Author Archives: Angela Montague

Mad March Market


Spring is in the air….. so our March Market will be outdoors.

Go crazy for Lincolnshire’s finest artisan foods, arts and crafts.

Prepare to be amazed by fire eating, stilt walking and other spectacular entertainment.

Go bonkers and get involved by learning to juggle. (Under the auction shed, all day.)

Easter egg hunt for kids from the Big Corner Shop all day.


Rounding off a month-long celebration of local arts, in the Methodist Church from 2:30pm, all welcome.

Find out all our Portas Pilot activity each day, follow us on Facebook, here’s the links:

The Big Corner Shop
Plank 2013 festival

Portas Pilot Update – Market Rasen – February 2013

We’re well over 6 months into our Portas Journey and it’s been a roller-coaster ride, but one we’ve enjoyed.

This document sets out some of our high-lights and challenges, based around the initial promises we made in our bid.

But before we launch into the detail, here are a few insights into our approach and how we feel we’ve managed to achieve a BIG impact in a small space of time:

We did the ground work in consulting our business community. All the ideas in our town
transformation came from grass roots – we simply packaged their ideas into Portas-
friendly points.

We didn’t hang around waiting for a win. We got busy with our town transformation plan
and threw our first ‘pop-up’ market regardless!

Once we heard about our win, we took immediate action to get a constitution in place.
We decided that a CIC format was right for us, so we registered ourselves and got an
elected Board in place.

We developed a strong and positive working relationship with WLDC. Their support has
served us well.

It took us a while to get the funds in place – we didn’t let it stop us and probably did us
a favour. It made us realise that huge amounts can be done without the need for lots of

We embraced Social Media from the outset. Our on-line community has supported us
every step of the way!

We’ve done everything we can to develop good local media relations – recognising that
they would be key to keeping the public up to date along the way.

We recognised that resourcing would be a challenge from the outset, so we budgeted for
staff – a Town Centre Manager and supporting Apprentice.

Our original bid was simple and focused. We’ve had plenty of opportunity and pressure
to broaden our scope, but we’ve been determined to maintain our focus.


We wanted to improve the look and feel of our town to make it a more welcoming, inviting and pleasant place to be.

With just £4K camped in the budget for this project (and with none of this spent to date), it was always going to be challenging to give our town a complete facelift. However the media interest we secured immediately following our win, gave our business and property owners a good reason to take matters into their own hands, painting and maintaining their properties.


  • We agreed a heritage colour palette for painting and decoration with WLDC planning department
  • We lobbied WLDC to fast track repair work on ‘The Goldmine’ – a near derelict building and main town eyesore. It has now been renovated
  • Notices have now been served on a range of premises to try and bring them in to line with town standards
  • Our Market Place was tackled early on by volunteers
  • Our Auction Shed (at the back of the market place) is now contract cleaned
  • We collaborated with our Town Council on plans for the jubilee and Christmas to ensure the town was decorated
  • A recent town walkabout has resulted in a comprehensive ‘hit list’ for targeted improvements

Key Challenges

  • Money is tight for cosmetic improvements
  • A high % of required improvements are other 3rd party responsibilities eg Railtrack, landlords etc

Next Steps

  • Letter writing and lobbying 3rd parties
  • £million X High Street fund bid for ‘operation ice cream’ to create a grant funded pot for independents to improved fronts


Our Gastro market with live food demos by Dominic Franks

We wanted to re-instate a lively and vibrant market at the heart of the Market Rasen visitor and shopping experience

We’ve build our monthly BIG market using common sense and determination. We have excellent administration and trader engagement run via a cloud-based database. Our planning and delivery on the day is first class, thanks to Jackie’s stewardship and we kept our pitch fees low (at £10) throughout 2012 to remove barriers to entry. The result being the growth of our markets from c30 stalls to c70 stalls (at capacity) over two venues.

We recently won a NABMA award for being Britain’s best small speciality market – thanks to an excellent mix of artisan food, art & crafts.

We have run a variety of market day promotions, run competitions and encouraged attractions along the High Street to encourage footfall for our retailers on market days.

We have surveyed shoppers, measured traffic and know that takings are up on market dates.

