The Village Market Returns!

Ruddington’s popular, monthly market will be back this July – after being suspended for the past three months due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak.

Now that Government ‘lockdown’ restrictions are being eased, its organisers Ruddington Village Centre Partnership (RVCP) have decided it will be safe and practical to restart Ruddington Village Market on Saturday July 4th – albeit initially with fewer stalls and a new location to enable ‘social distancing’ at the event.

Mark Pinks of RVCP’s Market Team admits: “It’s going to be different for a while. One of the best things about the market has been the way it’s become as much a social event as much as it’s a place to shop. Having the stalls close together at The White Horse has been brilliant – there was always a really good atmosphere as people crowded around their favourite traders – but obviously things are not the same now. We’ve got to put safety at the top of the list and follow the guidelines, which means we’ve really got to space things out. That might mean a few less stalls, so we’re really grateful for the support of Ruddington Parish Council by letting us put the market on The Green where we’ve got a lot more room to play with.”

Ruddington Village Market’s temporary new home on The Green.  {PHOTO: Google Maps}

Although the exact layout on The Green has not yet been decided*, RVCP’s stall co-ordinator Sue Matthews agrees the market will still have to be scaled back slightly: “Our main focus is ensuring safety for all our visitors, traders and volunteers” says Sue. “We will be planning a layout that allows for clear queues at each stand and the message throughout the site will be to remind people of the social distancing guidelines. We will also be looking to have additional volunteers to be present around the market to ensure safe queueing and social distancing. We anticipate being able to have approximately 20 traders – and we have already had more requests than we will be able to accommodate – so I am confident we will be having a good mix of local businesses and market favourites.”

Some of those favourites have made appearances ‘virtually’ during the ‘lockdown’ thanks to two online Ruddington Village Market ‘Instagram Live’ events hosted by Mark. “The virtual market was way more successful than I imagined!” he admits. “All we really wanted to do was leverage the market’s social media presence to help promote as many of the independent businesses as we could during the lockdown, to help them tick over until they are able to trade again. We started by just posting up their special offers, but the idea of a ‘live’ virtual market came about after one of the weekly Zoom calls that we have the village centre businesses.”

Mark Pinks hosted two Village Market “Instagram Live” events for RVCP

Mark reveals: “The first one was a huge success – it was mostly Ruddington businesses, and I think what people really connected with was the chance to see the faces behind those businesses – people like Andy at The Frame Breakers, Sally at Phoenix Flowers, Paula at Ruby Rae, Julie at Black Cat Cafe, and Alex at The Bottle Top. The people who run these brilliant, small, independents are just as important as the businesses themselves, and I think after so long in lockdown, we all missed those faces and the feeling of being part of a wider village community, so the live virtual market was a great way to reconnect with them.”

Mark adds: “It was good for the businesses too – Paula at Ruby Rae, for example, got loads more followers on Instagram because of it, so it really gave her a boost in sales. It was good that the story got picked up by BBC Radio Nottingham and BBC East Midlands Online, too, which meant even more exposure for the village and our brilliant community of businesses. Stuff like that is what RVCP is all about!”

Now that the ‘physical’ market is on its way back, he doesn’t envisage hosting a full ‘virtual’ market again anytime soon. However, ‘live’ streams from the event and one-to-one chats with regular traders are likely to be on the cards in the future. “It’s a shame that we won’t have a covered space like the marquee at the pub, but hopefully it’s just a temporary thing and eventually we’ll get back to a layout more like the market used to be” says Mark.

Mike Ader

RVCP Chair, Mike Ader, comments: “I am absolutely delighted to see the return of Ruddington Village Market. It’s been most peculiar not having it as it’s become very much part of our village life on the first Saturday of each month……. missed by residents, visitors and traders alike.”

Sue stresses there’ll be a continuing effort to encourage market visitors to explore the rest of the village, too, with the vast majority of shops and hospitality venues expected to be allowed to reopen by July 4th: “The local traders who normally have a stand at the market (apart from The Bottle Top – who’ll be trading from High Street) have all requested to be on The Green. But we will signpost back to the village towards other businesses that are also open” says Sue.

Mike agrees: “One of its core purposes was to bring greater vitality to the centre of the village. It is therefore fantastic that the return of the market is on the same day as the reopening of more Ruddington Traders……it promises to be a significant day”. 

Nottingham City Transport will also have resumed its full service on Ruddington’s Navy 3 and Green 10 by this date – although face coverings will need to be worn and ‘social distancing’ observed on all buses.

{*There’s now an update >>HERE<<.}

The ‘new look’ Ruddington Village Market on The Green on Saturday July 4th will run between 9.00am and 1.00pm – half an hour longer than previously to facilitate ‘social distancing’.

There was a trial with some stall holders on The Green last summer. {Market photos by Mark Pinks}

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