MR BIG and NBV bring you the BIG Entrepreneurs Market

Market Rasen Business Improvement Group, AKA MR BIG and NBV Enterprise Solutions Ltd (NBV), will bring you The BIG Entrepreneurs Market on Saturday 1st November, at Lincolnshire’s biggest and best local market!

This BIG Entrepreneurs Market will give new traders a unique opportunity to showcase and sell their wares in the beautiful Georgian market place of Market Rasen. Designed to support entrepreneurs, the aim of this unique BIG market is to fill the market place with NEW stalls showcasing NEW traders and their NEW products.

NBV will also be showcasing its business start-up support services at the BIG Entrepreneurs Market: Business Start-Up Seminars and Business Master Classes.

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NBV Operations Director Roger Trueman comments: “We’re always looking for new and relevant ways to reach out to individuals who might be looking to start their own business, or who are in the very early stages of start-up.

The BIG Entrepreneurs Market, our joint venture with MR BIG in Market Rasen, is the perfect venue! Pitches are cost effective, and aimed specifically at new and upcoming traders. We can’t wait to see what these new businesses have to offer.”

NBV deliver FREE start-up seminars across the East Midlands, designed to help potential business owners understand the different areas they will need to consider when starting out in business. The seminars provide a great opportunity for the would-be-business-owner to ask lots of questions, before they jump in to business start-up.

If you would like more information about the BIG Entrepreneurs Market, email or call 07780118875. For information about NBV’s business start-up programmes, call 0844 887 2568.


Market Rasen’s BIG double award winning market hosts its annual BIG FOOD MARKET on           Saturday 4th October when the county’s finest foodies come to town to sell or sample all that’s fresh, local and delicious about Lincolnshire’s artisan produce.

“October’s food market has become one of the highlights of the BIG Market calendar” said Markets Director Jackie Smith who is helping to plan the pitches.
10509576_882982608383543_8142528793106883185_n“This year is no exception, we’ve booked radio advertising, press ads, social media and PR to deliver the visitors for our loyal traders and we’re cooking up some truly delicious tasting opportunities under the auction shed so visitors can try before they buy” added Sara Scott, Mr Big Chair.
It has all the ingredients for success so MR BIG and Market Rasen Town Council are putting the call out to traders to book early to be sure of a pitch and FREE promotion as part of the build up. To book please email: For all other enquiries please contact Sadie Richardson:


Market Rasen Heritage Tour wins Lincolnshire Heritage Award

Our Market Rasen Heritage Tour website has just won the Lincolnshire Heritage Award (from the Lincolnshire Heritage Forum).

Left to Right: Hazel Barnard (Rase Heritage Society), judge David Sleight (Dean of the Faculty of Media, Humanities & Technology, University of Lincoln), Sara Scott (MR BIG) Angela Montague (Push Creativity). Photo: Lincolnshire Heritage Forum

Left to Right: Hazel Barnard (Rase Heritage Society), judge David Sleight (Dean of the Faculty of Media, Humanities & Technology, University of Lincoln), Sara Scott (MR BIG) Angela Montague (Push Creativity). Photo: Lincolnshire Heritage Forum

85 guests attended the bi-annual Lincolnshire Heritage Awards on July 10th at a ceremony in the magnificent setting of Gainsborough Old Hall. This included MR BIG Chair, Sara Scott, Push Creativity’s Angela Montague and Hazel Barnard from Rase Heritage Society.

The awards, which have been completely redesigned for 2014, were judged David Sleight (Dean of the Faculty of Media, Humanities and Technology, University of Lincoln), Emma Tatlow (Visit Lincoln Partnership Manager) and Steve LeMottee (Executive Director at East Midlands Museums Service) during a two day tour of Lincolnshire in May.

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Here’s what David Sleight said about the judging panel’s views on the category and the website.

“Digital is an overused word these days, given that virtually everything we use (in terms of technology) relies on digital. It has been fascinating to see, and fascinating to watch, over the past few years, how museums and heritage centres have been embracing the potential that digital and ‘media enrichment’ (if we can call it that) is offering. And given that a recent government report in January this year showed that the media and creative industries in the UK are worth £71.4 billion a year in terms of turnover, providing employment for 1.68 million people, we feel very confident that this will continue to be an aspect of heritage development over many years to come.

“The Market Rasen Virtual Heritage Tour… funding for this came from The Heritage Lottery fund under the All Our Stories grant, with additional funding from Market Rasen Business Improvement Group.

