I am writing this article in anticipation of the start of Love Your Local Market 2015 so I cannot go into any detail about what has happened and describe the events of the fortnight. What I can say is that the omens are very good.

At the end of April we had a get together at Brixton Market with representatives from a number of European countries where we signed a Memorandum of Understanding to support Love Your Local Market and work together to promote markets. Nabma has been asked to do an evaluation of the European support for Love Your Local Market so that we can produce information that might form the basis of a submission to the European Parliament. You will find other details about the Brixton event elsewhere in this edition. At the Brixton event Nabma was also able to announce that 1000 UK markets had signed up to Love Your Local Market 2015. This is an astonishing achievement.

In the first year we had just over 400 markets, in the second year 700 and last year 926. We did not announce any formal target for 2015 but secretly we hoped for 1000. To have achieved this target with more than a fortnight to go before the start is a testament to the hard work of all the Nabma team but particularly Ellie Gill, our Love Your Local Market Manager.

I hesitate to dampen all the good news about Love Your Local Market but going forward we are facing a financial crisis. In March we unexpectedly lost our major sponsor Radfords who are no longer undertaking market projects. We also reached the end of our government funding programme. The loss of these supporters means that we have to find around £34,000 to keep Love Your Local Market alive.

In the short term we are indebted to our major sponsor, Groupe Gearud (UK) Ltd, for their generous support but we need to find additional financial support as a matter of urgency. Mission for Markets continues to build momentum. We have now launched the survey forms for both traders and operators.
You can access both surveys at www. mission4markets.uk.

We are looking for 1000 market traders to return survey forms and 300 market operators. There has been an encouraging start but we still have a long way to go. The target date to return surveys is the end of May. April saw the publication of Nabma commissioned research by the Institute of Place Management and Manchester Metropolitan University on the importance of markets to town centres. Under the theme of Making Markets Matter the research listed twenty five reasons why markets are important and also looked at footfall figures from over 80 towns. A copy of the research can be downloaded from Nabma’s website at www.nabma.com. This should be compulsory reading for all market officers. Nabma has also published the first part of its Markets Manual. Thanks to the efforts of Nick Rhodes of Nabma Market Place we have an up to date list of market policies affecting markets. The Manual will be published in three parts. With the second part in September and the final part in April next year. You can download details of each markets policy from the Nabma website at www.nabma.com. We all know the importance of social media. Love Your Local Market is run almost entirely on social media. Nabma now has its own dedicated twitter feed at @Nabma_Markets. I hope many of you will join us spreading the news about markets.
Next month more news on Love Your Local Market and our approach to the new government.

Graham Wilson OBE, Chief Executive,