The Irlam Community Market is taking place online this month, with gift-makers, food and drink producers being offered a chance to sign-up.

The markets normally take place at Princes Park Garden Centre. However, they have been cancelled due to Lockdown 2.

Irlam Community Market stall

Stacey Antcliff, volunteer for the Princes Park Garden Centre, said: “A lot of the stall holders rely on the income they make from our market and others that they take part in. Not being able to provide that facility at the minute is disappointing so anything we can do to help is great.

“It’s obviously limiting those who would normally visit the market to people who are online, but it’s the best we can do now and hopefully stall holders can still make some income.”

Irlam Community Market stall

The stalls cost £10 and only those who have paid can post their products on the Facebook group – where the virtual market is being held.

Customers will contact each stall holder directly to enquire about any products they are interested in.

Irlam Community Market stall

The market was planned to have 25 stalls this month which would have offered many local products to customers.

Sarah Hapgood-Turner, 44, has a regular store at the market called Crocheted with Love, she said: “I’m loving that the market this month has gone online so we can still reach our customers and keep the interest going.

“I usually rely on the markets at this time of year to fund Christmas for my family and as currently now back on furlough the extra definitely helps.”

Irlam Community Market stall

Another regular market store holder, Emma Woodward, 38, said: “I’ve been a stall holder since the market started and I have relied on it for my business.

“It is unfortunate that the market has been cancelled but understand it’s for the best at this time. I am very pleased the market has been taken online so I can still support the garden centre at this time & reach out to my lovely customers & hopefully some new ones too!”

Emma has been making and selling soy wax candles, melts and accessories for approximately four years and she said the market has improved her business.

Irlam Community Market stall

The Irlam Community Market encourages the public to shop locally and it promotes small businesses.

Hannah Chan, 33, Independent Consultant with The Body Shop and regular market stall holder, said: “I think we often forget what’s on our doorstep and are quick to jump on Amazon style sites for our online shopping.

“It’s really opened my eyes as to what amazing, bespoke products are available locally.

“I know the impact my small business has on being able to provide for my family, so to think my purchases could help another family be able to do the same means I’ll definitely be spending more time shopping local.”

Irlam Community Market stall

Stacey added: “​Since we started the markets it apparent just how much demand there is for people to be able to shop local.

“The support for them has grown and grown, we regularly now have around 18 local people with stalls each selling a different products and the footfall is consistently high with people wanting to come back and buy regularly.

“I’m a big believer in shopping local as much as I can, however until lockdown struck I didn’t realise just how much more I could be doing.

“You can see how shopping in places like this is truly putting money directly back in the local economy and it just feels better to spend your money in this way.”

The market will run officially from the 15 – 21 November, although stall holders can post once a day in the group on the run up to introduce themselves before then.


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