Monthly Archives: September 2012

All about our “Food Glorious Food” Gastro Market on Oct 6th

Saturday October 6th with see Lincolnshire’s Portas Pilot town – Market Rasen – celebrating Lincolnshire’s finest food with a gastro market extravaganza entitled “Food Glorious Food”.

Lincolnshire chef Dominic Franks (pictured here with Ainsley Harriott) will be giving FREE live cooking demos at the market.

With some big help from Tastes of Lincolnshire, the cobbled market place looks set to be sizzling with a free, live cooking demo by award winning celebrity food writer Dominic Franks, who blogs at Belleau Kitchen.

From Dominic’s blog archive: pumpkin cake with chestnut cream and almond meringue topping

Dominic commented: “Lincolnshire has some incredible produce and food producers who tend to keep quiet about how fabulous they are, so it has become part of my remit to shout for them! The gastro market on October 6th looks like the perfect chance to do that, on a big scale. I’ll be using produce from the market stalls and from independent shops in the town of Market Rasen itself, so it’s Lincolnshire all the way. I can’t wait.

“I feel very privileged to be part of this new enterprise and hope to bring something exciting to encourage locals to come and have a fun day out… I plan to create some fun and easy dishes using product that visitors can go and buy then and there…”

From Dominic’s blog archive: cider braised Lincolnshire sausage hot-dogs with caramelised onions in cider

Lydia Rusling of Tastes of Linclonshire added: “We are thrilled to be a part of Market Rasen’s celebration of local food and drink in October. The MR BIG team have already done a great job of putting the market back into Market Rasen with a series of well organised and well attended markets each month. The ‘Food Glorious Food’ market is great opportunity to come along to select some of the best of the county’s food and drink, watch cookery demonstrations and sample some delicious tastes of Lincolnshire!”

From Dominic’s blog archive: orange and yoghurt poppyseed cupcakes

MR BIG markets director Jackie Smith gave a taste of what was in store: “There will be over 40 stalls heaving with delicious samples to taste and plenty of luxury food and drink to take home for that weekend treat, or maybe an early Christmas gift taken care of. As will all our markets, there will be a host of exceptional offers from our high street too, that only run for market day. We’ve got five free car parks in the town, and we’re on a rail and bus route, so there’s plenty of ways to get here and get stuffed!”

The market central to the Portas Pilot work by Market Rasen’s business improvement group – MR BIG – who have vowed to “put the market back in Rasen”, and pull the crowds in too, by hosting un-missable events on the first Saturday of every month, until Christmas.

From Dominic’s blog archive: veggie birthday pie

Sarah Lamballe, another MR BIG director and volunteer, added: “Personally I’m really excited about Dominic’s demo, having followed his Belleau Kitchen blog for some time – everything he cooks looks amazing. We’re also pleased to confirm he’ll be using food from local sources: Lancaster’s Butchers from our own high street, J North our fruit and veg market traders, Rectory Reserve Sausages, Vicarage Farmhouse Free Range Eggs, Oak Tree Pigs, Goat Wood Dairy and Redhill Farm, plus the ‘big boys’ – the Coop and Tescos! Dom will be cooking from guest menus designed by local chefs too, so it’s a real community effort.”

The Food Glorious Food market is on Saturday October 6th in the market square, Market Rasen, staring from 9am. Come along and discover what home grown delights Dominic will be cooking up on the day, and if you like the look of any dishes we’ve featured in this blog, click the photograph to read the recipe at the Belleau Kitchen.

Get involved with our Portas Pilot…

Get the full story with our NEW FAQ – it will tell you all about what we’re doing: Frequently Asked Questions


SUBSCRIBE to our blog posts on email to always get the latest news first. Click here to Subscribe to Market Rasen BIG by Email.

REGISTER your interest in what we are doing as a local business, market trader, individual volunteer or community group. Follow these links to

Register as a Market Rasen Business

Register as a Market Trader

Register as a local organisation or community group

Register as an individual

Market Rasen’s Portas Pilot FAQ, with added Progress Report!

