On Monday 26th June, IPM Fellow and co-founder of The Teenage Market, Joe Barratt, met with the Minister for Levelling Up, Dehenna Davison MP, and officers from her Department at a roundtable event to discuss the future of markets and the role that young people can play in their development.
Also in attendance were other key figures from the markets and high streets sector, including David Preston and Graham Wilson from NABMA, Joe Harrison from the NMTF, Alan Hartwell from Market Place Group, Ojay McDonald from ATCM and Mark Robinson, Chair of the government’s High Streets Task Force.
David Preston opened the session with a reflection on NABMA’s “Markets First” campaign, which aims to secure the future for UK markets, through a programme of open discussion, training, upskilling, benchmarking, and best practice. The campaign seeks to highlight some of the challenges facing markets, including the fact that 84% of markets are operated or controlled by local authorities and have received minimal financial support, stall occupancy is down from 77% to 72% and only 40% of markets have an annual financial surplus.
Another headline figure that emerged from the research was that only 8% of traders are under 40 years of age. Joe Barratt was able to inform the Minister of the work that he had been able to achieve to help tackle this particular challenge, by providing young people with free access to market trading across the country through delivery of The Teenage Market.
Since 2012, over 370 Teenage Market events have taken place across the UK, providing spaces to 5,000+ young people to develop their small business. Support for delivering Teenage Market events is now provided to select locations who are engaging with the High Streets Task Force, which has seen 18 events run so far, supporting 186 young traders.
A recent success has been in Horncastle, East Lincolnshire, where support from the High Streets Task Force has enabled East Lindsey District Council to run four Teenage Market events. Working in partnership with Boston Borough Council & South Holland District Council, under the South & East Lincolnshire Councils Partnership, the team behind the Horncastle Teenage Market events have been able to run further event activity in Boston, Spilsby and Louth.
Speaking about the roundtable, Joe commented, “It was great to meet with the Minister and discuss the positive impact that our Teenage Market events are having on the lives of young people across the country. We spoke about how taking part in our Teenage Market events is not only valuable from an economic perspective, with young people using the opportunity to build up their small businesses, but also from a personal perspective, as many traders gain a huge amount of self-confidence from engaging in face-to-face interactions that will serve them well in whatever future venture they choose to pursue.”
The Minister commented herself on the wonderful success of the initiative and committed to attend a Teenage Market event herself in the near future.