Despite this being our obvious success to date we still face challenges:

  • Complaints from a hard core of High Street traders about competition on market days and focus of activity in the Market Place
  • Requests for a protectionist approach to limit the number of specific types of trader on market day
  • Work with our Town Council to encourage a much needed halo effect into our regular weekly market has been frustratingly slow
  • A January price rise (to £20 per pitch) has put our market into profit for the first time

Key Challenges

  • Logistics – the erection and dismantle – is a massive and time consuming job
  • Keeping the themes fresh
  • Engaging volunteers
  • Driving footfall from a bigger catchment

Next Steps

  • 10 x 2013 dates
  • Sourcing a trailer and paid-for logistics team
  • Continue to theme & promote every event


Our 1st Portas Pilot shop, Greens of Lincolnshire

We wanted to create a retail incubator unit to give market traders and entrepreneurs a route onto the High St.  We promised to provide businesses with training and development to support the journey.

  • Delivering this promise has been the most demanding part of our project to date.  Food and non-food retail have different challenges, but both are core to our offer.  We have opened two shops on our High St.
  • The first is ‘Greens’ – a micro farm shop and much needed anchor shop to improve our shopper offer.  The second is ‘The BIG Corner Shop’ – a more traditional pop-up for our artists and makers.  This is being operated on a 3m pilot basis and provides MR BIG with a much needed ‘hub’ in the community.
  • At present, these stores employ 4 part-time workers.  It is early days, but if these outlets can turn a profit, they offer a much needed opportunity to generate cash and build sustainability into our plans.
  • The operational demands of running two small retail businesses are huge and difficult to support amongst a team of volunteer directors, all of whom have their own businesses or careers. Both shops have been warmly received.  Greens shows real promise for becoming a successful cash engine for our scheme. Just two weeks into trading in the Big Corner Shop, it is too early to judge how this will work – but the shop is already serving to unite a vibrant community of local artists and makers.
  • We have recently completed a 3 session series of business basics training for members, with more in the pipeline.

Mary Portas in our 2nd retail space, The Big Corner Shop

Key Challenges

  • Time for leadership, management and problem solving
  • Organising and managing a high quality volunteer workforce
Next Steps

  • Developing the Greens veg-box scheme
  • Pop-up opportunity at the race course
  • Assess success of BCS 3m trial
  • More training, development and networking for members and traders


We wanted to provide marketing support that would encourage High Street footfall from local, regional and national visitors.

twitter profile


  • Effective Social media and an on-going campaign of traditional media relations have formed the cornerstone of our marketing strategy and been key to our success.
  • Our database also allows us to communicate quickly and effectively with our members and supporters.
  • We have a rolling programme of marketing to support our markets AND we’ve used a successful campaign of Market Rasen merchandise to promote pride in our town
  • We were lucky enough to begin our journey with three career marketing professionals on our board. This will shortly be depleted to one. This will undoubtedly impact the volume of our communications – but we have all the vital platforms in place, so we are actively training our volunteers and staff to continue the good work.
  • With tangible improvements now visible along our High Street, it is our intention to develop and launch a Market Rasen ‘brand’, in time for the 2013 visitor season. To this end, we are engaged with the University of Lincoln and have 5 teams of students working on various campaigns to take our message to the broader market.
  • Additionally we won £10K from Heritage Lottery to create a virtual town guide/application.
  • Effective PR has been essential in spreading the word about our achievements. We are mindful of the opportunities on the horizon as we approach the Portas anniversary in May, but also concerned that we will have to be even more inventive to secure coverage thereafter!

Key Challenges

  • However much we do to communicate – it simply isn’t enough
  • Vocal critics and problems with our Social Media ownership/access have hobbled our team in recent months

Next Steps

  • More markets promotions (with paid-for media)
  • Branding, shop local, town information provision and virtual tour are all in the pipeline

Summary – The good, the bad and the ugly

We’ve had an amazing journey so far and it’s incredibly rewarding to see a visible difference on our High Street, new shops opening, a vibrant marketing and a new air of confidence in our town.

We get fabulous feedback from the public, from our market traders and from our High Street supporters.

But being a successful Town Team comes at a cost.

We have the ideas and determination that could lead to long-term sustainability for our activities, but we also have some very serious challenges to overcome:

  • A handful of volunteers are trying to reverse a trend of neglect and mismanagement that was left unchecked for a number of years. It is exhausting and many of our volunteers have seen this take its toll on their personal and professional lives. This is not sustainable – and getting additional and new volunteers with the requisite skills is a big challenge
  • We face criticism and negativity from a handful of opponents. Unfortunately they are extremely vocal, loud and in some cases, personal. This erodes enthusiasm and goodwill
  • The more we initiate, the higher our profile, the higher the expectation and workload. We have paid for resources, but demand is quickly outstripping supply. We continue to remain focused, but worry that this won’t be enough to sustain the momentum we have created
  • Collaboration and cross-party working is challenging. Understanding respective roles and responsibilities can be difficult. Bureaucracy and red-tape is frustrating. Our style is somewhat maverick and our approach is commercial, consequently our ‘fit’ with some of our community’s more established committees and bodies can be uncomfortable.
  • There is no ‘blueprint’ for success. We are embracing the spirit of the pilot to try new ideas. The Portas funds have been essential in giving us the opportunity to do so, without pressure for successful ‘outcomes’. On the whole, the things we are trying are working. But we are mindful that we are one of a very lucky few that have the luxury of a funding pot to help bring ideas to life.