“What we really like here was there was a profound sense of public engagement, engaging with the community – not just in the sense that the organisers through this would be something good that Market Rasen ought to have, but actually involving people in the very selection itself of the sites that should be captured on film and then digitised from records, postcards, and documents.

“So what was then built on the website was this really rich sense of community engagement, where there were multiple voices telling stories about Market Rasen. The quality of the material was also very high, and I particularly remember one of the films which was about the police station and the cells and giving a sense – for those who would never have chance to visit a police station themselves – what it might have been like, back in the day, to have been incarcerated within them. And of course the importance of making these things accessible digitally, and therefore through the internet, means the reach of this potentially goes out globally, so a really profound piece of work there.”

Click here to read the story on the Lincolnshire Heritage Forum website.

The Market Rasen Heritage Tour website has clocked-up 6700 views in its first year.

Sara Scott, MR BIG Chair said “Hazel’s (Rase Heritage Society) idea of one organisation focused on the past and another focused on the future, coming together to create a consumer focused product that delivers the best of both worlds in an interesting and engaging fashion was excellent and has lead to the successful completion of the project.

“We couldn’t have done it without help from Push Creativity.  We outsourced the creative delivery of the project and the value they added in bringing the audio and video elements of the tour to life are what really makes the tour stand out from similar on-line projects.”

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Award’s ceremony at Gainsborough Old Hall

To visit Market Rase’s award wining Heritage Tour website, click here: Market Rasen Heritage Tour


MR BIG outlines Market Rasen’s Portas Pilot journey

Hot on the heels of a visit from Government colleagues last week, the board are happy to publish the MR BIG annual report, outlining year two of our Portas journey.

MR BIG Year 2 Report

It’s been a challenging and rewarding year and the team have given serious consideration to sustainability and key priorities for the year ahead. The plan outlines the specific initiatives that will be driven forward over the year ahead.

With a clear plan and focus outlined, the BIG team are now actively looking for business people who live or work in LN8 to join the board and drive projects forward.


We will shortly be calling our AGM and look forward to discussing the contents of our plan with members.

In the meantime, please email Sadie ( if you have any questions, or would like to know more about joining the board.

Markets achievements marked with Extraordinary Pop Up Market on Tuesday 20th May

2 years ago this May, Market Rasen launched its journey to become a Portas Pilot with an        Extraordinary Portas Pop Up market.

Tuesday 20th May sees an extra BIG weekday Market in Market Rasen to celebrate the 2014 Love Your Local Market campaign. Representatives from Government and Boots will visit the town to learn from Market Rasen’s achievements as one of the first 12 Portal Towns.

Favourite Jenny Smith will be attending the BIG Market on the 20th May.

Favourite Jenny Smith will be attending the BIG Market on Tuesday

The town’s extra Market is a collaboration between Market Rasen Business Improvement Group (MR BIG) and Market Rasen Town Council, which also falls in Love Your Local Market (LYLM) fortnight.

“The High Street and the Market rely on local people showing their support at these key events. Please take the time to come down and join the fun from 9am” said Jackie Smith, MR BIG Markets Director.

Maria from Greens of Lincolnshire will be doing cooking demonstrations with the very best local ingredients. Sarah from Bricktree Gallery at Jim’s Yard will be demonstrating how to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and Middle Rasen Primary School choir will be entertaining shoppers from just after 11am.

View from St Thomas' Church

View from St Thomas’ Church

Market day visitors can find free parking everywhere. The Advocate Arms is offering shoppers a free Scone with every tea/ coffee bought on the 20th May, plus special offers and deals along the High Street wherever you see the MY MARKET RASEN sticker.


May kicks off Love Your Local Market early!

2 years ago this May, Market Rasen launched its journey to become a Portas Pilot with an Extraordinary Portas Pop Up market.

This Saturday 3rd May sees the first of 2 BIG Markets kicking off this month’s Love Your Local Market celebrations with almost 40 stall holders in the historic Georgian Market place from 9am.

Visitors to Market Rasen can look forward to artisan food, cakes, cheeses, locally grown cut flowers and plants, plus an array of unusual and distinctive gifts from the very best local market traders, including stalwarts like Jill Brown from English Rose who has attended every BIG market and has new fabrics and rhubarb and custard cake and amongst her wares this Saturday.


Are you coming to the BIG May Market this Saturday?

