Aldworth Saturday Market (ASM) will be celebrating fifteen years of success on Saturday 9th September. Here is the story of how this happened.
Aldworth Saturday Market was founded when Aldworth’s long-established and much-loved village shop and post office closed in August 2002.
Before the shop closed a local couple delivered a questionnaire to all one hundred households in Aldworth asking if villagers wanted a regular meeting place and/or community shop, and if so, asking for ideas and offers of help.
The questionnaires returned to the village shop showed there was a real demand for some sort of regular “Shop and Chat” facility and a proposal to set this up was brought to the Parish Council. As a result, the Village Hall was agreed as the venue for a weekly Saturday non-profit making market and social meeting place. The market would be organised by a committee and staffed by village volunteers.
Within a fortnight of the village shop closing, the Aldworth Saturday Market opened on the morning of Saturday 14th September 2002 and has continued to be open for business each Saturday for 15 years. Even the old Village Hall being demolished in 2015 did not stop the Market – instead we moved into the Church and ran the Market from there for seven months while the new Village Hall was being built!
Aldworth Saturday Market is a friendly place for villagers to meet up for a chat, to share news, spread information and discuss local issues. It provides a local shopping facility plus a venue for villagers to display and sell their own produce or crafts. The Market has made a huge difference to the lives of villagers, especially those living alone or without transport. It offers a safe and welcoming place for villagers of all ages – children love the tuck shop counter with its penny sweets!
So what does the Market offer? We sell every week:
- Newspapers, bread, eggs and stamps;
- Fresh fruit and vegetables collected from a local supplier;
- Sweets and Fairtrade groceries;
- Homemade cakes, pies and biscuits baked in Aldworth;
- Cut flowers and plants grown in Aldworth (seasonable);
- Handmade greeting cards sold in aid of the Church;
- Plus, most importantly, refreshments at the Teabar with tables set out in the Hall for villagers to get together and have a chat.
Stallholders from other villages also visit the Market on a regular basis, selling produce such as home-made quiches, jams and pickles, and perennial garden plants; and craft items such as hand-knitted children’s clothes and toys, and scarves and bags.
The Market has a rota of volunteers who help to set-up and run the Market each week and most volunteers help out in some way about once a month. It is an excellent way to get involved in the village and get to know your neighbours. ASM gives a village teenager a paid Saturday Job too and welcomes young people helping in any way they can.
ASM has also added to Aldworth’s social events calendar. The ASM Committee organise an annual Birthday Fair in September with free birthday cake for all customers plus an annual Christmas Bazaar & Turkey Tasting with free mulled wine for the adults and a visit from Father Christmas with sweets for the children. ASM invites local schools, groups, and charities to visit and run stalls on these special occasions and on other Saturdays throughout the year. Our special events attract, entertain and involve the whole community as well as visitors from neighbouring villages.
Further details visit the website or contact Kathy 01635 578090 or Julie 01635 579344.