Follow our journey as it happens, in social media:


Market Rasen’s “Double Whammy” of Christmas Markets

Lincolnshire’s Portas Pilot town, Market Rasen, invites the whole of the county to come along to not one but two fantastic traditional Christmas market events, and see first-hand how the town is being transformed by one its core Portas Pilot promises of “putting the market back in Market Rasen”, with a promise of “the biggest ever daytime market in Market Rasen”.

The evening of Friday December 7th (4-9pm) will see a very traditional Christmas fair hosted by the town council and the Market Rasen & District Round Table, with school children from three local primary schools singing carols and lots of delicious food and drink to eat in the Market Place, alongside the Mayor’s charity event, which will fill the Festival Hall with stalls supporting some fantastic local causes. Click here to join the Friday Market Facebook Event Page.

This evening market will be complemented by late night opening from the Market Rasen high street, with a free prizewinning Snowman Trail for families to complete whilst taking in a unique shopping experience where almost every shop is an independent trader offering a warm and personal welcome. Between the high street shops and the market stalls, visitors are guaranteed a huge choice of gifts, in addition to plenty of places to eat and drink once the shopping is done.

The next day, Saturday 8th December (9-4pm), will see the biggest ever daytime market in Market Rasen, presented by MR BIG, the team behind the Portas Pilot work.

Volunteer market director Jackie Smith confirms there will be over 70 stalls in the town, “In addition to the Market Place, we’re really putting the ‘festive’ into Festival Hall, with more hand made, home made arts & craft stalls than ever before, plus a pop-up Happy Café serving delicious drinks and snacks with a chance to put your feet up over a cuppa, and more stalls in the car park too.”

Many stalls offer the finest Lincolnshire food to feast upon over Christmas, much of which will also be available in Greens of Lincolnshire, MR BIG’s new fruit and veg shop opening on Queen Street, just ahead of the markets, yet another reason to visit Market Rasen this Christmas. Click here to join the Saturday Market Facebook Event Page.

It’s been an amazing year for Market Rasen. Beating over 360 towns to become one of the 12 original Portas Pilots back in May. The smallest town among the winners has possibly made the biggest strides with a vibrant market already taking expressions of interest for its dates in 2013 and their second Big Corner Shop also about to open to sell locally made arts, crafts and gifts.

There are many ways to get to Market Rasen, aside from by car into one of several free car parks. The is also a train station stop off between Lincoln and Grimsby and the town is part of the No 3 Bus Route, or a Call Connect Bus can be booked 0845 2343344 (which operates until 7pm on Friday).

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


Another way to talk to MR BIG…

Nicola Marshall, the new town centre manager, with her open house session every Friday morning at the Big Corner Shop, 27 Market Place.

There’s a new way to talk to MR BIG, so we thought we should let you all know about it, and remind you of the many ways you can also reach the Portas Pilot Town Team or find out what the group is doing.

The new option happens each Friday morning, when our new town centre manager, Nicola Marshall, hosts an ‘open house’ in our new retail space, 27 Market Square (the old Halifax building). Anyone can drop in to ask any questions on the project.

If you wish to write to MR BIG, you can pop a letter through the door of the aforementioned 27 Market Square, or hand one into the high street business where our volunteer directors work (The Advocate, Rasen Hardware & DIY, Nicholsons Accountants). Please include your name and phone number so we can get back to you.

If you are online, you can look at our blog, our Facebook page  and Twitter account These pages have the most up to date news, and on them we answer comments each day. You can even subscribe to the blog to get our latest post emailed to you.

You can also email MR BIG on

MR BIG’s newsletters in the town library

We also keep a full set of documents in the reference section of the town library (and have done since the project began in March) explaining everything we are doing. This public resource was joined in the summer by a notice board in the window of the former Arena Cafe, and newsletters are also now available in cafes, pubs and salons in the town so people can buy local and read about the Portas Pilot.

Or you can use this form below!

Contact MR BIG
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Market Rasen #MonsterMarket in Photos

Once again a successful MR BIG Market thanks to so many people!

