Sheffield Independent logo by Sheffield artist Lord Bunn

Independent Sheffield comes to town

Common People, the Sheffield community interest company (CIC) Sheffield Unchained wrote about in May, has teamed up with Sheffield City Council to host Sheffield’s second Independent’s Market in the city centre.

Tomorrow afternoon Barker’s Pool, in Sheffield city centre will be lined with around fifteen independent stalls, including The Great Gatsby, Edo Sushi, Birds Yard, Yorkshire Tee and many other independent shops and online traders. (See the full list here)

The market will be open between midday and 10pm, with independent traders selling food and drinks and buskers such as the guitarist and harmonica player Al Gordon entertaining the crowds whilst they browse.

Felicity (Flick) Hoy, director of Common People CIC said:

“The market is about making people more aware of the independents in Sheffield and the independent culture we already have in the city.”

The initiative, originally part of the council’s Summer Saturdays programme, has been broadened to include Common People under the new name Independent Sheffield.

Independent Sheffield aims to promote and strengthen independent retailers, traders and business owners in Sheffield by creating an independent community and hosting bi-monthly markets.

Flick said that they have had a particular focus on creating an awareness of independents amongst the new students in Sheffield, with Sheffield University community Enactus (Entrepreneurs in Action) hosting a stall at the market.

Sheffield Independent Flyer, designed by Jack Bendall

Sheffield Independent Flyer, designed by Jack Bendall

Independent Sheffield Cooperative

Independent Sheffield are hoping these early stages will prove successful and that more independents will join the initiative as they strive to represent them in the city. Flick explained:

“The idea is for people to realise that they need to take responsibility for the city they live in. We want to form a cooperative of independents so that everyone can have a say and we can take part in the decisions being made about our city.

“As the ‘Independent Sheffield Cooperative’ we will be able to apply for grants which all independents can take advantage of and we will be able to attend council meetings such as the residents action group SCCRAG, where we can influence what is happening in the city.”

Flick also hopes that one day the Independent Sheffield logo will become a hallmark for Sheffield independents and that the cooperative will lead to the council taking concrete measures to ensure the growth of the local economy.

She believes that the large number of corporate business in the city centre means that it is increasingly difficult for independent traders to have their say in their own community.

“For every £1 spent in a local independent, up to 70p will go back to the local economy, whereas for every £1 spent with major brands only 5p will go back to the local economy.

“We want our city to ensure the growth of our local economy through measures such as the introduction of the Bristol pound. This currency is equal value to the sterling and is used primarily between local businesses to create a thriving economy for local independent traders, with backing from the Bristol Council.

“I believe that Sheffield would really benefit from such initiatives; local artist Pete McKee could even design the Sheffield pound!”

Independent Sheffield will be holding their second market in December 2013. If you would like to be involved in future markets or other initiatives email independentsheffield@gmail.com.