Tag Archives: portas pilot arts council grant

High Street Heroes 1: Alan Thompson, Pharmacist and Manager of Boots

During this series we will be meeting some of the people who are really helping to make Market Rasen great. These are our High Street Heroes: those people who work along the high street doing their level best to promote and support the effort to regenerate our town.

Our first hero is Alan Thompson. Alan has been working at Boots on Market Rasen High Street for the past 6 years. We popped in to join him in presenting an award to Hazel Barnard for her winning entry in MR BIG’s “Most Interesting Picture in Market Rasen” Competition and we managed to catch up with Alan afterwards to ask him a few questions.

Now we all know the town population has expanded rapidly since Alan came to Market Rasen in 2007 and has been rising for some time. There’s nowhere that feels the pressure of coping with these changes quite like a pharmacy, so we asked him how the Market Rasen Boots has managed to maintain such an excellent standard of service. “Boots is very keen on customer service. We’re very aware of our responsibility of being trusted with people’s health care. We carry out our own customer surveys at all stores. Now, of course we don’t always get it right but we can compare results and share examples daily.”

With Alan in charge, the Market Rasen Boots store has also done a number of things to support MR BIG. The prize camera donated as part of the sponsorship for Plank 2013, Market Rasen’s Art Council England funded Arts & Craft Festival in February, is just one example of the ways in which Alan is helping to make a difference. He explained to us that Boots as a company is eager to support the scheme to improve the high street, as well as backing Mary Portas in her mission. “We will always try to help wherever we’re asked. It may be small things, for instance gifts for the Christmas market or advice and expertise, but we are always happy to help in some way.”

We asked Alan for his thoughts on MR BIG and how it has helped the town centre. “I can really see the difference. Honestly, I know some people have made negative remarks but it certainly has made a big difference to the high street and to this very store, in fact. It’s sometimes things people don’t necessarily see, but we’ve had our garden cleared and the store generally cleaned up. We can see that the building over the road has been decorated as well and that’s all really down to MR BIG. The building over the road Mary Portas even mentioned herself on her visit and you can see the difference made since then”

Finally, we asked Alan for his thoughts on the future of the Market Rasen high street. “I think we will make progress. The high street isn’t going to be what it was but it’s so important to support independent traders and to create opportunities for it to become something new. I like the idea of making it more of a social area and I know there are some plans for that. I hope we can make the whole place more interesting for younger people as well.”

With High Street Heroes like Alan and all the help he gives, we think the future looks very promising indeed. But what do you think of the future of our high street? And who are your high street heroes? Let us know by commenting below or telling us on our Visit Market Rasen facebook page.

Plank 2013 – Market Rasen Arts & Crafts Festival


Market Rasen becomes an Art Gallery from 2 Feb-2 Mar for ‘Plank 2013′ when diverse exhibitions by independent designer/makers from Lincolnshire will be displayed in a range of unusual places and spaces

It’s exciting to be involved in the first Market Rasen Art Festival. It was great meeting the other artists and people involved. I am looking forward to working alongside other artists and seeing the art that emerges from the surrounding areas. – Seb van B

We are thrilled that as part of Market Rasen’s Portas Town Pilot status the Arts Council England has awarded the town’s business improvement group (MR BIG) £10K to deliver a community-focused arts festival in the town.

For 4 weeks in February 2013, Market Rasen will become an art gallery with work being exhibited in unusual places and spaces to create an arts trail, including: empty shops, railway station, market place, high street shop windows, pubs, cafes, school and church.

In case you’re wondering, the ‘Rasen’ of Market Rasen comes from an Anglo Saxon word meaning ‘planks’! It also means ‘bridge’ so it seemed the perfect name for a festival that will create links within the community and its rural hinterland.

The festival is organised by volunteer director of community, arts & culture, Sarah Lamballe, led and curated by established yarn bombing, mixed media community artist Carol Parker, along with early career Market Rasen artist Seb van B part of Market Rasen’s Portas Pilot journey since the first Extraordinary Market Rasen Portas Pop-Up Market, plus emerging artist Richard Chuck whose work is inspired by the stunning Wolds landscape and is a celebration of the rural area’s unique assets.

