End of January Update

Well, that was Janu­ary — and it’s been an intense few weeks, as the West Nor­wood Feast starts to gath­er momentum. What has driv­en that momentum, above all, is the energy of those of you who have been com­ing to our Tues­day night open meet­ings.

Please note: this week’s meet­ing (Feb 1st) has moved to The Railway pub by Tulse Hill sta­tion — apo­lo­gies for the very short notice, this was due to the unex­pec­ted clos­ure of The Corner.

We’ve also heard from a lot of people who are keen to get involved, but can’t make it along on Tues­days — so this post is by way of an update on what’s happened so far, and how you’ll be able to get involved as things devel­op.

The mar­ket­place hubs

We star­ted this pro­ject with the idea of four mar­ket­place hubs with­in a short walk­ing dis­tance of each other along Nor­wood Road and Knights Hill. People have respon­ded really enthu­si­ast­ic­ally to this idea — as well as mak­ing some modi­fic­a­tions to our ori­gin­al idea of what the four hubs should be.

There are now work­ing groups led by local people focus­ing on each of these — and we’ll soon be adding the descrip­tions they have come up with for their hubs to the site, along with con­tact details for the group. For now, here’s an out­line:

  • A food mar­ket — selling loc­ally-sourced ingredi­ents, fruit and veg, bread, fish, hot and cold food
  • A retro mar­ket — selling vin­tage clothes and fur­niture
  • An artis­ans’ mar­ket — for local artists and makers who want to sell their work and share their skills
  • A garden­ing hub — selling flowers, seeds, tools and everything you need for green­fingered activ­it­ies

This was a slight shift from the ori­gin­al plans, as people felt that the Food Fair and Farmer’s Corner hubs could be com­bined into a single food site, with the addi­tion of the flowers and garden­ing hub as some­thing that there was demand for loc­ally.

Other parts of the pro­ject

In addi­tion to the four hubs, there has been a lot of interest in organ­ising pop-up activ­it­ies in other spaces and ven­ues around West Nor­wood on mar­ket days. Sev­er­al people have come for­ward who are inter­ested in tak­ing a lead on bring­ing out the amount of music­al and the­at­ric­al tal­ent and exper­i­ence that’s rep­res­en­ted with­in the area — and there will be a Per­form­ance work­ing group start­ing up in the next few weeks. We think this is a really vital part of the pro­ject. If it works, it should feel like this isn’t just a new street mar­ket, but a kind of fest­iv­al that joins togeth­er the whole of the town centre once a month.

The other work­ing group that’s well under way is the Engage­ment group — who are look­ing at ways of spread­ing the word, talk­ing to people and get­ting them involved with the West Nor­wood Feast. Char­lotte, Kirsty and Lucy have all been out talk­ing to local shops and busi­nesses, answer­ing people’s ques­tions and adding list­ings for them to our map of what’s going on in West Nor­wood — check out their blog post.

Timeline

There was a lot of dis­cus­sion in the first couple of weeks about wheth­er the mar­ket should be on a Sat­urday or a Sunday. There were argu­ments on both sides — but the group felt that the advant­ages of Sunday were stronger — par­tic­u­larly in terms of park­ing, but also less com­pet­i­tion with exist­ing mar­kets, with more like­li­hood of local people stay­ing in West Nor­wood and com­ing to some­thing on their door­step.

So we’re now aim­ing for the first mar­ket day to hap­pen on Sunday 3rd April!

We’ll also organ­ise a launch event a few weeks before that — to tell as many local people as pos­sible about what’s going to be hap­pen­ing.

What hap­pens next

We’ll be con­tinu­ing to host Tues­day night meet­ings over the weeks ahead. Unfor­tu­nately, our meet­ing venue at The Corner is no longer avail­able, so the meet­ings are feel­ing a bit more nomad­ic than we would have hoped! We’re very grate­ful to The Rail­way for step­ping in at short notice this week — and we’ll con­firm very soon where we’ll be meet­ing from the 8th Feb onwards.

Tre­vor Vir­tue from the council’s mar­kets team came down to last week’s meet­ing and was very pos­it­ive about the plans so far. We’re work­ing with him and his col­leagues to arrange the licens­ing for mar­ket days and to explore the best option for hir­ing stalls. We’re also look­ing into options for set­ting up a com­munity com­pany to run the mar­ket in the long-term — if this is some­thing you’d be inter­ested in being involved with, please con­tact Mitchell at westnorwood@spacemakers.org.uk.

The work­ing groups will soon be mov­ing into recruit­ing poten­tial traders for each of the mar­ket­place hubs — and we’ll set up ded­ic­ated email address for each hub, so that people inter­ested in hav­ing a stall can con­tact them dir­ectly.

There are plenty of other things to do — and there’s plenty of room for more ideas — so please come and join us one Tues­day. Or, if you can’t do that, sign up to the mailing list and we’ll let you know more very soon about other ways of get­ting involved.

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