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East Midlands Chamber News

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New businesses which want a helping hand can now apply to have a stall on Ilkeston market under the Fanstastic Fridays scheme.

Last month The Ilkeston Town Team, made up of organisations including enterprise agency Erewash Partnership, the borough council, the town’s Chamber of Trade and business professionals, won £10,000 of Government cash for the innovative scheme.

The money is from a pot made available to places which were unsuccessful in attracting a share of £1m under a project led by ‘Queen of Shops’ Mary Portas to rejuvenate town centres.

Fantastic Fridays will start on January 25. Start-up businesses will be offered a pitch to sell their products, backed up by support from the town team, using various promotional schemes such as marketing through brochures and website www.ilkeston.biz, banners and even special bags.

With Friday markets traditionally having fewer traders, it is hoped the scheme will make the market more vibrant and bustling and have a spin-off effect with people also visiting nearby shops.

The Fantastic Fridays will be held on the last Friday of each month, except December.

Each one will be loosely themed to certain products and services, so the first one will be Feel Good Friday, the one in October will be Frightening Friday and the next one Firework Friday. Events will be arranged for each market as a way of attracting shoppers.

Paul Calladine, project manager for the Partnership, who will operate the scheme with council markets officer Leslie Reason, said: “The town centre team hopes that Feel Good Friday will set the tone and that each market will, in turn, make the town centre a Fantastic Friday for businesses and shoppers alike.”

It is hoped that when stallholders become established they will consider opening a shop in the town centre, making it an even better shopping destination.

All the dates, information and application forms for stalls are on the new town team website www.ilkestontownteam.co.uk.

Application forms for stalls, which will be rent-free, should be returned to Paul Calladine at the Erewash Partnership, The Old Police Station, Wharncliffe Road, Ilkeston, DE5 5GF.