Levenshulme Market is planning to be back on Saturday 6th March.
As with the majority of our 2020 markets, our March and April markets will see us operating as Levenshulme Market Shop and Go each Saturday. You can see our projected trading dates for these markets here.
‘Shop & Go’ is our model of markets that incorporate social distancing and hygiene measures as well as a reduced number of stalls. These markets will only be able to take place if there is a change in the current national restrictions. At the moment we’re not sure how likely this is. But we’re working on the basis that things will be, if not back to normal by March, then at least heading in that direction.
We’re planning to open bookings for these markets from next week – if you’re interested in trading with us check out the trader information page where you can sign up for our trader newsletter, letting you know of trading opportunities as well as plenty of other handy info for small independent businesses in the area.
2020 was a difficult year for us. Following our usual usual winter close-down in January and February we only managed two of our standard markets before the first national lockdown occurred and we were closed. We reopened in the final week of June with our Shop & Go model, which was a relief, but we found many of our traders were struggling and some had gone, simply unable to survive having discovered they were ineligible for any of the financial support on offer.
So, as the year went on, we made plans to cancel our winter close-down, deciding instead to remain open each Saturday throughout January and February.
We also thought keeping the market open for two Sundays in December would be a good idea, giving more of our traders the opportunity to earn an income.
We were required to close the market again throughout November when the second national lockdown hit us. During this period, outdoor markets could remain open but only if all the stalls were selling ‘essentials’. We explored the feasibility of this, and even secured a brand new fruit and veg trader and bakery stall, but ultimately decided that the safest thing for the community would probably be to close down the market completely as set out in law.
We were able to re-open for three markets in December, throwing a lifeline to a number of traders while giving our customers the opportunity to get their Christmas shopping done outdoors.
By this point we had learned that we wouldn’t be permitted by the council to run a market on any additional Sundays in December. Our request to keep the market open in January or February had also been turned down. We have submitted a renewed latest planning permission which includes an option to remain open each Saturday in January and February next year as well as a number of Sunday trading dates. We don’t currently have any plans to operate on any of these dates – our plan is to run Levy Market as normal – but have included these periods in order to ensure the market, its traders and its customers have more flexibility in the event of any future lockdown restrictions that come into place.
We were also told that the market wouldn’t receive any of the financial support being offered to businesses who had to close due to November’s national lockdown. We had been required by law to close down yet, like so many of our traders, we found we were excluded from the grants bigger businesses are entitled to.
Nonetheless, despite the challenges, there are some positives from 2020. It was a year that saw us support:
- 172 small independent businesses by giving them a trading space at one or more of our markets.
- Of these 62% were businesses run by women.
- 13% were businesses based in Levenshulme.
Despite sadly losing a number of traders due to the economic chaos brought about by Covid-19, we also welcomed some brand new businesses set up during lockdown.
Although we begin 2021 with yet further uncertainty, we remain optimistic for the year ahead. The past year has demonstrated that the trader we work with are doggedly resilient and resourceful and our customers endlessly supportive. We also saw how important the market is for Levenshulme and its residents, providing as it does a rare opportunity for locals to come together and share a social space, even while socially distancing. Once it’s safe to do so, we simply cannot wait to once again enjoy that Saturday Levy Market bustle we love and miss, made all the richer for its lengthy absence: the chatting, the laughter, the kids running around, everyone enjoying one another’s company, and all of us sharing in a sense of what it means to be a community.
Until then, please check our our social media to see how you can continue purchasing killer food, drink, artwork and other products from our traders until we’re able to welcome them back in March.