Become a Norwich Market stallholder

A project has been launched to help people set up as market traders. Evening News reporter DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP talks to stallholders in about their experiences on Norwich's famous city centre market.

It may be another cold morning on Norwich Market but as long as the rain and wind hold off for trader Malcolm Snelling, he will be happy.

'You get used to the cold weather. It's just the rain and wind that put people off coming out,' he said.

The fish stall M&P Snelling was established in 1918 and Mr Snelling has worked on the stall for the last 50 years, after it was passed down from his grandfather.

Mr Snelling acknowledges that some days can be harder than others but said: 'I wouldn't change it for anything really. I've been doing it for years now.

'It's different being outside, it's not like shop work.'

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Wanting to make people aware of the potential of owning a market stall, a new national scheme is offering people the chance to become their own boss by advising them how to be market traders.

Created by the National Market Traders Federation (NMTF) the scheme aims to help create jobs for the unemployed and those faced with redundancy, as a result of government cut backs, particularly in the private sector.

Mr Snelling is faced daily with the realities of working on a market and said: 'It could be a good thing. If there's a chance for people to take advantage of a training scheme like that, then it can only be for the best to help people get a job or stay in work.'

Bob Hines, chairman of the Norwich Market Traders Committee, believes it will only work if the idea behind the business is strong.

'I think if you've got the right business and idea then this is a good way of starting, definitely, but it's got to be something original, a new idea, fresh and unusual,' he said.

Backed by the government, this is the first ever national training scheme for would-be market traders to make entrepreneurs aware that setting up a stall on a retail market can be a successful way of starting a business.

NMTF First is available to everyone at a cost of �100 and, in return, users are given a folder made up of bite-size modules and guides and also further guidance in the form of a NMTF membership.

Joe Harrison, NMTF chief executive, said: 'The guides and the modules take them through and around the pitfalls that are there for new market traders, and it guides them through the aspects of starting up in business, which will keep them there for a considerable length of time. That's the rational behind it.

'The research and development of this project has been done by researching current market traders who have been in business for an average of 16 and a half years. We haven't guessed at this.'

The modules will look at finding a niche in the market, customer interactions, displaying products, locations to trade in and sustaining a business.

Mr Harrison said: 'No stone has been left unturned in developing this project. Becoming a market trader is creating a job not taking a job and we believe that markets have a place in the future just as strong as they've had a place in the UK's past.'

For more information call NMTF on 01226 352813