THE DROGHEDA Cottage Market, hosted on the first Saturday of every month at St Peter’s Church of Ireland hall on Peter Street has proved to be a runaway success – despite being just operational for 10 months. And such has been its success, it has been entered in the National Get Involved Sustainable Communities competition. The market has introduced a community feel to the many aspects of ‘growing your own’ – from the ‘Best spud in Drogheda’ to providing outlets for talented artists to show off what they do. The market makes a positive contribution to the local economy, supporting local enterprise, promoting healthy and sustainable lifestyles and serves as gathering and meeting place for people of all ages.
The Cottage Market has a fresh, vibrant and inclusive approach. It aims to assist the communities to develop from the inside out so that the town creates a market that reflects the diverse skills and interests of its local people. It works in harmony with other community initiatives towards cohesive community development and the development of grass roots enterprises. At its core are the principals of inclusivity and ‘having a go’ which encourages amateur producers/hobbyists of all ages to take part which in turn attracts a diverse range of stallholders, produce and customers.
It is commercial with a small c and Community with a capital Research began in October 2016 to establish the Cottage Market Drogheda. Focus groups were held with traders, venues explored and expert marketing advice sought. On securing St Peters Parish Hall as the indoor market space, applications were opened for a March launch. Local press got behind the initiative and on March 10th the first Cottage Market opened its doors and has run every month since.
There is an eclectic mix of stalls, 26 in all selling everything from Homemade breads ,cakes chutneys, confectionary & sauces, Home-grown veg , fruit , seedlings ,plants ,books by resident GIY stall and Hand crafted cushions, willow baskets ,skincare, up-cycled furniture, candles, textile creations, glass art, art made from pebbles , driftwood and by hand and much more. A showcase of local produce and products has been created, a place for local people to display their talents and shine. Feedback from the community has been extremely positive, demand to trade each month is great and footfall is on the increase.
The stalls include a Grow it Yourself Drogheda section, stall from which herbs, salads and sur- plus vegetables grown by the members, are sold. Over 80% of the produce for sale has been homegrown, homemade, hand crafted or locally sourced and new micro enterprises started up at the market. the market contributes to existing community initiatives by having a community stall each month, be it a youth club or a community organisation.
GIY Group members and Cottage Marketers volunteered time to set up and run market each month and they have raised over €300 for GIY Drogheda. ‘On a personal level I have truly enjoyed this venture and look forward to its future. The community that has evolved is amazing and it is great to work on a local level with like-minded people in creating something new. I am delighted to be part of this Cottage community and witness friendships develop, aid collaboration, and give local people a platform to show off their talents.
To many this is the start of something very new and the opportunities the market give to them go far beyond the trade on the day,’ Eimear Cullen from the market stated. Traders must reapply every month for a spot and this allows the organisers to keep the market fresh and inject new blood each month. ‘On any given month we can have up to 40 applications. Stall selection strives to be as creative as possible giving our community a well-balanced display of its huge talent,’ Eimear adds.