Brixton’s traders old and new join the Love Your Local Market campaign

Irene Kelly meets young entrepreneur Curtis Green
Irene Kelly meets young entrepreneur Curtis Green

Love Your Local Market campaign is a week-long festival celebrating Brixton’s markets, its people and products. It’s part of a nationwide campaign and Brixton is competing to be number one.

Love Your Local Market (LYLM) launches on Friday 26 May with a ‘VIP’ Breakfast. Local dignatories, politicians and celebrities will rub shoulders with shoppers and traders. “Family-friendly” fun includes live entertainment from around the world, face painting, guided heritage tours, plus discounts and giveaways across all five markets (Electric Avenue, Popes Road, Brixton Station Road, Brixton Village & Market Row).

Organisers say they hope the campaign will reignite Brixton’s market culture and encourage young and aspiring entrepreneurs to work alongside Brixton’s veteran traders.

Young traders like Curtis Green, 22 (right), will take his streetwear brand MouseTrap London to the market for the first time alongside cancer survivor, turned artist Audrey Williams. Irene Kelly, 90, will be on hand to show them the ropes. “Queen of the Market” Irene’s family have been trading in Brixton since 1870. Solomon Smith of Brixton Soup Kitchen will also be launching his new Brixton Jerk sauce.

As well as showcasing market traditions, some traders will be trialling  iZettle Readers (a card and contactless payment system).

 Irene Kelley, 90

“I’ve been on this stall for about 70 years, with my mum, dad and grandparents and I’m still here with my son, David, but not every day as I had an accident. It actually helps me to be on the stall now and again, it’s great therapy as it keeps me moving”

Her advice to young traders: “Don’t forget your tea!” It’s great to see young people joining the trade. But I’m not sure they’ll like the long hours!”

Her son David Kelley adds:  “Persevere. Don’t give up on the first hurdle”

Irene Kelley with Curtis Green

Curtis Green, 22:
“I’ll definitely have my ears open… I’m like a sponge and like to learn. I have an older peer who has already built a successful fashion company and so I appreciate advice from older people.

“I’ll bring new energy and charisma to the market.  I don’t think the older generation are that clued up on social media, so I can also share ideas about how to use social media. I’m not an expert, but I know enough.”

Audrey Williams a trader and artist
Audrey Williams

Audrey Williams, 60

Cancer survivor, Audrey Williams, 60, was offered redundancy from John Lewis due to sickness and 8 operations. She turned her hobby of drawing and painting into a small business selling her artwork with the help of Tree Shepherd. Her beautiful work features prominent black figures and African animals, sells cards and prints.
In recent plans to boost London’s markets, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said, “I’m a proud Londoner and a proud Englishman who has grown up with traditional street markets. Markets are deeply woven into the tapestry of English culture and nowhere is that more true than here in London. They are far more than a place to do your shopping – they are places where people meet and talk.”

The Market Traders Federation supported by Tree Shepherd are offering stalls on Brixton Station Road to community based artists, craft folk, makers and designers at bargain taster rates. Young people are particularly welcome to test their entrepreneurial skills on a stall. Fees: Friday – Wednesday £15 per day, Tuesday and Wednesday: £10. Minimum 3 days booking. Book all 6 days and receive £10 off.  To apply, email: lydia@treeshepherd.org.uk

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