Markets at the forefront of shopping revival after lockdown

The Shropshire head of the national markets body says that three national lockdowns demonstrated the resilience and passion of everyone to keep markets open and provide the essential food and supplies for local communities.

Oswestry's indoor market. 
Oswestry's indoor market. FEATURE PIC FOR TRACEY..

And, while in the darkest days of the pandemic research by the National Association of British Market Authorities research suggested that 85 per cent of operators had concerns over the future of the industry there had been renewed local interest, support and trust in markets.

Chief executive of NAMBA, David Preston from Oswestry, led the national conference of the association in Statford-upon-Avon this week.

The former clerk to Oswestry Town Council he has been at the helm of the body helping markets big and small across the UK through the crisis.

The association;s annual report, revealed yesterday, criticised the government for failing to offer essential financial support to operators. Despite this, the report said, there was now a more positive and optimistic viewpoint on what the future may be, and the role that markets can play in firstly the survival of the high street, and then its renaissance.

"The last 12 months will go into history for many of the wrong reasons. In terms of markets then, maybe, there are some positives," it says.

" Many have regarded it as our moment in the sunshine as markets have generally seen a renewed local interest, support and trust. They are widely acknowledged as the entry level for new business that will assist both the survival and revival of the high street. As always, they have been both inclusive and accessible and continued to generate significant local economic and community value."

"Markets, market traders and market teams can be proud of the role they have played in supporting local communities and the food chain during the last 12 months. They have truly been at the heart of local communities, and NABMA as the voice of local markets has been a constant in its support and lobbying on their behalf.

"Our Market Hero Awards highlighted some wonderful and emotional stories of markets and market people supporting their communities, and in particular the elderly and vulnerable."

The annual conference heard that market trading was fast changing with cashless payments, click and collect, deliveries and an online presence.

"On the national platform NABMA has maintained a good, but often frustrating, relationship with government officials and has been involved in various meetings, with government departments.

"Our representations have also produced some positive outcomes with markets being chosen to lead retail out of the first lockdown; indoor markets then being permitted to open earlier than originally proposed and, importantly, we persuaded government to allow certain services, like mobile phone repairers, to open earlier than government originally timetabled.

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