We are still basking in the success of our recent One Day Conference. The feedback from delegates was very positive and clearly Birmingham is a very popular venue. Next year’s event is already booked for the 28th January 2016.

While Penny Mordaunt, Minister for High Street and Markets, was unable to be with us in person she sent a video message and announced a government funding package to undertake some work on assessing the economic impact made by markets on their local communities. This is great news and will be an important part of the building blocks in producing Mission for Markets.

Six markets have volunteered to take part in the government funded package and they will be working with ROI, who have partnered Nabma on evaluating LYLM, to produce some initial findings by the middle of March.

An important part of the project will be a toolkit to help every market carry out its own assessment of how the market is performing and the economic impact it makes on the local community. Mentioning toolkits reminds me that as part of the Mission for Markets Roadshows we announced the launch of another toolkit to assist in the creation of new community markets. This is another government funded project and provides a simple guide, and supporting documentation, on the important steps that are needed to start a new market.

By the time this article is published we will only have days left of the government’s term of office but the work has already started on preparing to engage with the new government. Based on recent experience governments led by both Labour and Conservatives are equally supportive of markets so we are optimistic that the current level of support will continue. One thing we need to engage the new government about is the proposed new legislation on pedlars and street traders.

We had a presentation at the One Day Conference about recent discussions with BIS and subsequent to Conference BIS announced that the new legislation would not be enacted until at least October. This means we have a further chance to influence the outcome. Watch out for further details in early summer.

We are already held two Mission for Markets Roadshows at Ashton Under Lyne and Bridport and it is great to network with market operators, traders and other stakeholders about the challenges facing markets. There are still other Roadshows in March at Cambridge, Stockton and Newcastle Under Lyme and we would be delighted to see you there.

Full details are available from the Nabma website at www.nabma.com

One of Nabma’s key objectives is to help members operate their markets in the most effective way and one of the most popular issues in recent months has been the issue of erecting and dismantling stalls. Many markets are finding their current arrangements are imposing a substantial financial burden on their operating costs and are looking for more cost effective alternatives.

Nabma has been able to identify a number of contractors and provide our members with potential alternatives. If anyone has other suggestions I would be happy to hear from them. Another very busy month but I would not have it any other way.

Who said the beginning of the year is the quiet time for markets? They certainly didn’t work for Nabma.

Graham Wilson OBE, Chief Executive,NABMA