One of the winning Pumpkins from Paul (aged 40 + from Laceby!). Paul’s family were time visitors to the town, and his wife Julie told us: “We will definitely visit Market Rasen again- on a warmer, drier day!! It is a lovely place and I don’t know why we haven’t ever stopped by there before. Congratulations on what I suspect was a very successful day!”

A huge thank you to the support of our market traders, especially those like Kim Baker (Medical Herbalist) who dressed up for the event

Big thanks to our volunteer Face Painters Kathy and Vidge who did a brilliant job transforming the kids into witches, pumpkins and vampires!

Professional magician Rod Hammond delighted everyone with his card tricks and balloon animals

Our Amazing ‘Monster’ Librarian Mel (from Market Rasen library) entertained the kids with storytime in the Market Square. “It’s a GRUFFALO!”

Fabulous firework artwork from Maisie (age nine) who helped our Monster Librarians provide this free craft table in the Festival Hall

This wood fired pizza oven came to the market for the first time and proved a big hit

A row of fantastic carved pumpkins for our competition

Fancy dress winner Emma. Big thank you to Louise at Garnetts sweetshop for donating the fancy dress prizes

Fancy Dress winner Jo

Our other fancy dress winners, Ella and Ryan

Thanks as ever to our army of volunteers, who make every market a huge success through hours of work, so much behind the scenes. If you like what we’re doing in the town, and want to volunteer too, just click this link to fill in a form. We’d love to have you on board…

Make me a MR BIG Volunteer


January 5th
February 2nd
March 2nd
April 6th
May 4th
July 6th
September 7th
October 5th
November 2nd
December 7th

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



Monster Market full of Tricks and Treats!

Get carving your pumpkins for a prize at the MONSTER MARKET – Nov 3rd!

Market Rasen’s next Portas Pilot driven market – on Saturday November 3rd – is going to be a “monster”, with organisers MR BIG (the Market Rasen Business Improvement Group) promising plenty of tricks and treats for families in half term.

Just after Halloween and right before Bonfire Night it feels the perfect time for fancy dress, so everyone is invited to turn up in a spooky costumes on the day – kids, adults, traders, shop keepers – and there will be spot prizes for the best dressed about town.

And it would not be autumn without some seasonal pumpkins, so there’s another competition running for the best creepy and creative carvings! Children and adults are invited to pop their carved pumpkins for display under the auction shed (in the market square) before 10.30am on the day, with judging taking place from midday for 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes. Entry forms available in the high street, from the MR BIG blog and from the auction shed at the market. Click here to print your entry form Monster Market Pumpkin Entry Form

Also lurking under the auction shed will be MR BIG’s special ‘Monster Librarians’ who will be reading scary stories for children, as well as helping them create some cracking, firework art. These Monster Librarians – from Market Rasen Library and the Mobile Library Service – will also be hosting a second hand book stall to raise funds for new library books.

Mel, Karen and Katherine – the ‘Monster Librarians’ ready to spook you with their stories

Weaving in among the crowds will be two tricksters in the form of MR BIG’s street magician and balloon maker, and as for treats there will be plenty of those, with over 50 stalls shared between the market place and festival halls selling scrumptious Lincolnshire food, including those must-have toffee apples, and fabulous crafts.

Spooky monster craft, many at pocket money prices, in the Festival Hall

The Monster Market is also the first event in the town where 22 local businesses will be offering discounts and offers through the innovative new Tik Tap smartphone app, that aims to bridge the gap between online, mobile and high street shopping.

Tik Tap is a local loyalty programme designed and built by the same people behind the highly successful Orange Wednesdays cinema campaign, and Market Rasen is one of a select few towns in the UK to awarded the opportunity to introduce this scheme. Market Rasen businesses signed up and promoting their offers on TikTap already are:

Blue River Jewellery,Greens of Lincolnshire (the new MR BIG veg shop), Lancasters, Mama Js at Market Rasen Racecourse, Market Rasen Racecourse, Peter Rhodes, Quintessential Beauty, Rasen Hardware, Rasen Mobility Rhodes Fitted Kitchens Ltd, Smudged, Spring Beauty, Spring Fashion, Style Studio, Sunnyside Up, Tattershalls at Market Rasen Racecourse, The Big Corner Shop (another MR BIG shop in town), Touches Beauty Salon, VT Lancaster & Son, Wild One Tours Limited, and Wold View House B&B.

