York Youth Markets

Make It York, a destination management organisation, has run the Shambles Market since 2015. Located in a prime location between the historic Shambles and bustling Parliament Street, City of York Council invested heavily to redevelop the fabric of the market before operations were passed to Make It York.

Shambles Market has a diverse offer, including elements of traditional retail, arts and crafts, and a food court. Trading seven days a week, regular traders are licensed to specific days and empty stalls are offered to casuals daily. The market has a traders’ association recognised and supported by the NMTF.

Following an approach from the NMTF, Make It York regularly attended the Yorkshire Markets Forum to deliver the Yorkshire Youth Markets project. Heather Lynn, City Centre Marketing Executive, explains why Make It York wanted the Shambles Market to get involved with the initiative:

“We felt it was important for Shambles Market to be involved in the Youth Market initiative as enticing young people to trade is central to the future of markets. It is crucial that we play a part in supporting the next generation of independent market traders which will allow our market to thrive with a promising future.

"Being involved with the Youth Market project has also enabled ourselves to make valuable connections with educational organisations throughout York, which we will maintain going forward to allow further collaboration on more projects in the future.”

Heather, alongside Rachel Walker, City Centre Sales & Marketing Manager, made connections with York College, York St John University, and the University of York. People responsible for enterprise support shared information with young people about test-trading and start-up opportunities at Shambles Market.

Ten young entrepreneurs got involved. Make It York offered trading opportunities on every Sunday in June. Five pitches were reserved for young people. Pitches were free of charge. Proactive traders involved with Shambles Market Traders Business Improvement Group informally mentored the young traders.

Five young traders who took part in York Youth Markets took part in the regional heat – the Yorkshire Youth Market – held at Kirkgate Market, Leeds, on 1 August 2018 (Yorkshire Day!). Heather and Joe Etheridge, City Centre Markets and Events Executive, attended the event to support the traders throughout the day.

“We did encounter some challenges upon setting up our youth market project, particularly with recruitment. We found that making the initial connections with educational organisations throughout the city could be difficult, and adding an alternative activity to an already organised curriculum takes time, and well advanced planning.

"However after a period of time promoting the project with a big push across our digital channels we received a fantastic set of applications, and were able to put forward five traders all with innovative products and an inspiring attitude for business to the Yorkshire Youth Market in Leeds.”

Traders from York who traded at the Yorkshire Youth Market, were: Alice Dixon, AD Creative Ltd; Georgie Smith and Lydia Wallis, GEL Lifestyle; Inayah Sadiq, Morochic; Lily Franklin, Foxglove Folios; and Emma Ayris-Rogers from Blathnat Jewellery. In addition, Emma traded at the National Youth Market!

Make It York plan to get involved with the Yorkshire Young Traders Project in 2019.

“We cannot wait to start planning for the 2019 Youth Market project in Shambles Market, we have lots of ideas on how to develop and improve opportunities for more resourceful recruitment, including better use of all social media outlets, particularly Instagram. We also will be bringing further incentives to the initiative including awarding certificates and prizes at our local heats.

"We will be providing a mentoring scheme in collaboration with our youth traders from 2018, giving hints and tips to youth traders, allowing them to get the most out of the project. Finally, we plan to work closely with the York Retail Forum and The York BID to further enhance the opportunities for our young entrepreneurs in the city.”

For more information about youth markets at York, contact Heather Lynn, City Centre Marketing Executive, on 01904 552507 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To find out more about trading on Shambles Market, contact Make It York on 01904 551 355 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Find website and social media details below.

(Young traders photographed with Phil Pinder, Chair of the York Retail Forum. Phil started on the markets and runs cufflink manufacturer and retailer, Cuffs & Co, which is located on Goodramgate, York).


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