Market Day visitors can find free parking everywhere, plus special offers and deals along the High St wherever they see the MY MARKEN RASEN sticker. And for those having a spin down the A46 from Grimsby en route to market Mill Farm Nursery on Gallamore Lane, for a wide range of British grown plant, has just opened for its 3rd season offering an exclusive BIG Market day special of 10% over £10 for anyone who quotes MY MARKET RASEN.

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Look out for this window sticker for special offers!

“With 2 national Markets awards under their belt, and summer visitors on their way, the Mr Big team have really put the Market back into Market Rasen” said Rob Parry, owner of Mill Farm Nursery, long standing stall holder and member of Mr Big. “It’s great that we are all working together to provide a warm welcome and great service to visitors.”
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There will be also be a BIG market in Market Rasen on 20th May from 9am to celebrate Love Your Local Market fortnight with special guests in attendance.

MR BIG meets Minister and Mary in Rotherham.

Representatives from MR BIG were recently invited to attend a meeting with Mary Portas and Minister, Brandon Lewis, in Rotherham.

The event was to celebrate the regeneration of Rotherham’s High Street Area and the opening of their community shop.

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Market Rasen was one of just four Portas Town Teams, invited to attend.

Sara and Jackie from the MR BIG Board were asked for their views on how the initiative was progressing and for their opinions on the support required from Central Government to continue with town transformation.

Mary Portas offered plenty of praise for the work done by Market Rasen and other Town Teams. She was also keen to emphasise that the national media had unfairly tarnished the work of volunteer teams around the country with their relentless “Portas bashing”. She remembered warmly her visit to our town, the fantastic commitment of our independent retailers to their High Street and singled out Greens Of Lincolnshire for particular praise.

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Representatives from Central Government will be visiting Market Rasen in May to hear first-hand what our Town has achieved. We understand that Market Rasen is celebrated as one of the fastest-acting and most successful of the initial Portas Pilot Towns.

Cold and bright at Market Rasen BIG February Market

Winter set up: as dawn breaks the market is set up on the Market Place

Winter set up: as dawn breaks the market is set up on the Market Place

Having been a blustery wet night overnight, February’s BIG market dawned wet underfoot as the staff from West Lindsey district council set up the stalls on the Market Place in Market Rasen on February 1.  There were old hands like the fruit and vegetable stall “Straight from the Farm” already set up and ready to go when it was still dark overhead.  Jennie North explained that she’d been attending the market since she was a babe in arms, and her father had run the family stall, decades before.

Jennie North and Brian Spittlehough expertly set up their "Straight from the Farm" stall

Jennie North and Brian Spittlehough expertly set up their “Straight from the Farm” stall

“My father and brother ran the stall for forty years before me,” she said.  “We’re here every week, and from March 7 will be here on Fridays as well.  The trade picks up then, when people start to travel to the coast.” She and Brian Spittlehough were expertly setting up the stall and dealing with the first customers as the day was dawning, bright with winter sunshine after all the rain we’ve had.

Other traders were only at their second BIG market.  Mr Bratley was setting up his stall which includes plants and very unusual bird houses and feeders.  He’d started out selling through the Hub in Market Rasen, selling 16 bird houses and feeders a month, and had progressed to a stall.

Mr Bratley sets up his stall at his second BIG market.

Mr Bratley sets up his stall at his second BIG market.

“I have always wanted to do this, but I hadn’t had time until I retired.  This is my second Mr BIG market, and I shall come every time now.  I’m also going to Hemswell market.” he told us.

Parfitt’s Pets was one of the early stalls, with pet products and bird seed – “Keeing the pigeons alive in Market Rasen!” he joked, as he set out the stall.

Parfitt's pets - keeping the pigeons alive....

Parfitt’s pets – keeping the pigeons alive….

Duncan Eaton was setting up his Eaton Hampers stall, at only his second BIG market.  He explained that all the produce in their hampers is sourced from Lincolnshire.  “Of course, we don’t grow tea in Lincolnshire, so I source that from Lincolnshire importers, but everything that can come from Lincolnshire, does come from Lincolnshire.”

Duncan Eaton sets up his stall.  It's quite a family affair, working with his wife, and with his son producing their website.

Duncan Eaton sets up his stall. It’s quite a family affair, working with his wife, and with his son producing their website.

It was a BIG week in all senses, this week, as the BIG Market had won the prize for Best Social Enterprise Market at the National Association of British Market Association’s (NABMA) awards just the previous Thursday.  At the Advocate Arms, the volunteers from Market Rasen Business Improvement Group, and the men from West Lindsey district council, who set up the stalls for the market traders, joined together for a celebration breakfast, before being corralled together for a photograph for the Market Rasen Mail, who covered the story in the paper this week.

