your local market’ as a roadshow to promote market traders nationwide visited Horsham last week

Horsham Markets, run by PJ Aldred and Marion Carter in the town centre on Thursdays and Saturdays, invited ‘Love your Local Markets’ (LYLM), a nationwide scheme to celebrate and draw attention to the best independent traders, to hold a roadshow at the Anchor Pub in Market Square, Horsham on Thursday April 4.

A couple of councillors, as well as Horsham District Council officers and staff from other council authorities listened to Ellie Gill, campaign manager for LYLM, talk about how to create a buzz around the UK market scene, as well as re-evaluating what a market does for the town centre.

She said: “It’s something that will raise the profile of makets across the country so it’s really exciting that I’m here.”

“What we want is for this to be about the affection for markets being raised across the country, for people to get it into their heads if you go down to your market you know where your food is coming from, and you can get tips on how to cook it,” she added.

“It’s less about a singular event, it’s about a movement.”

Despite a challenging economic outlook 70 per cent of markets held their own or were doing better in 2012 according to their retail survey figures.

Asked what ‘Love your Local Market’ would mean for Horsham, PJ explained: “From a customer’s point of view its another way of promoting what’s on their doorstep and what fantastic produce and arts and crafts are on offer in Horsham.”

The Love Your Local Market fortnight will be held from May 15-29, with an opportunity for people to enter market trading through the first pitch scheme run by the National Market Traders Federation.

In addition Horsham Markets will hold a workshop for potential traders, where visitors can quiz those running the market and be led through the practical implications of setting up a stall.

She added: “ We could not do what we do without the support of Horsham District Council. It’s been phenomenal.”

Gill Buchanan, chair of Horsham Unlimited, the town centre partnership, and manager of Swan Walk Shopping Centre, pointed out that town centres needed markets, and customers liked different points of interest.

She said: “The success is totally down to PJ and Marion. In the last two years Horsham has really become a market town with a market.”

Since the introduction of market trading in the Carfax on a Thursday as well as a Saturday she said some retailers in Swan Walk had told her anecdotally that they felt that Horsham felt more vibrant and busier.

A week after another successful Piazza Italia Garry Mortimer-Cook, town centres manager for Horsham District Council, said that town centres could not afford to stand still as the world of shopping continued to change.

He added: “Markets are central to what we do in the town centre and underpin everything that is presented on behalf of our town.”

Horsham district councillor Jim Rae (Con, Holbrook East) said that the personal experience of growing up around Lewisham Market in the 1950s and 1960s had instilled a passion about local markets, and he was a regular user of the Saturday market in the Carfax.

Helena Croft (Con, Roffey North), HDC cabinet member for communication, Horsham town and special projects was also in attendance.

Lunch was provided for delegates by The Hungry Guest market stall, and refreshments by Horsham Coffee Roaster and Wimblehurst Chocolates.

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PJ added: “Markets have changed, they have to change and they are continually changing.”