Levenshulme Market is one of only three finalists in the prestigious BBC Food and Farming Awards 2015 market category.
The weekly market has been recognised for its pioneering work as a social enterprise which helps to empower its community to take ownership of the high street in Levenshulme through its Market Fund, launched this year, as well as providing a “diverse range of high quality traders, with a changing roster of 50 artisan traders, [including] a variety of fresh produce and street food” and developing the market into a quality destination for food and drink retailers that has changed the face of markets in Manchester.
The 15th BBC Food and Farming Awards celebrate the best of British food and those companies and individuals who grow, make and supply it. The winners will be announced in a special edition of BBC Radio 4’s Food Programme in May.
The market sits along two other finalists (Crystal Palace Food Market and Doncaster Market) and is the only market in the North West to be recognised for this accolade which saw over 4000 entries and community nominations from across the UK. Cyrus Todiwala, chair of judges for the awards, said: “This year’s finalists are outstanding. The most impressive thing across the board is their motivation and, as judges, we will be spending time trying to understand what drives people to do the things they do.”
Market directors, Neil Buttery, Helen Power and Brenda Smith are residents and traders in Levenshulme and set up the market when Manchester Markets were unable to continue the running of the existing market in 2012. As a social enterprise, the market aims to address the underlying socio-economic issues affecting the local high street (an estimated 25% of shops in Levenshulme are currently unoccupied) by encouraging the community to take ownership of their retail environment, build skills and capacity to create earning potential. This is achieved by providing financial grants for new and existing retailers, using funds generated from the markets’ profits, as well as mentoring and training for residents interested in starting market businesses.
Neil Buttery, one of the founder directors of the market said “this is an astounding accolade and we are delighted to be in the finals alongside such fantastic competition. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the people of Levenshulme who have truly embraced our ideas right from the start – this is a community market in the truest sense and we are so proud to be a part of such a vibrant and supportive community.”
Judges, farmer and market trader Peter Gott and chef Richard Corrigan, will visit the market in Levenshulme on Saturday 21st March 2015, when the market team will be showcasing their food offer, with special free food making workshops as well as a host of fantastic stalls within that week’s “fashion and flea” themed market.