Market Rasen’s newest partnership - set up with the aim of rejuvenating the town’s markets and generating vital new business - is up and running.
‘The Market Partnership’ is launching with a new strategy designed to promote the markets more effectively.
Apart from helping the town’s regular Saturday market, the partnership also aims to revitalise the Christmas and New Year markets.
It is backed by the Town Council and follows on from the legacy of the Portas Pilot and MR BIG projects.
Town councillor and former Mayor Steve Bunney said that while the new partnership was a continuation of MR BIG’s work, it “was not the same as before”.
Coun Bunney explained: “We are looking to move in with two groups - the Lincolnshire Commerce and local businesses in town who form the legacy of MR BIG - and work in partnership with them.
“Our main purpose is to get together and employ someone to help develop Saturday markets.
“The markets are of course very popular, but it will take work, advertising and management to help promote them.
“Now that MR BIG has come to an end, it is time to move forward. We initiated talks and gained the town council’s blessing.
“This is a long term strategy starting off now.
“By the time the Christmas and New Year Markets come round in the festive season, we should have developed a formula to maximise their success and people should see impact by then, if not before.
“All meetings will be formally taken and there is a service level agreement to be made.
“It will be a professional way forward.”
Market Rasen was one of 12 towns to win a £100,00 government grant as part of the Portas Pilot project in association with a project featuring TV star Mary Portas, the “Queen of Shops”. The project aimed to rejuvenate struggling UK High Streets.
Much of the effort in Market Rasen was put in to revamping the markets, particularly on the first Saturday of the month which became the speciality BIG markets and were “most successful”.
Although the MR BIG markets received lots of awards - and the town of Market Rasen was praised - it still faced criticism.
The directors of MR BIG’s Rasen project - who were all volunteers - stepped down after an extraordinary general meeting in February.
At the time, the volunteers said they had taken the project as far as they could but were hopeful other organisations would come forward and continue their work.
One resident, who did not want to be named, said: “MR BIG seemed market focussed and didn’t seem to do a lot else with the money.
“That’s no bad thing on account of all the awards and successful markets but I don’t think it sat well with everyone.
“The group folded and there was a bit of money left which was signed over to the council.
“Now that this new partnership has been established I think the question is: What will it do differently this time?”