Grant is a ‘big boost’ to town market plans

Alnwick Markets' Dawn Watts and Mel Corn by the new van.
Alnwick Markets' Dawn Watts and Mel Corn by the new van.

A £16,500 grant has been given to Alnwick Markets to continue the development of its regular and seasonal events and recruit an extra member of staff.

The LEADER Coast and Lowlands investment has been hailed as a big boost by Markets’ chairman Philip Angier and manager Dawn Watts.

Philip said: “This is a big vote of confidence in the town. The grant, which comes in the form of help to buy a van and equipment for the markets, has also allowed us to recruit a part-time staff member to take the lead on marketing and promotions.

“We are already seeing the benefit of her contribution in the footfall numbers at our Christmas market.

“In 2016 we hosted three feature events in the market square – A Taste of the North, the Alnwick Food Festival and the Christmas market – which together attracted more than 50,000 people into the town centre and benefited many of our local community organisations and charities.

“We plan to build upon these feature events in 2017, to use them as a draw to bring more day visitors to the town and to remind residents that shopping at your local street market can be fun.”

Alnwick Markets’ plans for animating the Market Place and increasing footfall have received support from other quarters. Alnwick Town Council has donated £1,000, while Northumberland Estates has waived its normal licence fee.

Dawn said: “We have some great local food and craft producers who are keen to trade with us in Alnwick when we can attract the right footfall.

“We know that many local people enjoy our free weekend events like the food festival. We need local residents to get behind the markets and commit to shopping there regularly – that’s the best way of ensuring a thriving town centre with plenty of variety.

“The grant is a boost to our efforts in 2017. The van which we have bought with our grant, the other equipment and signs which we will be investing in in 2017 and the appointment of a marketing and promotions officer will help us to gear up to meet the challenge.”

Events, products and producers will be promoted on Alnwick Markets’ Facebook and Twitter pages.