Great British Market Award winners, eat:Festivals operate a series of food and drink markets that are hosted in number of towns in Somerset throughout the year. The organisers recognise that the success of their festivals depend largely on their engagement with local communities as visitors, participants and volunteers. Bev Milner Simonds explains that young people are an important ingredient.
“eat:Festivals are unique; we are like the best bits of an agricultural show (giant tractors, livestock and real farmers), with the best of a farmers' market (primary producers and a focus on local) and the best of a great day out (free entry, lots for all the family, entertainment, demos, talks, masterclasses and hundred+ top notch local food & drink producers).
“We offer ten bursaries per year. These are funded by a sponsor. This includes a free pitch at any of our festivals, business support and advice and promotion via press releases, social media and in the festival directory (1000 distribution).
“For those applying through our “introducing... Young Makers Market” – in addition to the items above they also get small business financial advice from Nat West, a design workshop with The Design Hive and a mentor from within our existing trader stable. These places are aimed at new business owners aged 16 to 24 years old. The Taunton event hosted the finals of Young Enterprise Somerset. We will be repeating this in 2018.
“The success of the food festival depends largely on our engagement with the local community as visitors, participants and volunteers. We have 21 volunteer Showmakers including the two festival directors who build and run the festival year-round. The volunteers range in age from 14 to 67 and include 14 women and 7 men. We offer great training opportunities for volunteers. We focus on giving high quality opportunities to young people; including Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme students. Three of our volunteers have been recognised at the Pride of Somerset Youth Awards
“We pride ourselves on our high level of event management skill which we know our traders value. We use Stewards and Showmakers to add the sparkle on the day of the event and they are trained at a face-to-face session prior to the event. Our young Showmakers are highly visible, trained in radio communications; first aid; safeguarding and vulnerable adults procedures. Their #1 priority is to help our visitors have a safe, enjoyable day out in their area of responsibility.
“It is very rewarding to see the younger members of the crew grow in confidence, form view about their future and feel that they have the skills, knowledge and behaviours to apply for and be success at the jobs that they have identified. Some of our volunteer crew have now become paid day managers for us and other events and markets.
“Having this trained team allows us the freedom to manage the unexpected – like a swarm of bees descending on a festival a couple of years ago and a bride turning up for a photo shoot.
“We also worked with local colleges to provide filmed footage.”
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Mission For Markets is a campaign run jointly by NABMA and NMTF