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Love Your Local Market Goes European With British Vitality

In May 2013, local markets all around Britain were doing flash mobs, teenager markets, arts competitions and more. Love Your Local Market was part of this very public display of affection for the community, and they are doing it all over again this year in a market near you. Their work provides a canvas for entrepreneurs of every age to test their retail business idea without a ginormous high street rental bill. From 14-28 May 2014, you and I also get the chance to take part in the festivities in farmers markets in Cambridge, Bucks, Portobello Market London; or try the shopping and rollerskating disco in Lewisham.

This blog is from an interview with Eleanor Gill, Campaign Coordinator for NABMA at Love Your Local Market (LYLM).

What’s the big song and dance about?

Love Your Local Market involved 700 markets and enabled around 3000 people to try market trading for the first time. Some markets enjoyed up to 30% increase in footfall on the back of these events, and are ecstatic to report that they have maintained this over the last 12 months. The core idea is that the local artisan market or farmers market is not about upsetting the Tesco apple cart, it’s all about supporting the people and the community, in order to build the local economy. And have some fun doing it.

What started as one of the creative initiatives on the back of The Portas Review; the future of our high streets has become the biggest market event in the UK and has recently caught the attention of the market world on a global scale.  Ellie shares: “Markets were seen as economic drivers in the High Street Review and we created Love Your Local Market for precisely that reason.  The response from the communities however, has been astounding…there was such a breadth of imagination so we had markets (in 2013) doing flash mobs, bands, art competitions…songs and poems were created. We are here to raise the affection for markets within the UK. To see that in a physical form that way was really amazing,” Ellie gushed.

I caught up with her as she was driving to London for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in the House of Commons. You could tell from her voice that formalities aside, she was happy with humbled joy about being part of LYLM from the ground up.

Ellie shares: “…The EU wanted a sort of national movement – a European-wide market day, week or whatever…because we have done it so successfully here, that’s why they are adopting our model.”

LYLM is now a global template for empowering market groups across Europe

Love Your Local Market launched formally in 2012 and after a very successful 2013, they are vital to a recent momentous event: European partners in the Markets industry have signed a Memorandum of Understanding in the House of Commons in London to celebrate the importance of markets to communities, town and cities across Europe and the world. Their Annual Conference in September will be held here this year.

At time of writing this includes Barcelona Market Group, Venice, Holland, and Torino Italy. The list gets longer as weeks progress. Managed by World Union of Worldwide Markets (WUWM) the agreement will adopt all aspects of the UK’s Love Your Local Market campaign, and this British vitality will be celebrated in driving EU efforts to drive urban regeneration, sustainable living and entrepreneurship. “The market world is coming to London in September this year…and Love Your Local Market will feature very prominently in that.”

Celebrating entrepreneurship is certainly near and dear to our hearts in Build British Business. And the admirable efforts behind LYLM is indeed an inspiring event worth sharing to everyone that champions the same cause. Entrepreneurs at heart everywhere will love it.

Last year was a huge community event, a mini-festival it seemed, celebrated over a 2-week period with shows, 6 cupcake stalls (all sold out in the end), and an extra 100 market stalls for their township’s first-time entrepreneurs. It is a story in its own right, and will be published in our next Love Your Local blog this weekend.
Published Tuesday January 28, 2014