Get Tik Tap on your smarkphone (the app is free) to access some amazing offers in the town on market day

Market visitors are invited to download the TikTap app for free from iTunes or Google Android stores. It then stores details of all live offers in the area on their iPhone or Android – users ‘Tik’ the ones that appeal. Then when they pop into the shop, they simply “Tap” their mobile phones over an electronic ‘pod’ to redeem the offer.

“With five free car parks in the town, we’d really love to see lots of out of towners join the locals for this one,” commented volunteer markets director Jackie Smith, “with a date between Halloween and Bonfire night, we think it’s the ideal time to treat your little monsters to a some very British Autumn traditions.”

10 Amazing Pumpkin Inspirations for our Monster Market Competition

Market Rasen’s next BIG market on November 3rd is going to be full of MONSTER FUN, with a prize winning pumpkin carving competition just one of the BIG attractions. To get you inspired, MR BIG has gathered some amazing pumpkin photos right here! But first things first, here’s your entry form for the competition:

Monster Market Details & Pumpkin Carving Entry Form

Monster Market Details & Pumpkin Carving Entry Form

Print yours here with this PDF Monster Market Pumpkin Entry Form








What else can you see at the MONSTER MARKET on November 3rd?

Spooky Stories from our “monster librarians” under the auction shed. Put on your fancy dress for a chance to win a prizes. Marvel at our Street Magician. Have an autumn treat with our Toffee Apples. With Fabulous Balloon Art, Apple Bobbing, Party Games and Firework Art – it’s a MONSTROUS load of fun. Plus book sale under the auction shed to raise funds for new library books too!

With five free car parks, and bus and rail links into the town, come and join us and have a SPOOKY SATURDAY!

Please note, we’ve tried our hardest to link back to the original sources for these images. If we’ve not given credit where it is due, please let us know with a comment and we will update the blog. 

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 volunteer


New Veg Shop feeds our Portas Pilot!

It’s only a month since MR BIG announced they were going to reinstate the fruit and veg shop at the heart of the Market Rasen high street, but things have already moved on a pace, with many developments to report.

The new shop website where you can register as a volunteer or veg box customer

The new shop now has a name, Greens of Lincolnshire, and an opening planned for early November. It will be a community project and a “not for profit” business, so any money the shop makes will be directly reinvested in the town’s on-going regeneration. On this basis, MR BIG is now looking to invite people in and around Rasen to support the venture in any way they can – as either customers or volunteers – to help regenerate Market Rasen and get their fresh and local “five a day”.

Central to the new shop’s services is a veg box scheme, a boon for anyone that finds it difficult to walk the high street in the daytime. For £10, £15 or £20 customers can enjoy free delivery to their door of a box full of local and fresh fruit, vegetables and eggs, within an eight mile radius of the town centre, to start with. And this service is not limited to home delivery, with Greens offering to deliver boxes to work addresses too. This ‘corporate service’ even includes boxes of fresh fruit purchased by a company for their staff to enjoy and stay healthy.

MR BIG is also looking for volunteers to spend a couple of hours a week in the shop, working alongside others and contributing to the community. The role of volunteers in the shop’s set up is pivotal, as this means MR BIG can re-invest money into the community that would have been spent on salaries.

“It was a sad day when the Rasen Farm Shop closed its doors for the last time,” explained MR BIG’s volunteer finance director, Richard Hallsworth, “sad for the people involved with it but also for the community. Market Rasen is a market town and should promote the very best Lincolnshire food producers. Our markets showcase all things food on a monthly basis so it seems right that the high street should have a permanent retail business doing the same.

Left to right outside the shop: Sara Scott (MR BIG), Jayne Cartwright (The Charity Retail Consultancy), Richard Hallsworth (MR BIG) & Pamela Clarkson (the new Greens of Lincolnshire Manager) . MR BIG was delighted to have Jayne visit Market Rasen for an afternoon to share her considerable knowledge and many inspiring ideas for the new shop. Jayne was awarded the much coveted top prize of Woman of the Year 2010 at the Everywoman in Retail awards, and has worked with Mary Portas on the BBC program  ‘Mary Queen of Charity Shops’. She is also the founder of The Charity Retail Consultancy.

“The MR BIG team spent time looking into the business of farm shop retailing, checked our numbers and business plan and researched the ‘how to’.

“Whilst we wanted to restore a farm shop to the high street we also wanted to create a meeting place where people could visit, enjoy and learn more about all those fantastic Lincolnshire foods and the producers behind them. We also wanted to create a cash surplus that could help build out the sustainable part of the overall MR BIG business plan. We are acutely aware that the Portas money will only last for 18 months, maybe two years, and therefore we need to develop a plan that will generate funds and enable the good work to continue.”

