Chair’s Report for 2022

Chair’s Report for 2022

Happy 2023 to all our members and customers!

Here is a report on 2022 from our wonderful SFM Chair Lizzy Etheridge.

‘My 1st year as Chair has been somewhat of a learning curve,having come into the role unexpectedly,from being Vice Chair.Having said that ,it has been interesting to see how SFM has grown but also overcome a number of difficulties.

I have tried to visit all of the Markets over the past year,having been a trader up until June ,when my role changed somewhat. I have yet to visit Burnham!

We had a new Co-ordinator, Jodie, join us in January taking on the role of Co-ordinator of Axbridge and Burnham Markets supported by Louise & Hannah. She was initially a stallholder but has spread her wings! She is also the Day Manger of Axbridge too ,having been guided by Barrie,our outgoing Day Manager of some 16 years. Our thanks go to him for management of the hriving market.

Louise and I worked on the Leaflets for all the markets,searching for new photographs and making some changes to the look of the leaflet as well as changing the dates. Challenging but managed and I think with the new logo,QR Code which takes you directly to the website they look fantastic. These are widely distributed and available at all of  the Markets.

Another new addition to the SFM team has been Hugh who has taken on the role of Day Manager at Frome. This market had been in The Cheese & Grain building for 23 years but the time came to make a change. With customer numbers dwindling followed by traders retiring and pulling out a consultation and decision had to be made. So, the Market was skilfully moved by Louise,to Boyle Cross in the Market Place where so far two markets have taken place in the new venue. Watch this space.

Our Co-ordinators continue to work extremely hard to bring the detail of the Market to you each month. An awful lot goes on behind the scenes to make a market successful. Our Co-orinators go above and beyond.

Louise co-ordinates: Midsomer Norton,Keynsham,Frome Independent & Boyle Cross & Nailsea with the help of Day Mangers Markus,Hugh & Adam.

Hannah Co-ordinates Crewkerne with Ali as Day Manager.

Jodie Coordinates & Day Manages Axbridge & Burnham.

Trying to cover everything that needs to be done requires foresight and determination. Dealing with Local & County & Town Councils regarding Road Closures,Grants and Licences. A great deal of paperwork,time and chasing up,all to keep our stall fees as low as possible and the experiance of each Market ( they are all different) fresh and vibrant for stallholders and customers.

Quite often cares are left parked where the market is taking place or contractors are digging up the road close by and have diverted traffic,causing problems with agreed road closures! Recently at Burnham Jodie had to solve this particular problem,which she did admirably: the market was almost a non-satrter. A nightmare for all stallholders ,particularly for those whose produce is freshly prepared/picked for that day.

A big heads up for our Day Managers who are our people ‘on the ground’ on the day!

Canopies have caused much head scratching having lost Cliff in March who had coverered the canopies at Axbridge,Burnham and Nailsea for a lot time. Dan was recruited but left us after a few months and so we had a dilemma.

Burnham ,Nailsea and Axbridge are now canopy free. Keynsham is heading that way as Adam our other contractor requires time out for shoulder surgery and recovery. On that we wish him well. A new contractor James has come forward to help at The Frome Independent ,MSN and Boyle Cross meaning that thoses traders who require canopies can be accomodated, this is good news.

For Sale- we now have a surplus of canopies for sale,talk to us if you are interested.

Consequently we have significantly reduced SFM’s carbon footprint  by not using canopies at several of our markets saving on storage,mileage,wages, and drying.

Initially when we started ,canopies were a necessary rquirement for our stallholders ,but with the era of stall holders having their own often branded gazebos it made sense to move on.

This has enabled markets to be more viable thus reducing our costs but also has a knockon effect of keeping stall fees as low as possible,particularly  in these times when prices are ever increasing.

Farmers Markets are an opportunity to buy direct from the producer and hear the ‘Back story’ giving the customer the knowledge and information as to where  their food has come from.

I t has been great to watch our team grow and also our markets,which we as a board ,are very proud of. We are still looking to gow Crewkerne Market but Hannah has some ideas up her sleeve and is working hard,currently recruiting new traders and claryfying details of the proposed Road Closure and working with Crewkernes new sponsor Stokes Partnership.

The social media side of SFM is an extremely important part of growing our markets ,imforming the customers of which traders are expected for each market. Louise is particularly good at this and is always on hand to support and advice.

The Treasurers role of collating  figures and liaising with our Accountants is key,while the Co-ordinators liason with the Board and Day Managers ensure the smooth running on the day.

We have an amazing team of Directors ,Co-ordinators and Day Managers whose passion for SFM is visible”.