Everyone can read all about our Portas Pilot in the middle of the high street, including a timeline and FAQ

Market Rasen’s town team has made much use of social media to talk about what it is doing. But we’re also using the more traditional “posters slap-bang in the town centre” approach. This week we’ve displayed an FAQ and PROGRESS REPORT in an empty shop window along with lots of nice photos, to reach all the town, especially those people not online.  The FAQ on the notice board is reproduced here:

What is a Portas Pilot Town?

The Portas Pilot competition was launched in February 2012 by retail expert Mary Portas and the Local Government Minister Grant Shapps. Any town in the UK could enter, with the 12 winners getting around £100,000 each to help turn around their “unloved and unused” high streets.

“I’m offering a golden ticket to 12 town centres across the country to become ‘Portas Pilots’ – areas with the vision and enthusiasm to breathe new life into what should be the beating heart of their communities, and they will get Mary’s and my support as they try out the ideas in her recent review.” Grant Shapps MP.

Market Rasen was one of the 12 to win the “golden ticket”, beating off competition from 370 other towns in the UK.

“I’ve been deeply touched by both the quality and creativity of the bids and the momentum Britain’s first town teams have generated in just a few short weeks. It is now clearer to me than ever that Britain wants its town centres revitalised and the energy and accountability for that needs to rest with the people who live and do business there. My sincere congratulations to everyone who entered.” Mary Portas

MR BIG (the Market Rasen Business Improvement Group) created that winning bid. This included a 20 page bid document and seven minute video, which achieved 1000 YouTube views in its first weekend!

Sara Scott, Ashley Taylor and Richard Hallsworth filming our original bid video

Who are MR BIG?

MR BIG is new in town, but we already represent 70 local businesses – people who live and work here – people who really care about the town’s future. We’ve also got many local organisations and over 250 individuals involved in what we do, offering us help and advice, and seeking our help and advice too! And we’re looking for more…

Our first meeting was on the 20th February 2012, attended by 40+ traders and business owners from Market Rasen. We held two ideas generation sessions hot on the heels of one another and filled sheets and sheets of output outlining our challenges and opportunities.
These ideas created the skeleton of a Town Transformation Plan (available online and in the town’s library), and gave us a fantastic blueprint for our Portas bid too.

MARCH – 40 business people attend a meeting and generate
40 strategies to tackle the town’s problems. Out of this
meeting comes two big things: the Market Rasen Business
Improvement Group (MR BIG) and the Portas Pilot bid.

We’re continuing to build and flesh that plan out, day by day and week by week.
In order to administer the funds, MR BIG has become a formally constituted CIC (Community Interest Company), with paid-for membership and an elected Board of 12 volunteer directors, each tackling a different aspect of the plan.

These people are:

• Alison Bonnell (C G Partnership) Training, Development & HR
• Angela Montague (Push Creativity) Social Media & PR
• Darren Lince (Advocate Homes) Commercial & Property
• David Riley (J A D Associates) Non-Trader Liaison
• Jackie Smith (Beltec Ltd) Markets
• John Matthews (Beechwood Guesthouse) Logistics
• Ken Greenwood (Rasen Hardware & DIY) Trader Liaison
• Luke Barton (Green Dolphin Cleaning) Town Tidy Up
• Richard Hallsworth (Nicholsons Accountants) Finance & Secretary
• Sara Scott (brand thing) Marketing & Chair
• Sarah Lamballe (Sarah Lamballe Copywriting) Community, Arts & Culture
• Chris Cocking (Lincolnshire Cooperative) Sustainable Shopping

What are you doing for the town?

Our Portas Pilot plan is split into four key ideas:

• Town tidy up
• “Putting the market back into Market Rasen”
• A sustainable shopping strategy (including supporting talented start-ups)
• ‘Pulling in the punters’ with innovative marketing ideas

How much money did you win?

