The challenges facing local markets was high on the agenda as Stockton Council hosted a 'Mission for Markets' roadshow yesterday (Wednesday 11 March).
Representatives from the National Association of British Market Authorities and the National Market Traders Federation, alongside several market operators and traders from across the North East, were welcomed to the newly regenerated Stockton High Street and given a tour of the market by Councillor Mike Smith.
A conference was also held in the Jim Cooke Conference Suite at Stockton Central Library, where the current state of the markets industry and its future prospects were discussed as the two leading organisations presented on how they hope to be able to help market operators and traders face the future with greater confidence.
Councillor Mike Smith, Stockton Council's Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport, said: "We were delighted to welcome NABMA to Stockton as one of the venues for their Missions for Markets events. This follows on from our success in winning the Great British Market Award last year so it was a fantastic opportunity to be able to show them at first-hand just how vibrant and popular our markets are.
"Stockton is a town with a strong markets heritage and that's why we are further developing what our markets offer through both the traditional market and our extensive programme of specialist markets.
"Whatever it is you're looking for - you're likely to find it at one of Stockton Borough's bustling markets and as part of Stockton Town Centre's transformation, the iconic 700 year old traditional market has been relocated to the heart of the town so why not pay it a visit?"
Graham Wilson OBE, Chief Executive of the National Association of British Market Authorities, said: "Both NABMA and the National Market Traders Association are delighted to bring one of the Mission for Market Roadshows to Stockton.
"The market here has been a focal point of the town for many years and it is great to see the work being done to ensure a successful market in the future.
"Stockton Market is clearly a place of innovation and ideas and we were delighted to recognise this recently with the Great British Market Award for the best Love Your Local Market event in 2014."
Stockton High Street is hosting a free special celebration event, after its multimillion pound redevelopment, on Saturday 21 March. It will feature fun events for families, street entertainment and live music before the 'giant reveal' of the new High Street at 1pm.
For more information on this unique event and to view Stockton Council's specialist markets programme, visit www.rediscoverstockton.co.uk