Market Rasen Portas Pilot: The Bid & The Money & The Back Story

This post confirms our Portas Pilot plans and funding in detail.

Everything achieved by the group so far (the bid, the bid video, the Extraordinary Pop up market plus the ongoing management, development and publicity work) has been achieved without funding. We have got this far through many, many people donating their time and talents to the town. Our business group only started in January 2012. 

A Message from Mary Portas on her website to the first 12 Portas Pilots

Documents Behind The Portas Pilot Bid

Available on this blog since we submitted our Portas Pilot in March 2012, these two documents form the basis of our now successful Portas Pilot and offer a detailed insight into how we plan to spend the funding.  Download and read them with these links, or pop along to Market Rasen Library to find a hard copy. Our winning bid was the outcome of the ideas and concerns of 40+ BIG members, progressed by around 15 handraisers who matched our thinking to specific recommendations within the Portas recommendations to government.

MR BIG Town Transformation Plan PDF

The MR BIG Action Plan PDF

You can also click here to watch our Portas Pilot bid video on YouTube.

The Portas Pilot Funding – to the Penny

Market Rasen applied for 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.

The Back Story

Market Rasen Business Improvement Group – MR BIG – began in January 2012 as a voluntary group for local businesses to work together to improve the overall experience for those who live, work and visit the town, and we set out this stall before the Portas Pilot competition was announced. Our aim is to enhance the look and feel of the main street and retail areas. We want to help local business owners find the information they need and the workshops they want to provide a unique stand-out service to their customers. We want to attract exciting new start-ups and support them to succeed. In short, we want to help Market Rasen to become the best it can be; a vibrant, thriving and attractive market town supported by local people and attracting visitors to our unique corner of Lincolnshire.

What’s Next?

Since the winning announcement, there have been many developments we will be reporting on very soon. We recommend you SUBSCRIBE to our blog posts on email to always get the latest news first, and not miss a trick. Click here to Subscribe to Market Rasen BIG by Email.


Journalists wishing to talk to a member of Market Rasen’s town team are requested to call:

Sara Scott 07912 644968
Sarah Lamballe 07974 194888

Our Portas Pilot Journey so Far:

Filming our Portas Pilot Video

Our Portas Pilot video on YouTube

The fine detail of the bid – our Town Transformation Plans – published online

Mary Portas Tweets praise for our Portas Pilot video

Our Extraordinary Pop up Market on May 14th, proving what can be done in four weeks with no funding, but plenty of great ideas and heaps of hard work. Also commended by Mary Portas on Twitter:

Our WIN announcement, made at midnight on May 25th 2012:

Our Celebration Party:

The back story of the Market Rasen Business Improvement Group (MR BIG) started January 2012


REGISTER your interest in what we are doing as a local business, market trader, individual 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

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

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