AN estimated 500 people descended on Cudworth last week to visit the village’s first Christmas market.
Organised by Cudworth Businesses and Community Together, a group of volunteer shop holders and shoppers, the event took place in the Co-op car park off Barnsley Road and aimed to boost footfall in the centre of the village.
There were stalls selling food, drink and crafts, and a Santa’s grotto.
Organiser Chris Fox said: “It was a great success and it’s something we will use as a foundation for future events. It was hard work, especially planning it, but the market went really well and we achieved what we set out to do - increase the numbers of shoppers.
“We reckon around 500 people visited and it had a knock-on effect on Barnsley Road’s other shops as it was much busier. We handed out more than 300 selection boxes to children over the course of the day and they seemed to really enjoy themselves.
“We haven’t been formed long but it shows what can be achieved if we come together. It all helps to make Cudworth a better place to trade and visit, so it’s about linking shops together and having everyone involved going forward.”
The group will continue to meet every month in 2018, with the aim of putting more community events on, as well as next year’s Christmas market.
“It will return next year as Saturday’s market showed us how popular it could be in the future,” Chris said. “The last few months have been a real learning curve but we’ll learn from it.
“As ever, we would love more businesses and shoppers to get involved in what we are doing and would love to hear their thoughts. They are very much welcome to attend our meetings and we want to help shape Cudworth’s future with their help.
“Lots of businesses have already supported us and Saturday’s market could not have been possible without their help.”
The market came just weeks after the shopping area was rocked by two closures - Four Seasons Fruit and Veg and Be Fitness - and it was hailed as a positive by Coun Charlie Wraith.
“It was great to see just how many people came out for the event - many attended and everyone looked to be having a great time,” he said. “There’s been a bit of negativity in the centre recently but this was a big positive for Cudworth and the group behind it have done some excellent work in recent months.”
Barnsley Council’s principle towns scheme, which is aiming to boost out-of-town shopping areas such as Cudworth as a knock-on effect of Barnsley town centre’s ongoing regeneration work, is something the group will now focus on in the coming months.
Chris said: “We’re lucky that we have quite a good selection of shops already, but the Principle Towns project is definitely something we want to play a part in. It is aiming to improve the centre of Cudworth to encourage people to shop locally, which is exactly what our ethos has been.
“Hopefully with that in the pipeline and more meetings, we will start to see more positives for both businesses and shoppers in the village.”
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