Other good news from the creation of Greens of Lincolnshire comes in the form of the newly appointed manager for the shop, Pamela Clarkson. Pamela is a well-known face in the town who worked for Market Rasen’s Oxfam branch for 30 years, 24 as a volunteer and six as a manger until the shop closed in August this year.

Pamela commented on her appointment: “I’ve lived in Market Rasen all my life, I love the town, so I am really looking forward to this fabulous new venture that’s central to making Rasen thrive. To be back in the high street and helping the community means I am back doing the things I love too. I’m also excited about putting a new shop in the high street full of fresh Lincolnshire produce, and making it something really special, something with the ‘wow factor’!

“I’ve already done lots of research to find local food suppliers, and I am getting to know the MR BIG volunteer directors through our many meetings about the shop. I’m confident I can take Greens to where it can be, and have already had several conversations with my Oxfam customers who are so pleased to see me back in the high street.”

Pamela Clarkson,

“Pamela will work with our volunteer directors to ensure the shop becomes best practice on the high street and a beacon of excellence,” added Richard. “And it’s worth stating again that none of the 12 MR BIG directors can be paid for their work or from the profits of Greens of Lincolnshire, or any other Portas activities. The MR BIG community interest company we have created to manage the Portas Pilot project clearly states that directors cannot be paid for their involvement, to ensure they are true volunteers.”

MR BIG is fortunate enough to have a brand consultant among those volunteer directors, Sara Scott, and she is bringing all her professional skills to the project, for free, to make the Greens of Lincolnshire look like a shop Mary Portas would be proud of.

Sara explained how MR BIG’s progress in the Market Rasen high street is also being watched carefully by central government: “When we met Mary and government ministers at the recent Portas Pilot gathering in London, she said every town team should own a shop, but most didn’t know how to build one. The Department for Communities and Local Government were so impressed with our ideas that they are going to produce a case study about our retail plans.”

To register for the new box scheme or to be a shop volunteer, visit the Greens of Lincolnshire website at

Food Glorious Food: Photos, Thank Yous & Comments

It would not be a MR BIG market without a huge list of volunteers and supporters to thank… so deep breath…

Saturday’s market saw 60 stalls in the Market Place and Festival Hall, and LOTS of people

First up we say a BIG well done to the MR BIG volunteers on the day who were on site at 6.30am to set up our market stalls, and stayed around well into the evening to take down. Jackie Smith (MR BIG markets director) with husband Tony & son Nick of Beltec. Chris Cocking of the Lincolnshire Coop (MR BIG sustainable shopping director) & his son Tom. Jayne Sankey, town councillor and owner of The Chase. Leon & Luke (MR BIG town tidy up directors) of Green Dolphin. John Matthews (MR BIG events director and town councillor) and Mark of Beechwood Guest House. John Shaw. David Riley (MR BIG non-trader liaison and health & safety director) of J A D Associates. Richard Hallsworth (MR BIG finance director) Nicholsons Chartered Accountants. Sara Scott & mum Suzy (MR BIG chair and marketing director) of Brandthing. Sarah Lamballe & daughter Maisie (MR BIG director of community), Lincolnshire Tree Services and Sarah Lamballe Copywriting. Faye and Juliette for helping with administration and Peter from the town council who helped across both Market Place and Festival Hall.

Food writer and blogger Dominic Franks of Belleau Kitchen was a hit demonstrating all day with Taste of Lincolnshire’s ‘Kitchen Theatre’. Here he’s chatting to MR BIG’s Sarah Lamballe

Thanks for the hugely successful demo goes to Dominic Franks of The demo was made possible by Tastes of Lincolnshire, who provided the ‘kitchen theatre’ and contributed to menu cards and aprons (printed locally by Smudged). Lydia Rusling of Tastes was there on the day along with Helen Scott. We’d also like to thank Simon who helped Dominic, and Matthew, the chef from the Advocate Arms who assisted in the cookery demo. The lovely red, white and blue bunting down the walkway to lead visitors to Festival Hall was supplied by Lincolnshire Coop.

The mini mobile butcher from Sunnyside Up entertained the crowds

On his own blog, Dominic also thanks those that contributed to the demo ingredients: “Vicarage Eggs for supplying me with their lovely free-range eggs, Lancaster and Son ButchersRectory Reserve and Red Hill Farm for the very succulent Lincolnshire Sausages… I’d also like to thank J North Farm for their wonderfully fresh vegetables… The local Lincolnshire Co-Op also supplied me with bucket-loads of herbs and spices.” We’d also like to add thanks to Tesco who provided the larder staples.