A BIG breakfast for the volunteers and staff from WLDC

A BIG breakfast for the volunteers and staff from WLDC

MR Big director Sara Scott gave an impromptu speech and thanked everyone, staff from the WLDC, volunteers, traders, for all their efforts in making the BIG markets a success.  She thanked Jackie Smith and Sadie Richardson, the MR Big apprentice, for picking up the award on behalf of the group, and looked forward to continuing success in the year to come.

Left to right:  Sadie Richardson, Mr Smith, Eamonn Flood, Jackie smith, Sara Scott, Malcolm Wade, Phil Cole, Sarah Lamballe and Pete Bristow smile for the Market Rasen Mail camera.

Left to right: Sadie Richardson, Tony Smith, Eamonn Flood, Jackie Smith, Sara Scott, Malcolm Wade, Phil Cole, Sarah Lamballe and Pete Bristow smile for the Market Rasen Mail camera.

Back out on the market, the stalls were withstanding a bitterly cold wind, but people were upbeat in the glow of the award.  Jenny’s Jams has only missed one BIG market since they started, and tries to source all her ingredients locally. I noticed that her lovely jam is included in Duncan’s hampers.

Jenny's Jams of Lincoln - only one BIG market missed since they started

Jenny’s Jams of Lincoln – only one BIG market missed since they started

Next door, Greenfield Baker’s Sonja Hundal has also only missed a month.  She was selling a wonderful range of artisan bread made with locally sourced organic flour from Maud Foster Windmill, cooked in a French Clay oven.  The date and honey loaf was very good indeed – and very good with some jam from Jenny’s Jams next door.

Sonja sells wonderful bread with locally-sourced flour

Sonja sells wonderful bread with locally-sourced flour

In fact several stalls were selling produce which would go well with Sonja’s bread.  Croft Apiaries was selling local honey and honey products, and Bob explained they come from just outside Market Rasen – you can’t get very much more local.  Croft Apiaries sells honey, honey marmalade, honey granola, creams and balms, all including local honey.

Bob from Croft Apiaries with his honey and honey products

Bob from Croft Apiaries with his honey and honey products

Redhill Farm were selling their amazing pork, which featured recently in an issue of Lincolnshire Life and in James Martin’s Food Map of Britain.  They were doing a brisk trade in Pork and Apple Burgers, a range of their famous sausages and pork products, and the constantly busy queue at their stall spoke for itself.

Redhill Farm pork - as seen on tv!

Redhill Farm pork – as seen on tv!

Hepy’s hog roast provided hot food and refreshments for the hungry market goer, which was certainly welcome when the wind blew bitterly cold.

Albion Artisan foods makes award-winning “Great Taste 2013″ foods, and Uwe was busy selling some of their gorgeous Chicken Liver Pates… which included Chicken Liver Pate with Orange and Cointreau and Chicken Liver Pate with Brandy and Herbs.  They produce artisan bread as a joint venture with another company, and were included in the Great Taste book as a result of winning the Great Taste Award.

Uwe from Albion Artisan Foods and their award-winning produce serves a customer

Uwe from Albion Artisan Foods and their award-winning produce serves a customer

Steve at Lymn Bank Farm was selling fantastic cheeses – we recommend the cheese with cracked black pepper particularly!  There were cakes from the Little Cake company, and Wilcox bakery, pies from Propa Pies, and West Wold Delicatessen had a range of wonderful foods on offer.

Steve sells lovely cheeses from Lymn Bank Farm

Steve sells lovely cheeses from Lymn Bank Farm

There were a number of craft and home decor stalls this month, including a range of home wares from Emma and Deborah at Sister Chic, some gorgeous Thuya Burlwood items from Gareth at Moroccan Handcrafts.  Lesley Porter was selling silver jewellery on her “Designs by Lesley” stall.

Gareth Jepson and Jan Davey at Moroccan Handcrafts colourful stall

Gareth Jepson and Jan Davey at Moroccan Handcrafts colourful stall

At the White Holly stall, Danni extolled the virtues of all natural ingredients, with no parabens or petroleum products in their wares.

White Holly - all natural products for people who like to know what's in their cosmetics

White Holly – all natural products for people who like to know what’s in their cosmetics

There were stalls from the Swimming Pool fundraiser, Market Rasen Primary school and the usual consultation table from the Town Council from 10 to 12 pm, and on the edge of the Market Place, plants from the Plant Nursery brought the promise of spring along with the sunshine.

