Barnsley's "Up and Coming" Markets

For several years, Barnsley Market has been nurturing talented entrepreneurs under the age of 30 to encourage them to have a go at running their own businesses.

In a series of high profile events, linked to Love Your Local Market and key retail festivals, stallholders sold a variety of products, including handmade candles, loose leaf tea and coffee, handmade bath bombs, foiled prints, art, vintage clothing and fashion.

Manager, Maria Cotton explains,

“Having previously worked at Kirklees Council where I had started the ‘Alternative Market’ the council’s very successful youth market programme, I was extremely keen to start something similar here in Barnsley.  The markets here are vibrant and very traditional, but there was no easy entry point for young entrepreneurs. I quickly identified that we needed to roll-out some specific opportunities for them and to ensure an effective programme of support. 

“The opportunity to do this came as part of the national Love Your Local Market campaign in May 2017. When the NMTF and NABMA announced they wanted to focus on young entrepreneurs during the fortnight I decided that we would support this with five youth markets, one in each of the towns where we manage a regular market. 

“The package of support we put together involved working with Launchpad which is the Sheffield City Region business start-up team for Barnsley, The Princes Trust and Barnsley College.  The College hosted pre-market training sessions for us, which were also delivered with the help of Keeley Flint from ‘How to Start a Market Stall’. This included useful checklists about what to take on the day of the market, how to price their products, stock levels, how to present themselves and their stall, social media marketing and branding on the day. 

“Along with The Source Academy at Sheffield, Keeley also was one of our judges, selecting our market champions for the National Youth Market in Manchester. 

“The partnership worked very well, and we continue to work together to support our young entrepreneurs. The offer of market stalls was welcomed by all the partners, not only in in terms of providing business experience, but also in giving them some income to re-invest in their businesses. We brought something to each of our partners that they could not provide themselves – real business experience. 

“Two of our young stallholders are looking at setting up permanently in the markets at Barnsley and are receiving support from our partners.  Our partners were also very helpful in referring young people that they were already working with to the youth markets. We used their existing channels to recruit to the markets, and also advertised in the local paper.  

“The local media have been excellent and so supportive. The local radio station Dearne FM visited two of the youth markets in May, and interviewed all our stallholders, playing these interviews out on air over the course of the week. This created even more interest from young people. 

“Following the initial 5 markets in May, we then scheduled three more summer markets, two in July and one in August. We also have allocated a dedicated stall in our temporary May Day Green market for our young entrepreneurs and they can book to trade for a week at a time.  

“Our existing stallholders have been incredibly supportive to our young stallholders, particularly those trading on the pop-up stall in the main market.  

“All the opportunities we have offered have been free of charge to young entrepreneurs. From the May market, one young person signed up as a regular stallholder at Hoyland Market selling soaps and candles and two are looking to set-up in Barnsley town centre. We are now looking to develop a longer-term package of support to help them establish their businesses in the main market locations. 

“To give our youth markets an identity we used the branding from Love Your Local Market and gave it a Barnsley twist. We set-up a Facebook and Twitter account for UpComingMarkets as well as a Facebook group for our young stallholders to share ideas and we can let them know about opportunities. They have developed into a close working group of people, their own young business network, and I feel this is mainly due to the advance sessions we had before the first market. Their businesses are growing together, and they can help and support one another. 

“The youth markets not only provide us with a new generation of market stallholders, they also bring younger shoppers to the markets, and provide more variety of products onto the markets. 

“The opportunity to start a youth market is one I would recommend to all operators. It will bring lots of rewards, but you must be prepared to put in the work. Many of the young people need a lot of support early on and it is important to have the time to give them and take a genuine interest in their business. They also have lots of other things going on in their lives, whether they are still studying or working as well as setting up their business, so you need to be flexible and understanding, working with them along the way."

Click here to find out more about trading on markets run by Barnsley Council.

Contact Maria Cotton at Barnsley Markets, on 01226 772239 or use this online form.


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