I was so impressed by Market Rasen’s imaginative Portas Pilot video that I applied to be part of their first MR BIG market and I’m now a lead artist for ‘Plank 2013′. I have never met such a determined, astute, positive, energetic and lovely group of people; goes to show what you can do if you join forces and aim high! – Carol Parker

Outline Brief

The Arts and Crafts Festival will be a celebration of Market Rasen’s assets and qualities, namely: our markets, racecourse, beautiful countryside, golf course, shops, woodland, biking and hiking routes, train station and our heritage and  architecture.

Additionally we would like to recognise the unique character and personality of our town: friendly, traditional, rural, genuine, vibrant with great potential and a community spirit.

As this activity is a spin off from our Portas Pilot win, with the focus on regenerating the British High Street, we are also keen that this project is inspired by the ideas of TRANSFORMATION and REGENERATION.

 Call for Submissions!

We are seeking proposals from artists in the Lincolnshire area, to exhibit, showcase or perform their work at ‘Plank 2013’; emphasis to be on quality of work with visual impact to create a striking display across all art forms.

‘Plank 2013’ is an arts and craft festival to raise awareness of the quality and quantity of arts practitioners in the county and an opportunity for established, as well as new emerging artists, to promote their work.  We will work together to create a sustainable annual showcase for the arts in Lincolnshire and to put our county on the ‘must see’ list of festival. We don’t have to be big to be successful, we aim to be small but different; amazing and accessible; inclusive and incredible!

Surprise us! Collaborative proposals are encouraged either from groups of artists or innovative cross art form partnerships as well as individual submissions.  2D, busking, installation, textiles, film, soundscape, live performance, whatever it is you do, we want you.  Work can be something you have already completed that you want to exhibit or a new piece that you would like to promote.

You provide the artistic experience and we will provide the venue.

Having lived on and around the Lincolnshire Wolds most of my life I’m very excited to be involved in the upcoming Arts festival taking place in Market Rasen. The town itself is a great small market town that should be proud to show off the talents of its local artists. All too often small towns with the charm that Market Rasen has are overlooked for this type of exciting event. – Richard Chuck

Stage One – Application process

–        Email submissions preferred to the Town Centre Manager Nicola Marshall at: mrbigtowncentremanager@hotmail.com

Or by post to: Nicola Marshall, Town Centre Manager, Market Rasen Business Improvement Group, 27 Market Place, Market Rasen, LN8 3HL

–        Application deadline: Midnight Sunday 20th January 2013

Applications should include:

–        A maximum of 6 images that are representative of your work, including approx dimensions of the work to be displayed, the medium and other relevant info.

–        Any specific requirements ie: power, performance space preferred (although you may have to be flexible on this one but that’s part of the fun!)

–        Up to 500 words about you and your work and an outline of your proposal for ‘Plank 2013’

–        Links to websites, videos etc.

Stage Two – Selection outcome

You will be notified by midnight on Friday 25th January 2013 of the outcome of selection.

After this the team will match up your work with the various venues and supply contact details for you to arrange to view the display area and arrange installation or rehearsal.

Terms and conditions

  1. ‘Plank Festival 2013’ reserve the right to curate the trail, based on submissions that answer the call and the number of available displaying venues.
  2. By submitting you are agreeing to allow Plank Festival to use images and written material to promote the art trail and your practice.
  1. If selected you are agreeing to deliver your work to the organisers preferred venue and allowing them to install your work.
  1. Work to be installed by Friday 1st February 2013
  1. Work to be on display until close of the Festival on Saturday 2nd March 2013.
  1. Plank Festival is hoping to arrange an auction of any unsold work immediately after the March market. (Full details of auction t&cs to be provided in response to any application).
  1. Unsold work to be collected during the week 4th March or by a date arranged with the venue.
  1. Plank Festival will produce a trail map guide of the selected artists which will be available in outlets around the town and through a download link on Market Rasen BIG blog.
  1. Artists are responsible for their own public liability insurance and Plank Festival cannot insure their work so will not be held liable for any costs incurred.
  1. Plank Festival reserves the right to prioritise selection of works by location: 1. Local 2. Regional
  1. Plank Festival does not set out to make selling opportunities, however works can be sold on the artist’s behalf if priced, via MR BIG and unsold work sold after the festival via auction (tbc).

Plank 2013 Arts & Crafts Festival funded by Arts Council