THE Tameside Markets Team's ability to adapt to an ever-changing retail environment has won new recognition.
Following on from the success of being named Market Team of the Year, and having Ashton Market crowned Britain's greenest market and favourite market, they have now been shortlisted in the Innovation in Property and Asset Management category of the prestigious MJ (Municipal Journal) Awards 2020.
The team impressed the judges by showing they have their finger on the pulse of what both shoppers and traders want and expect. Additionally, they have aligned their work with the Vision Tameside project to regenerate town centres, and the council corporate plan, by focusing on areas such as health, the environment, skills, youth development and culture.
Among the team's notable successes is the establishment of a wellbeing corner in Ashton Market Hall which has proved to be a highly effective base for making health information available to shoppers.
A kids' cookery club has shown children how to make nutritional meals with ingredients bought from the market, and the use of compostable bags has led to a significant reduction in single-use plastic. Traders have signed up to the Refill scheme which allows customers to replenish water bottles for free.
The team is also in the early stages of a scheme to convert food waste into electricity by using an anaerobic digester.
As well as working closely with stallholders and other partners to continue the markets' successful operation and increase the number of shoppers, the team have encouraged young entrepreneurs and worked closely with education providers such as Tameside College to introduce students to markets and involve them in events and opportunities, such as a successful youth market.
Another draw has been the conversion of an empty stall at the back of Ashton Market Hall into a gallery. In addition to providing a new attraction for the public, it has proved very popular with local artists, resulting in a lengthy waiting list of people wishing to exhibit.
Cllr Allison Gwynne, Tameside Council's executive member for neighbourhood services, said: "I would like to congratulate the markets team on being shortlisted for this prestigious award.
"As their record of success in winning titles shows, they are at the top of their game with a full understanding of the retail environment and its changing trends. Over recent years they have continually demonstrated their ability to adapt to meet the requirements of traders and shoppers so that markets stay at the heart of our communities.
"I'm sure the team must have a very good chance of winning and I wish them all the best for October when the MJ announces its decisions at a virtual ceremony."