Published: 11:21, 07 June 2021
| Updated: 08:36, 09 June 2021
A new producers and craft market launches at Maidstone Market this weekend, in the latest stage of council plans to revamp a leisure centre.
The new market will be run at Lockmeadow, and will start on Saturday, and supports the "Love Your Local" campaign which aims to attract new audiences to shop at the market.
The launch day will be held from 9am until 2pm and will feature face painters, food stalls and music from the Lew Lewis Trio band. It will then run the second Saturday of every month.
A huge makeover to Maidstone council's Lockmeadow complex was announced in February, which will include the addition of a food hall, an outside terrace for al fresco dining and a children's play area and cost £900,000. The dining destination - which will be known as "Love Food at Lockmeadow" - is due to open this autumn.
Cllr Fay Gooch (Ind), the Mayor of Maidstone, will be attending the event at the location off Barker Road.
"I am delighted to see this new initiative being introduced at Maidstone Market," she said.
"The past 12 months or so have proved how important our local producers are to our communities, and the local producers and craft market is a perfect opportunity for us all to show our support by shopping there.
"Markets have changed through the years and audiences are looking for more authentic shopping experiences from local makers, which this will provide.
"It is another great example of how Maidstone is open for business and I look forward to seeing as many people as possible there this Saturday."
Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) runs the markets and is offering free stalls to new producers and craft makers from June until September to help get it established.
MBC market manager, Jeff Robinson, said: “We are looking forward to launching this new element to the existing market.
"It will have its own home in the market hall and we are looking forward to welcoming new stall holders and offering free stalls to new producers and crafters between June until September.
“If anyone has re-kindled their crafts or hobbies during lockdown and are looking to try selling them in person, please get in touch, this new market could be the perfect platform.
“We still have a very loyal following at the existing market, but as with markets across the UK, footfall has declined and we want to bolster the existing market, while bringing something fresh and exciting to attract new audiences.”
The council say approximately 20 to 25 people have signed up to take stalls, offering a range of products like candles, cards, knitwear, baked goods, handmade bows and bunting.
Among those to have signed up are Checiegirl Creations, Roughway Farm and Doorstops Delivery.
If you are interested in an introductory free pitch at the market, email Mr Robinson on email@example.com.