As a Portas Pilot town, Market Rasen now has a fund of £98,599 – a retail price if ever there was one! Here’s how we are allocating this money to achieve the big ideas in our Town Transformation Plan:

• Town Tidy Project – £4,000
• Market regeneration – £37,000
• Sustainable shopping – £45,049
• Promotion – £12,000
• Administration – £550

The budget includes funding for a part-time town manager, retail apprentice and Pop-Up shop, together with two major food festivals or markets.

Who’s keeping track of the money?

We believe it’s important for us to keep people up to date in terms of where the money we have been given is being spent. We want to be transparent in all of our financial affairs and will therefore be publishing full financial statements every year instead of abbreviated ones and will also be also publishing quarterly internal accounts.

The ladies at Style Studio in our ‘Love Market Rasen’ tees. Along with big shoppers and umbrellas, these tees are part of our sustainable shopping plan. Shop with one of these to access local offers and discounts!

We’re also adopting strict procurement rules and having our accounts checked by WLDC. Our company rules also don’t allow directors to be paid for their work.

 What have you achieved? 

The initial results of our Town Tidy up are becoming visible around Market Rasen. Landlords and property owners have undertaken extensive works to improve shop frontages and tidy up grot spots. Additionally a new ‘heritage palette’ of colours has been agreed with West Lindsey District Council to encourage renovations that are ‘in keeping’ with our traditional townscape.

MR BIG has successfully run three BIG markets, the first being our Extraordinary Pop-up Market, ahead of the win, with additional markets in July and September. The numbers of traders coming forward for stalls is growing steadily, thanks to a concerted marketing and communications programme and strong market planning and logistics capability.

Three further BIG markets are planned for 2012. Our 6th October Market sees us teaming up with Tastes of Lincolnshire for a “Food Glorious Food” theme that will feature the very best of Lincolnshire produce. Additional dates are 3rd November and 8th December. We will also be supporting our Town Council in the Market Place for Carols and Festive Fayre on the evening of the 7th December.

We are agreeing a programme of monthly market dates for 2013 and have formed a working party with the Town Council to look at how we can ensure that our regular weekly markets begin to benefit from our Portas learnings.

Volunteer directors David Riley, Sara Scott and Sarah Lamballe on the MR BIG market stall

MR BIG has teamed up with corporate sponsor, Lindum Group and will be opening our first “retail incubator” ahead of Christmas 2012. This will be located at 27 Market Place (the old Halifax building). We are currently inviting interest from fledgling retailers who are interested in taking space in this shop. Initial response is very encouraging.

MR BIG is also set to reinstate an independent fruit and vegetable shop on our High Street as a venue to celebrate the very best of Lincolnshire produce and give some of our foodie market traders the opportunity to secure a permanent presence on our High Street.

In the empty fruit & veg shop… charity retail expert Jayne Cartwright (left) inspiring the MR BIG fledgling green grocers (Sara Scott, Richard Hallsworth and Pamela Jane Clarkson) with innovative ideas. A separate blog on Jayne’s visit and Pamela’s new role to follow soon!

Our training and development programme is taking shape and will be ready to launch in tandem with our retail units. The offer includes a series of breakfast briefings to provide fast, easy access to relevant business services and information, boot camps and master classes, plus one-to-one free consultancy services for start-ups and a business ‘buddy’ scheme.

To date, our marketing activity has focused around promoting Market dates, with posters, flyers, offers and discounts, plus a host of PR and social media activity to promote footfall into town in between times.

Our ‘I love MKT RSN’ Merchandise and big bag scheme was aimed to promote pride and loyalty amongst local shoppers. T-shirts and bags can secure shoppers deals and discounts along the High Street, and some of our merchandise has been shipped to supporters around the world.

We continue to develop excellent relationships with local and national media and have achieved several TV features on BBC and ITV, as well as regular coverage in a host of newspapers and journals across the region.

We have surveyed opinions of both traders and shoppers – this vital market research will help to support the development of our plans over the year ahead.

Our FANTASTIC Peep Boards, big attractions at our markets. Pictured is Jamie Taylor of Jackson Building Centres who donated the materials, with BIG thanks to artist Emma Brown who created the three boards for FREE.

