Monthly Archives: May 2013

Market Rasen Gardener’s Market 2013

 

 

Gardeners Market Day

At MR BIG we’re getting rather excited about the Market Rasen Lion’s Club Annual Gardener’s Market and Spring Fayre.  We seriously recommend coming along to the Market Place and Festival Hall on the 1st and 2nd of June and getting ready to make your gardens look really special this summer.

As well as bountiful stalls full of garden goodies, not to mention food, the Lions have invited guest speakers Steve Lovell and Andrew Sankey to appear in the Festival Hall, at 11:30 am and 1:30 pm respectively on both days.  They’ll be discussing a variety of subjects including Shakespeare’s Cottage Flowers and Wildlife in the Garden.

We were delighted to put the regional press in touch with the event’s organisers to help increase publicity for this spectacular charity festival and, of course, for Market Rasen itself.

Check out our new, online Town Events Calendar to find out about other upcoming events.  And if your community group, business or venue is planning an event, email mrbigapprentice@gmail.com ASAP and our dedicated Town Centre Management Team will add it to the calendar so that your event details are also publicised online in this simple and accessible way.

Breakfast at Rasen Gardeners Market Promotion pic (2)

The BIG Corner Shop – Retail Opportunity in a Portas Pilot town

Part-time for 3 months fixed term


Dear friend,

As you may know, MR BIG has a lovely little community Arts and Crafts shop called The Big Corner Shop on the corner of the Market Place in Market Rasen.

We opened just over 3 months ago as a space where budding entrepreneurs and retailers could try their hand at High Street Trading.

The lady who managed the shop for the first 3 months has moved on to pastures new and we’re looking to find a replacement.

It’s a 3 month contract to begin for the start of June. It will be 5 days per week (including Saturdays). Hours are likely to be late afternoons c2pm-4.30pm. But flexibility is required and more hours may be required on certain days by agreement.

The role is managing the shop. Specifically this includes managing the till, cashing up and banking, ensuring the shop is kept in tip top condition and nicely merchandised, managing a rota of volunteers and dealing with the traders who supply the shop.

The rate of pay is £8/hour. Ideally, previous retail experience is required. If you are interested, please return a CV or brief letter outlining your skills and experience to mrbig.coordinator@gmail.com. Closing date for applications is Thursday 23rd May.

Kind regards, MR BIG

Market Rasen High Street has the X Factor

 

 

Around Christmas time last year, we drew up a bid and submitted it to government, explaining some of the great things we’ve achieved in Market Rasen and outlining some further ideas we would like to implement to continue our journey to re-invigorate the High Street.

 

We were one of 55 towns who applied (and submitted videos) and only 7 towns were given the award.  In the words of our representative from Government – we are a truly exceptional town.  We asked for £79K, But we were awarded £101,057. . .and it’s taken us a little while to find out why, which is why we’ve not been super-quick to announce the details of the win.  We wanted to get our facts straight.

 

So here they are.

 

 

Our bid was formed from the ideas laid down in our town transformation plan, written with the input of traders and business people back in February 2012.  It builds on the four promises laid down in our Portas bid:  Town Tidy Up, Markets, Shopping and Marketing and Promotion to drive footfall.

 

This bid includes a host of activites, they include:

 

 

Town Tidy Up

 

‘Operation Ice Cream’ which will create a fund to help shop owners and businesses repaint their shop frontages

 

  • Gardening initiatives, including community groups and schools to improve unloved areas of the town 

 

  • Love Your Street – a scheme to encourage groups to ‘adopt’ and care for areas of our town

 

  • Shop Window Award to develop Visual Merchandising skills for retailers

 

Markets 

 

  • Management fund to ensure we can continue to host BIG monthly markets and to continue to fund our Town Centre Manager for a 2nd year

 

  • Funds to try new and different markets formats to keep things fresh and exciting

 

  • Work with local councils and transport providers to provide market day buses and trains from Lincoln and Grimsby.

 

Shopping Sustainability

 

  • Community cafe with gallery space and family friendly facilities and visitor information. 

 

  • Personal shopping service and outreach for vulnerable people and people without access to transport. 

 

  • Develop overnight accommodation provision and ensure our visitors have a VIP experience

 

  • Formal support package for start-up businesses

 

Marketing

 

  • Improving the visitor experience through signage and information.

 

  • Shop Local campaign

 

  • Regional tourist promotions to create a branded offer to visitors, showcasing our towns assets including Racecourse, outdoor activities as a Lincolnshire Wolds Town, Biker events, Food Tourism etc.

 

  • Promote Market Rasen and surrounding villages regionally as cultural destination for arts and crafts

 

As you can see, there’s a lot to do here and the money we’ve won is allocated in small portions against each of these activities, so we need to think carefully about what projects we undertake in what order.  

 

 

There is no deadline on when we spend the money and we’ve still got approximately 50% of our Portas funds left – so there are plenty of projects on the go already.

 

We were keen to understand why the Government had awarded us an extra £22K.  The answer is that these funds are there to help us make our projects sustainable – so to pay for the people resources required to keep things moving, but also to help us spread news of our projects by networking with other town teams.  They are not to be allocated to new and additional projects to those outlined in our bid.

