Q3 2020

19 | Q3 2020 Aug20327 Bolstering Marketplaces With Youthful Vigour The Teenage Market initiative comes from humble beginnings and is seeking to revitalise the art of the local market up and down the country. Beginning in Stockport in April 2012, the Teenage Market sought to attract young people to the local market. Since then, over 300 events have been carried out over 40 locations, supporting thousands of young people. When you think about the local town market, chances are you picture an older generation standing behind stalls, selling fruit and veg or handmade garments. In fact, it is thought that over 70% of market traders are over the age of 50. It is an ageing and dying tradition. Teenagers and young people naturally exhibit a youth, vigour and vibrancy that could save the local market, and giving them the opportunity to join in is revitalising the industry. Joe Barratt got involved after figures published back in February 2012 stated that Stockport had the highest number of empty shops of any town across the country. Over a third of highstreet shops, the ones which should have seen the highest footfall in the town, stood closed and empty. The idea behind the first Teenage Market event was to inject creativity and culture into the local market. It set out to make a creative space where teens could sell products that they had made themselves, showcase their skills to an audience, and collaborate with other young people. Markets traditionally are community spaces. The only issue is that the community hasn’t developed with the times. The biggest competitors are online retail and out-of-town shopping centres, but neither of these can bring the sense of community and social experience that is the sole benefit of on-the-street trading. By encouraging young people and giving them the opportunity to shine, the Teenage Market aimed to return that element, and that is exactly what they did. The 21st Century hasn’t been kind to the local market. Up and down the country, interest in market-square shopping is faltering, as big corporations and out-of-down shopping centres steal customers. Standing in the way of this decline is Joe Barratt and Market Innovations Ltd with the Teenage Market, injecting a much-needed dose of youth and culture into the heart of our towns. The first event in Stockport attracted over 70 entrepreneurial young people, many of whom were already trading online, and succeeded in bringing thousands of visitors back into the town centre. Colour, energy, and vibrance returned to the local market and products made and designed by young people were sold to a multi-generational customer base. There were local bands playing, dance groups, and comedians all performing in order to generate a festival atmosphere. Since that first event in 2012, the Teenage Market has received the same positive response to events in locations across the country. The challenge hasn’t been in finding teens eager enough to join in as might be expected, but in convincing local authorities that it is a worthwhile investment in the first place. However, success breeds success, and the incredible triumphs that the Teenage Market have seen in the past is helping them continue to spread. The gaps between the generations seem to be getting wider. CBI/Pearson Education and Skills Annual Report surveyed over 28,000 businesses and found that 44% of businesses were not satisfied with the preparedness for work of young people and 38% felt that broader skills such as communication were lacking. With a school system that is heavily biased towards academic learning and missing vital work skill education, innovations like the Teenage Market are bridging the gap. The experience has led to a multitude of young people crediting it with building their skills and creating opportunities that hadn’t existed for them before. Teenagers are our future, and it is to be commended that the Teenage Market is helping to build their eagerness and skills while using their vibrancy and culture to invigorate our markets. Company: Market Innovations Ltd / The Teenage Market Contact: Joe Barratt Website: www.theteenagemarket.co.uk