Posted: 08.06.21 at 08:30 by The Editor
Everyone is finding it tough at the moment and wants life to get back to normal.
We will be profiling local independent businesses regularly over the coming weeks in a feature called UP CLOSE IN MALDON DISTRICT to help showcase our town centre and village traders. By spending locally, you help support local jobs - and so build our communities back stronger.
This week we talk to the woman behind Burnham-on-Crouch Farmers' Market, Faye Hawkins, about what the market's all about and how she hopes it will be able to support even more local businesses going forward.
Burnham-on-Crouch Farmers’ Market is looking for local businesses to support as it embraces a new normal following the pandemic - and continues to provide a great place for people to shop for local produce and enjoy some time out.
The market returned to the Village Hall (Carnival Hall in Devonshire Road) in April, after the third national lockdown forced it to close at the beginning of the year.
It sells a range of homegrown and homemade goods on the third Sunday of every month and will next be back at the Village Hall on 20 June, between 9am and 12.30pm.
Faye Hawkins, 32, has run the market since 2015 and is looking for more stalls to fill its remaining capacity to keep residents shopping local.
“We’re about two thirds of the way there,” Faye says, “The market has taken a hit from being closed, so hopefully we can get stallholders to feel confident enough to come back. Whilst we grow that, the local community will hopefully come back out to see us.”
She adds: “We had some great people join us last year on a temporary basis, but we are now looking to find replacements going forward.”
Faye wants the market to help people turn their lockdown projects into businesses.
“We’re there to support people who have been practising making doughnuts or have been trying to make new foods that they want to share. We’re there to support those local businesses that don’t really know where to start.”
The market thrives on Burnham-on-Crouch’s community spirit. It has been running successfully for more than 20 years, with most of its stallholders living within the Dengie.
Its mission is to get people shopping local and investing in their community.
Stalls include fresh meat, fish, home-made pies, baked treats, fruit and vegetables, bread and homeware.
Customers can buy fish straight from the River Blackwater or the Crouch from Gary – a loyal member of the market for many years. Totham Bangers is on hand to get locals ready for BBQ season, with a range of locally-made sausages.
Among the market’s new members is Kristie’s Candle Co., which joined last month and sells vegan and cruelty-free scented candles. [email protected] provides beautiful homeware, from homemade cushions to footstalls.
“What customers are buying is good quality, whether that’s food or crafts, and it’s nice to be able to support people that are making it locally,” Faye says. “You can’t get much closer to that than some of the stallholders who attend.”
The market is also keen to provide a vital community space that has been deeply missed over the pandemic. While browsing a range of local goods, customers can relax with a cup of coffee and catch up with friends and look at the local shops, too.
Faye says: “That’s what has been really difficult in what we’ve not been able to do – having that social interaction which is normally what the market is about. You bump into the same people, you bump into friends you haven’t seen, and it’s a nice environment to be in.”
She hopes this will help to rebuild the market and residents’ spirits after a difficult year. “If everyone gets behind us, then the market is going to thrive. That’s the support that’s needed from the local community to keep the market going.”
To secure the safety of customers, there will be sanitisers at the door of the hall and customers will shop clockwise. Each table will be limited to one household at a time.
Faye says: “We have plenty of space for stallholders and customers to feel comfortable and hope that each month restrictions will get eased.”
You can find the Facebook page HERE.
The Keep it Local campaign is being launched through Maldon District Council’s Sense of Place initiative, with funding from the Magnox Decommissioning Fund.