This year, Princes Park Garden Centre in Irlam ran their annual winter market each Sunday from 21st November to 12th December.

These operate outside of their regular markets and local businesses are encouraged to run stalls. Products included wreaths, baubles, and crocheted gifts.

Volunteer and board member, Stacey Antcliff said: “It’s really important for us to have local businesses and home crafters involved, we prioritise those that live locally for stalls as we want it to be very community focused.

“The stall money that gets paid goes back into the garden centre funds and the money that the stalls make is going back to people who live locally to then spend again within the local economy.

“We’ve had businesses come along who have their own premises but want to reach a wider audience, to people who are retired and make things as a hobby.

Princes Park – Image Credit: Evan Hurst

“Two ladies that have started coming regularly started knitting lots of different items during the first lockdown and just wanted an outlet to sell them whilst being able to get out the house and chat to people.

“We also support another local business who run the cafe on our site, each market day the queues are large for food and drink!”

The garden centre, which is used by disabled adults during the week, started the markets to have more community engagement.

All profits go back into the training and facilities for those who use the centre.

The markets started with six stalls but has steadily increased to between 16 and 18 per month, and an application will be submitted to expand onto Princes Park.

Stacey said: “The community has been fantastic; we’re still trying to get word out to as many as possible that we’re doing them but we’ve had many regulars who come along and it forms part of their Sunday routine once a month as they love it so much.

“We’ve always got people who discover us for the first time each month who then turn into regulars.

“I think this year has been especially important with more people wanting to find alternative places to shop and as we’re local and outdoors it appeals to those who may be more wary of where they go due to Covid.”

You can find out more information about Princes Park Garden Centre on their Facebook page and website.

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