The Plant Nursery bringing spring to the market

The Plant Nursery bringing spring to the market

Market Rasen’s award winning BIG market – 1st February

The BIG market for February is on Saturday February 1, 2014 from 9am to 2pm in the historic Georgian Market Place, Market Rasen with more to celebrate than usual, having just picked up its 2nd national market award from NABMA as Britain’s Best Social Enterprise Market 2014!

As usual, the BIG market, held on the first Saturday of the month, will be packed with local food producers.  Mr Plewes from Beasthorpe Farm will be there with his delicious double yolker eggs!

Mr Plewes

Mr Plewes from Beasthorpe Farm and his delicious eggs at January’s BIG market

Market Rasen will also be hosting regular farmer’s market favourites Jenny’s Jams; cakes from the Little Cake Company; artisan foods from Albion, Taste of Sardinia, and The West Wold Delicatessen, the own brand range of Greens of Lincolnshire which this week has been chosen as a finalist in the annual Love Food Select Lincolnshire awards in the category of best food retailer/ wholesaler.  Smoked and flavoured cheeses will be available to try before you buy from Lynne Bank Farm Cheese, with artisan bread from Greenfield Bakers.  Visitors and Market Rasen residents can also look forward to honey products from Croft Selections, sweets from Memorable Treats and and hearty pies perfect to take home as tea time treats in this wintery weather courtesy of Propa Pies.

There is such a wide variety of stalls, it’s hard to fit them all in:  gifts and food from English Rose, Toys and DVDs from the pool fundraising team, with Scouts offering refreshments and Market Rasen Church of England Primary school offering biscuits and sweets.  Tuck into Hepy’s Hog Roast, award winning meat from Redhill Farm plus fruit pies, cakes and scones from Wilcox Bakery. As always you can pick up your weekly fruit and veg from the Norths, plants from Roger  plus underwear and much more – gifts and garden accessories from Helen of J Waterman Timber Services, and natural skin care and beauty products from White Holly.  Anne Lowish is selling Forever Aloe Vera products, and there are stunning home accessories from Emma and Deborah of Sister Chic.


Bird cages and feeders are being offered by Mr Bratley, Moroccan Handcrafts by Mr Jepson, and Lincolnshire hampers and gifts from Eaton Hampers. Designs by Lesley will be selling jewellery and silver too.

The secret of our success is YOU.  The market and Market Rasen high street needs customers to support it, and the more customers, the easier it is to persuade exciting new sellers to set up a stall and start selling locally, and the more we can support social enterprise.

Speaking of their 2nd national markets award Sara Scott, chair of MR BIG, said: “This makes us particularly proud as it recognises that the market is organised by committed volunteers.

“We’re one of just nine markets winning national awards – so really this confirms our place as an innovator and leader in markets provision.”

Come along and see for yourself every 1st Saturday of the month.

Market Rasen Heritage Tour

Launched at the end of last year, the Market Rasen Virtual Heritage Tour represents a collaboration of many groups and individuals, and it attracted funding from both the National Lottery and the Heritage Lottery fund.  The tour is accessible from your computer at home or from smart phones or tablets while walking around the town.  There are voiceovers and videos from 10 historical and architectural highlights around the town included in the tour.

Checking out the QR code at the Corn Exchange in Market Rasen

Checking out the QR code at the Corn Exchange in Market Rasen

Taking about 30 minutes to complete, it has been publicized in the local press, leaflets and posters around the town, and has awakened an interest in the history of Market Rasen.  Mr BIG did the project management and administration for the project, Rase Heritage society did the research, sourced pictures and gave help in production.  Some of those involved from the Heritage Society were Hazel Barnard, Brenda Overton, Mal Jones, Brian Ward and Caroline Foster.

The Market Rasen mail suppied photographs and newspapers from their collection.  Brandthing, Push Creativity and Root Studio were involved in the creative direction, design, and website development, and students from Lincoln College developed the look and feel of the site and the literature associated with the project.

The final 10 stories were voted for by the people of Market Rasen.  Click this link if reading this on a screen or scan the QR code on the displays with your smart phone.  You can start the tour at any point in the real world or virtually, from the comfort of your chair!

Speaking to the Market Rasen Mail, Hazel Barnard, one of the researchers, said: “This has been a great opportunity for Rase Heritage Society to delve into archives, photographs and family histories to find Market Rasen’s past stories. We hope that visitors and residents alike enjoy their trips into our past.”