 

In the couple of weeks since the X Fund win was announced in the national media, I’ve been approached by a handful of concerned townspeople, who were worried or unclear about the purpose and remit of MR BIG.  First, a number of people expressed concern about the idea of having a ‘community cafe’ as part of our plans and that it would encroach on other eateries in town. To be clear – there is a limited budget of £10K against this activity and the focus will be on creating a family-friendly environment that fulfils a number of different functions for residents and visitors. The location and format of this initiative is not agreed and the opportunity will be tendered out at a date tbc for local businesses or groups to ‘bid’ to take this activity forward.  

 

 

Secondly, I’ve been asked on many occasions for MR BIG to extend the scope of works to tackle a host of different issues the town faces.  Again, we want to be clear that as a business improvement group there is a limit and focus to our remit that is around regenerating our High Street and businesses within Market Rasen.  Activities that encourage business growth will continue to be our primary focus.  Whilst these may have benefits to the overall community as a whole, our Group is not a catch-all for every issue our town faces.   

 

Our Board takes time and care to ensure that we remain true to the vision we set right at the outset at the beginning of 2012 – which was to make Market Rasen a more inviting place to be and to drive the footfall on the High Street that will benefit local businesses so that they, in turn can invest in our town.

 

 

In light of recent feedback from our members, we will be looking to meet with them more regularly and informally over the months ahead, so we can continue to canvass the views, opinions and ideas that have been critical to our success thus far.

 

 

Sara Scott – Chair MR BIG

 

 

Mr Big Trader and Business Newsletter – April Round Up

Thank you to those of you who were able to make it to the meeting last Monday. Although turnout was low, it was a positive and interactive meeting. We were able to learn a lot about how you think MR BIG is doing and where you think we need to put our energy over the next few months to make things even better.

Firstly, we heard you say that we need to advertise our events and meetings more: not just via email and social media but in flyers and posters that we hand out to you in person. We will get on with this straight away.

We know we need to do more to update you with more frequent newsletters: again, with a hard copy, posted up publicly and available in the Library to complement our wide-reaching social media. We will be getting a newsletter together in the next few weeks.

You would like to see more of MR BIG in person, on the High Street and around town. The Town Team will endeavour to visit all the High Street shops and businesses more frequently: just a quick hello is sometimes all that’s needed. Thank you for suggesting this.

Pop into see Nicola at the Big Corner Shop on Fridays or arrange an appointment with a director

Pop into see Nicola at the Big Corner Shop, 27a The Market Place at the Friday morning ‘open surgery’.

Remember that we do still have an open ‘surgery’ on a Friday morning: call into the Big Corner Shop and ask for Nicola the Town Centre Manager. You can also make an appointment to talk to one of the Directors. Just let us know.

Membership benefits are important and we are reviewing what we offer to MR BIG members. Feedback from you is that you would like a website with members’ businesses and shops listed; and more training and Business to Business networking events. We will get a B 2 B event organised and invite you along; we are happy to organise and facilitate these events so that you can share expertise and ideas; we can book motivational and expert speakers too.

There are a couple of quick wins which we will sort out: we will organise a Mystery Shopper programme for the towns businesses and shops – but only if you want to take part: it’s not obligatory. We’re hoping to have some funding from the Government to pay for this in the next couple of months. Additionally, we’ll get some temporary signs for our free car parks organised for MR BIG market days; we’ll talk to Highways about a longer-term answer to the poor car park signage, including ‘brown’ signs at the two main junctions with the A46.

The appearance of the town is really important to you: as it is to MR BIG. We have done what we can so far with the budget we have and have contracted Community Payback once a month until the end of the year. Our budget for Town Tidy Up is £4,000 for the duration of the Portas Project: this equates to roughly £7.30 for every commercial property in the town centre. The Community Payback contract will cost around £2000 for a year. We have written to West Lindsey District Council for financial support and are waiting to hear from them.

We are not able to justify using public money to re-paint and improve buildings which are in private ownership. However, we can explore negotiating discounts for labour and materials. We’d really like to do more and to help businesses paint and improve their buildings. We have written to owners and landlords of buildings which need attention and we should have some feedback from this exercise soon. Realistically we will have to wait to see the outcome of our X Fund bid (we should hear about mid-May) to see if we will have more funds which could then be allocated to a programme of painting and general tidying up. We will of course let you know as soon as we hear.

Thank you for taking the time to read this update. Please contact the Town Team on 01673 84 94 40 or email mrbigtowncentremanager@hotmail.com to get in touch.

Project Potential brings life back into Market Rasen’s empty properties.

 

Why not pop along to 10a Queen Street today and tomorrow (3rd and 4th May) to see what is going on…….

Project Potential aims to brighten up empty spaces by putting on themed events. We hope to reach out to a number of people in the Market Rasen area such as locals, looking for something different and investors hoping to start up in Market Rasen.

10a Queen Street will host a number of activities on the 3rd and 4th of May, with a focus on creativity, innovation and engagement.

Friday will kick off with live poetry and literature readings, a fabulous art display, and the opportunity for the people of Market Rasen to share their ideas for ways to fill the remaining shops on the high street. At 4pm, Disney film ‘Tangled’ will be shown and the shop will be transformed into a cinema for children with treats available.

Saturday’s exciting schedule will begin with ‘Young & Fun’, giving children of all ages the opportunity to learn magical circus skills whilst making new friends. Oother activities will include a window show and a mini gig.

Here’s the schedule….

 

Capture

For more information search Project Potential on Facebook and Twitter or email mrbigapprentice@gmail.com. We hope to see you there!