A community arts project which saw school students collaborate with market traders and St Edmundsbury Borough Council, has won a national award.
Pupils from St Benedict’s Catholic School, in Bury St Edmunds, led by local artist Lou Gridley, worked with the council to organise a market-themed community puppet parade during Love Your Love Market Fortnight, last May. Students ran a market stall offering free flag making workshops for people to wave during the parade, and returned to sell arts and crafts at two more markets.
Now the initiative has been named Best Market Event in the Great British Market Awards held by The National Association of British Market Authorities.
Councillor Alaric Pugh, St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Growth, said: “We already knew that our market is fantastic. It is one of the reasons that people come to Bury St Edmunds to shop and to enjoy their leisure time, a fact that was recognised in the town centre masterplan. So I am delighted that it has won this award.”
Lou Gridley, Community Artist-in-Residence from St Benedict’s said: “The students went above and beyond in their commitment to the community Market Project so I am delighted that this collaboration with the market and the council and school has been recognised in the Great British Market Awards. The students learnt so much from having live, contextual art experiences which included responding to a brief to design the market logo and shopping bag, designing and making giant puppets and producing a ceramic mural to celebrate our market town. As a school we have developed strong links with the market and we look to continue this throughout 2018.”
Councillor Robert Everitt, Cabinet Member for Families and Communities, added: “This was a great community partnership which created a brilliant atmosphere in the town centre with families coming along to make flags and wave them as they enjoyed the spectacular parade. I can’t wait to see what they have planned for this year.”
Market trader Darren Old who collected the award at the NABMA ceremony in Birmingham last week said: “This is a brilliant recognition of the market and the work that we do with the council and with partners including the school to try to offer something extra to the experience that our visitors enjoy when shopping on the market. The market has changed over the years but it is still going strong, its importance has been recognised and we have an active voice in helping shape the future growth of the town centre.”
Councillor Peter Stevens, Cabinet Member for Operations, said: “The success of our market is partly down to these and other events that we and our partners help organise, but of course the brilliant Bury St Edmunds market wouldn’t continue to attract shoppers to our town twice a week, if not for the hard work and dedication of the market traders themselves who turn up and set out their stalls in all weathers. So I congratulate them all on this marvellous achievement.”
The Market Project was funded by Arts Council England and further supported by Bury St Edmunds Town councillor Patrick Chung who gave locality funding, OurBuryStEdmunds and Tesco.