Dominic dishing out chocolate roulade to the crowd

BIG thanks too to Abigail Rowlands, our amazing violinist busker.

The very talented Abigail Rowlands with her folk music selection

MR BIG volunteers and mini marshals in the day included: Pamela Clarkson – who will manage our fruit & veg shop, Gill Tuxworth, Stella Tupin, Carol Skye, Richard Hallsworth, Sara Scott, Sarah Lamballe and daughter Maisie Kendall.

A special thank you for our family of mini helpers from Sat, sisters and brother: Tatum 8, Neave 13 & Dexter 20 months.

Special thanks to our family of helpers Phil Jeeves with son Dexter and daughters, Neave and Tatum, who did a wonderful job with Mark from Beechwood Guest House handing out menu cards and Good Taste magazines to our lovely visitors.

Hot fresh noodles from Ayam Mee

We’d also like to thank Angela Montague of Push Creativity (MR BIG director for social media and PR) for all the social media and publicity work leading up to the event. Angela also live blogged the day with, taking 30 photos and posting them instantly to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Sunnyside Up’s traditional butcher’s stall attracted lots of attention

BIG thanks to Lincolnshire Tree Services for posters to promote Festival Hall craft market, which were scattered through the market place and along the walkway beside St Thomas. Also St Thomas’ who opened the church room for tea and coffee and signposted visitors down to Festival Hall from their bric-a-brac stalls, gave visitors access to the church and even allowed some to bell ring!

Jenny’s Jams looked jewel like in the autumn sunshine

We’d also like to thank all the fantastic foodie stall holders in the Market Place and the crafty lot in Festival Hall for helping us ‘put the market back into Market Rasen’, and our high street traders for supporting the event with offers exclusive to market day.

Our regular fruit and veg trader’s display! The Norths always set the right tone with seasonal product for a traditional English market

The local press also did a fantastic job of supporting us, with excellent coverage from The Market Rasen Mail, BBC Radio Lincolnshire, Market Rasen People, Lincolnshire Today and The Lincolnshire Echo – that we’ve seen at least!

The English Rose stall was as pretty as a picture, and is that Kim the Herbalist and Crepe Lucette back there?

Big thanks also goes to The Swan and Rhodes for giving over extra parking to us and to John at the Aston Arms for buckets of hot washing up water and buying Sara, Sarah and Jackie a much needed drink!

Lovely artisan bread from Starbuck’s Bakery

And of course a huge thank you to the public for turning up en masse to show what a bustling little market town Market Rasen can be.

Pretty stalls, brilliant sunshine and lots of footfall – we like!

Huge thanks too to our market team, Jackie Smith and Kerry Hallsworth, who have orchestrated all our BIG markets handling all the operations and logistics as volunteers, and that’s an operation that now involves 60 traders coming to town!

Fair Trade Point of Contact, one of 20 craft stalls in the Festival Hall

Final thanks goes to the sunshine, that shone beautifully all day, and the rain, that stayed away!

Sampling Dominic’s ‘no knead’ bread

If we’ve missed anyone out, or you want to add your own thanks, please leave a comment below. And do keep sharing great pics on Facebook and Twitter of your own culinary triumphs from our menu cards. Remember you can buy the ingredients locally any time!

What the people said

Here’s a the feedback comments we received over the weekend:

On our Facebook page (at

Faldingworth Live
Excellent market. Well done.
Unlike · · Saturday at 14:16

Sarah Bakin Brill we had a lovely day and met some very nice people .Thank you. We are very proud to be from Market Rasen Handmade Memory Books & Home Gifts .Looking forward to the next one x
Saturday at 18:11 · Edited · Like · 2

Ann Keil Excellent! Bought some lovely Fudge and was impressed with the Cookies in a jar stall.Please let there be more market days like this. :)
Saturday at 18:18 · Like · 1

Laura Saveal It was wonderful! We made a family day of it. We all thought there was a great variety of stalls and all reasonably priced. And my 3 year old son loved ringing the church bells! Well done to all involved.
Saturday at 18:20 via mobile · Like · 2

Shaun Washington i had a great time from sausages to jam great food looking forward to the next time ♥
Saturday at 18:27 · Like · 1

Tammi Franklin A really good selection of stalls hope there are more markets like this one farmers markets would be nice
Saturday at 18:31 via mobile · Like · 1

