Go Trade partners in England and France encourage residents to back their local markets this Christmas
Market towns involved in a cross-Channel project helping to revitalise historic markets are urging residents to continue to back their local markets this Christmas, with a range of initiatives underway to support a safe local festive shopping experience.
Known as Go Trade, the scheme aims to support the footfall and offer at nine traditional markets in England and France, with 16 project partners working together, along with market traders and other town centre businesses, to develop and implement the activities as part of supporting town centres and visitor economies.
This year has brought extra challenges for markets and town centres. With Christmas lights switch-ons and other festive events cancelled, Go Trade partners are supporting markets, delivering safety measures, publicity campaigns and other activities to give people confidence to shop locally and safely.
Cllr Carl Smith, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: "In Great Yarmouth, we are asking residents to shop locally and safely this Christmas, supported by our covid marshals offering advice and reassurance, free town centre parking at weekends, magical new decorative lighting displays and a fun festive social media campaign.
"We have staged a successful virtual light switch-on, with a social media video showcasing the beautiful new illuminations focussed on the Market Place. People are encouraged to take selfies at a 20-metre-long multi-colour Tunnel of Light in the Market Place, and post pics using #DifferentLightGY
"Floor markings and signage are in place at market stalls to support safe social distancing and queuing. During 2020, the council has continued to progress its exciting investment to redevelop the market facilities as a key part of the wider town centre regeneration ambitions, with phase one of construction getting underway in the New Year."
Gravesend Borough Market has adapted its indoor market offer to a "come-buy-leave" approach, with food being provided on a takeaway basis only. The market has continued to have interest from new traders, both temporary day traders and permanent traders looking to rent out one of the secure units.
Gravesend is determined to provide as close as possible to its normal, enjoyable Christmas markets, while continuing to operate on a reduced market offer adhering to strict social distancing measures.
Castle Point Borough Council is pleased to announce the opening of the new Canvey Market under the Go Trade banner. This reflects a significant milestone for the Go Trade project as it is the first new market to be established within the programme.
During the lockdown period, traders took advantage of the online Go Trade training modules, reopening with new market signage in place and additional sanitisation stations around the market.
Basildon Market is hosting a Christmas event in 2020, with social distancing and the health of traders and customers at the heart. As well as the Christmas lights that stretch from East Walk to St Martin's Square, an impressive Christmas tree is on display in the Market Place and all stalls are brightly decorated, with some traders in festive costumes.
Although there is no grotto this year, Santa and his Elf helper are handing out seasonal treats across Basildon Town Centre every weekend on the run up to the big day itself.
In France, all shops and markets have been able to reopen their doors since November 28, after being closed for a month. Traders rigorously apply sanitary measures to support everyone's safety, with local authorities supporting them with communications campaigns encouraging residents to shop and buy local.
While health measures do not recommend both indoor and outdoor gatherings, the Christmas spirit does not weaken and traders and market operators are adapting to meet guidelines. Events are spread out in towns and virtual Christmas markets are organised.
Towns and markets are still shinning with their Christmas lights. In Louvigné du Désert, the Christmas market has been cancelled but lights are on one week earlier than previous years. A publicity campaign named "Let's Celebrate Locally" has been launched to encourage residents to prepare their Christmas celebrations with help from market traders.
Go Trade is funded with €3.8 million from the EU-funded Interreg France (Channel) England Programme, with additional support coming from local partners. Go Trade stands for Growth of the Visitor Economy through Traditional Markets, Employment and Skills. The scheme started in late 2017 and will conclude in 2022. Twitter: @GoTrade_Markets #GoTrade