Traders at a popular West Cumbrian farmers’ market have been sharing the secrets of their commercial success with the mayor of Copeland Mike Starkie.
Chair of Egremont Farmers, Craft and Fair Trade Market, Helen Shipton-Smith invited the Mayor to visit the monthly market, and meet the independent traders, including Haverigg Prison where prisoners learn the art of smoking fish and meat, and the award winning produce is sold under the ARETE Enterprise - The Smokery label.
The Mayor said: “Visiting the market and talking to the stall holders has been very informative and highlights how a commercially successful enterprise can provide a quality community services to local people. There are a number of lessons we can learn from business models like this which can help the council deliver our services and support our communities.
“I was especially interested in the Haverigg Prison business, which is helping to rehabilitate offenders by giving people skills and experience they can take into their lives after prison. The money the business generates also helps reduce the cost to the tax payers. I understand the average cost per prisoner per year is £37,000. However at Haverigg that is reduced as prisoners are generating income from the business enterprise that covers part of their own costs.
“I am looking forward to finding out more about how their social enterprise works when I meet with the Governor of the prison next month.
“Having been born and bred in Egremont, I am proud to see the Market Hall being used in this way. The traders have worked hard to build up their own business and a thriving market, and have even set up a free micro bus service to pick up shoppers from as far away as Muncaster each month.
“The bottom line is that this is a viable, sustainable market that is helping to generate business and provide a retail service for local people, by local traders. I would encourage people to pay a visit to the only farmers’ market on the west coast of Cumbria.”