Jules Tester Bloody excellent, stalls fantastic, really different produce, products and gifts! excellent stalls in Festival Hall too, it was really great to see the town buzzing with smells of food, flowers, everything for every age! Lets hope this will urge those who are in the know to bring back the buzz of the market in Market Rasen, Ive only been here two months from Kent, it was fantastic, cant wait for more markets and events in the town. :)
Saturday at 18:39 · Like · 2

Sweetpea Fabric Art we had a great day today in the festival hall and it was nice to sell our items in a friendly atmosphere and meet the crafty cornucopia even though I could not remember names and the market place smelt wonderful.
Saturday at 18:42 · Like · 3

Jules Tester Im so lovin my headband bought from sweetpea fabric art today!
Saturday at 18:45 · Like · 1

Amy Boyles Fantastic market! Me and my 2 daughters loved it!
Saturday at 12:26 via mobile · Like

Donna Weber well done,really good market,got some delicious currys,nom nom:)
Saturday at 14:38 via mobile · Like

Karen Gilbert We thought it was brilliant, best one yet! X Saturday at 19:25 via mobile · Like · 1

Rita Montague Big congratulations to all responsible for the wonderful food & craft market . From the fantastic cookery demonstrations , the music from the talented violinist , the refreshments in the church rooms , the great offers from the high st. Shops and glorious weather , what a day
Saturday at 20:11 via mobile · Like · 1

Lincolnshire Wolds Macmillan Fundraisers We really enjoyed walking round seeing all the lovely stalls and meeting some lovely people, I even got to have the peanut Brittle and it was lovely also a large Pork pie which was had for tea. Enjoyed the food demos by Dominic Franks. Thank you to all those that gave donations to Macmillan Cancer Support.
Saturday at 20:17 · Like · 1

Amber ‘Goulsbra’ Shepherd It was great,i love to see the town so busy,well done all.i made a purchase of an ‘i love rasen’ brolly :)
Saturday at 20:54 · Like · 1

Natalie Chapman Absolutely Fantastic, Thank you so much to MR. BIG for having whatever it is you have in you all to actually do something for our town. Im thankful and grateful it is the right hands as yet again today you have proved succes can be achieved in Market Rasen and it is not a dying town, it is thriving with the right drive.
The Market today was brilliant with so much choice and such a great atmosphere! The only down side was i spent too much money. What can i say ;-)
Saturday at 21:28 · Like · 2

Cathy Gissing Loved it, a few generations of my family came too. My daughter had a go on the church bells and we ate our way round and bought goodies. Hope we have a great Christmas market this year. 23 hours ago · Like

Karen Gani Just a shame that people made traffic such a problem by parking irresponsibly nose to tail along caistor road. Awkward finding compromise of getting people into town without using up parking spaces for them to use when they get here.
23 hours ago via mobile · Like · 1

Natalie Chapman I remember once Duckworths did a park and ride for the Gardeners Fair pr something like. Perhaps this or something like this would be a good idea in the future as they are proving popular?
15 hours ago · Like · 1

Lynne Canfield good turnout,lovely sunny day, plenty of variety.
3 hours ago · Like · 1

Belles – Bags, Baubles, Bracelets and Beautiful Gifts – Hello! Thank you very much for inviting me again to the wonderful food extravaganza on Saturday! :)  I had a fantastic day and met some lovely people again! Looking forward to seeing you in November XX Unlike · · 2 hours ago

Handing out the fruit cake!

From our Twitter, at

Market Rasen People ‏@RasenPeople
@marketrasen_big Thanks, excellent work, the markets are getting better and better!

Scrubbys Crisps ‏@scrubbyscrisps
@MarketRasen_BIG it was brilliant very busy, visitors there to buy not just browse, very worthwhile, fab promotion & organisation #allgood )

Laura ‏@MinceTroll
@MarketRasen_BIG it was fab!

Lydia Rusling ‏@LydiaSRusling
@MarketRasen_BIG Thank you for a great Foodie Market today; very busy marketplace and town. Privileged for @tastesoflincs to be part of it.

JENNY’S JAMS ‏@Jennysjams
Thanks to @MarketRasen_BIG for another well organised market..

reo ‏@rasehaze
@MarketRasen_BIG what a great market, best yet!


Our friends Lincolnshire Wolds Macmillan Fundraisers were out and about

Want more?

Our full Facebook album of photos taken by Angela Montague is here: Food Glorious Food Facebook Album.

The 60 Instagram photos taken under the #GastroRasen hashtag are here: #GastroRasen on Instagram

Hop over to Belleau Kitchen to see what Dominic said about the day here.

Another blog post on the event from Stella & Alf is here.

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



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