The covid-19 pandemic has resulted in the closure of all our local community markets with the subsequent loss of trade for dozens of tiny businesses and a place to shop for our rural communities. We are asking for your support to fund the set up of our new, not for profit, eco friendly community mobile market. We are now fundraising as a matter of some urgency in order to purchase a suitable van, adapt it to our needs and pay for at least the first years insurance and running costs. It will operate as a mobile market visiting at least 6 local villages supporting both traders and customers alike for whom the markets are an important lifeline. Some of these markets have been operating for over 30 years! Sadly, new rulings mean that they cannot re-open successfully either now, or potentially in the future.
Newent is a very small town in the Forest of Dean area. It is surrounded by tiny rural communities without shops or access to public transport. There is a high percentage of elderly / older people both in the town and surrounding area.
The covid 19 pandemic and the growing environmental crisis has led to the belief that 'local is best'. The community markets are vital, not only for our many wonderful customers, but also for the local, very small businesses & producers who have currently lost their place of trade. Whilst a small group of us have worked hard to provide a free contactless food delivery service to our community during lockdown, sadly, we were unable to include all of our wonderful traders. We are keen to enable them to come back on board but in a new, safe and innovative way!
Prior to lockdown, we ran a thriving and growing weekly market in Newent and another 4 markets were held in the immediate local area. Newent market alone supported nearly 60 very small businesses & producers with at least 20 attending each market and other local markets. Every market operated with the help of many volunteers, all previously producers themselves and many in their 80's and 90's, all who have lost this very important part of their life. For our customers, these markets were important for providing not only a 'shop' in the village but also a meeting place to catch up with friends. Whilst our customers have loved and been very grateful for having deliveries, they have greatly missed the markets and the rich array of local goods usually on offer. They would now like to see a safe return of this fantastic variety.
With mental health being an important concern, especially at the moment, the loss of these community meeting places has been a sad loss for our many elderly customers and volunteers in particular, many who live alone and are vulnerable to increased isolation. Bringing a market to 'their door' combined with a delivery service is essential and important.
We have strong, environmentally friendly ethics with everything sold within these markets being produced locally. We are wishing to take this much further with new initiatives and a plastic free future. Many of our customers are elderly and already shop locally and with a careful approach with regard to the environment, but we also have a growing number of younger customers with an eco conscious approach to shopping and a 'local is best' attitude. Our markets sell a wonderful variety of products with all sorts of fresh food, plants, flowers, arts and crafts and more, all which are produced in our small area.
Our 'Market to your door' will visit approximately 6 of our rural villages and will run alongside an online shop enabling customers to pre-order from any of our traders. We will also continue to offer deliveries to those who can't get to us or who can't carry all of their purchases home!
All funds raised will go directly to the purchase of a vehicle, it's adaptaion and running costs. Any additional funds raised will go directly to further this project with the possibility of buying a generator to enable the powering of lighting, fridges etc while stationary. Additional funds will also help with future running costs and improvement of our online shop and go towards paying for the fuel costs of deliveries for the very selfless people who have been funding delivery fuel costs themselves during the pandemic. Traders will be able to sell their products for profit, but crucially, the market itself will be 'not for profit'. Instead of the usual table fees for traders, a small fee would be taken and these monies used soley for the running costs of the market ie. the vehicle. Any surplus at the end of each year will go back to our traders and / or to local charities.
This new approach, female led initiative, (but welcoming of men and women in equal measure!) will be run by a very passionate and committed team who have a real desire to make this work for the benefit of the local community.