We are currently talking to the University of Lincoln about the development of longer term marketing materials that will help us promote ourselves to shoppers and tourists in 2013.
MR BIG has teamed up with mobile loyalty scheme operator (Tik Tap). This technology is operated by the same company responsible for Orange Wednesdays. The scheme sees Market Rasen operating a one year pilot to enable participating traders to make virtual offers to shoppers.

The BIG Board has a schedule of key presentation dates organised that will continue to raise the profile of Market Rasen as an innovator and leader in Town Transformation, with a view to securing additional funding beyond the initial pilot period.

How do I contact MR BIG?

You can email us through out contact page, just click this link.

If I don’t have email facilities?

Please write us a note (including your name and contact number) and drop it into the high street businesses where our directors work – Rasen Hardware, The Advocate, Nicholsons Accountants or the CG Partnership. A director will get back to you in person about your query.

How else can I get involved with the Portas Pilot work?

SUBSCRIBE to our blog posts on email to always get the latest news first. Click here to Subscribe to Market Rasen BIG by Email.

REGISTER your interest in what we are doing as a local business, market trader, individual volunteer or community group. Follow these links to

Register as a Market Rasen Business

Register as a Market Trader

Register as a local organisation or community group

Register as an individual



Summer Lovin’ Market BIG Thanks

A quick blog post to say a BIG thanks to all the traders, volunteers and supporters that helped us make our Summer Lovin’ September market a success.

Our Summer Lovin’ Market had a record 50 stall holders!

With special thanks to:

Jackie and Tony Smith for their fabulous organisational skills – fifty stall holders takes a lot of organising, and Jackie and Tony did us proud!

Emma Brown and Jackson’s Building Centres for creating our fantastic peep through boards.

Pictured are: Jamie Taylor of Jackson Building Centres (who donated the materials), and the face behind the lady with the big melons is our own market director Jackie Smith who has made so much of the event happen. Also BIG thanks to artist Emma Brown who created the three boards for FREE, working until midnight! They are joined by kids Toby, Ewan, Mari and Tasha.

Jane Cowan and Vidge Stacey for excellent face painting and Sarah Lamballe for having a go! Thanks also to Rachel Eckersley from Holy Rood and Rev Cartwright of St Thomas’ for the loan of table and chairs for face painting.

Free face painting from Jane Cowan and Vidge Stacey

We’d also like to thank Martin Hare and his guitar for busking the sounds of the 70s under the auction shed in the afternoon.

Summer Lovin’ songs galore from Martin Hare

Steve and Faye Dixon for calling our BIG Bingo and Indulgence, Blue River, Top Knot, The Race Course, Rasen Hardware, Wolds View B&B, The Rasen Pet Centre and Lancaster’s for kindly donating prizes.

All of our High St Traders who gave us fabulous offers for the day.


And all of our wonderful market traders. With particular thanks to Bryan Spittlehouse & Jenny North for their spectacular outfits.

Getting her Groove on – Market Trader Jenny North

CG Partnership for use of Arena Cafe and their training room for our pop up Gift Gallery. And to Sheila Douglas for doing such a great job at directing everyone to find it.

Our pop up Gift Gallery, thanks to CG Partnership

Forget-Me-Not Florist for the ribbon corsages for our 70s outfit spot prizes and sunflowers for organisers.

Lucy and Rhona

Faye, Jasmine & Alison

Matilda and Heather feeling the Summer Lovin’

Jonny Waterman for cooking up a tasty BBQ at The George (with bread donated by Starbucks, burgers & sausages supplied by Lancasters Butchers and onions from The Norths). Plus talented 3-piece band ‘Stark’ for giving us a cracking after party.

Stark performing at The George

And finally thanks to our volunteer photographers. David Montague with his ‘proper’ camera, Angela Montague and Caroline Matthews with smartphones, and our fantastic Instagram community uploading images under the hashtag #big_summer_lovin’. Here’s a gallery from them all that really captures the day:

Love and peace