Together with the £30,000 already pledged by the Mayor of London, appeal organiser Bob Burstow, secretary of the Barnet Town Team, hopes he can close the gap by securing extra pledges between now and the appeal deadline of 25 September.
If the target can be reached – and so far around £2,000 has been pledged in individual donations – the market would be held for a trial period of 12 months, and would be staged in the bandstand area outside Waitrose supermarket.
The teenage market -- offering local students and teenagers the chance to run their own stalls, stage events and promote their own music -- would follow on after the end of Barnet’s traditional Saturday market, running for three hours, possibly from 4pm to 7pm.
Mr Burstow launched the crowd-funding campaign on the back of a promise by the Mayor, Sadiq Khan, to kick start a range of projects across the capital.
The £10,000 pledge by Hunter Asset management, which operates the Spires, would provide a year’s funding for staffing costs, including riggers, cleaning and security, as well as stall hire charges.
“The Spires’ pledge is tremendous news, and with the £30,000 from the Mayor, we are now within touching distance of reaching the £56,000 target for pledges by the 25 September deadline.
Teenage markets are a big hit, with 50 to 60 being held regularly across the country, but there’s currently only one in London
“As a Town Team, we can now go out with confidence and approach High Street shops, traders and other businesses to ask for their support. Top of the list are local estate agents, banks and other multiples and we hope they’ll do their bit.
“Teenage markets are a big hit, with 50 to 60 being held regularly across the country, but there’s currently only one in London, in Well Lane, Hackney, and this would give the youngster of Barnet a show case to promote their interests, present their kind of music and give them a taste of entrepreneurship.”
Barnet and Southgate College and the University of Hatfield have both expressed “growing enthusiasm” for the idea, and there is strong support from the Reverend Eugene Hanshaw, curate at St John’s church, who is youth worker for the Barnet parish.
“The importance of a project like this for young people in Barnet is that it would be an opportunity for them to showcase their skills and tastes.
“In the year that I’ve been in Barnet, I’ve realise we do need to do more to encourage teenagers to take a pride in where they live. Giving them a stake, by creating what would be their own space, would help develop that sense of community.” said the Reverend Hanshaw.
Mr Burstow said that the £56,000 start-up for the first year’s operation of the teenage market would allow the purchase of stalls, lighting, staging, café tables and chairs, and meet the other running costs. In future years, awnings might be purchased to provide cover in case of rain.
Local schools, including QE Girls’ School and Totteridge Academy, have promised support, along with Barnet College, and the long-term aim would be to create events that could be organised around the market.
“A teenage market would give local youngsters a regular outlet so that they could develop skills in retail and the music business. Who knows, the Town Team might sponsor a town competition for the Barnet young entrepreneur of the year.
“A late afternoon/early evening Saturday market, once a month, would fit in with the plans of the Spires’ manager, Shaun Wall, to make more use of the bandstand area, perhaps with pop-up food stalls.
“We also know that this could become a showcase for local talent, as both the Susi Earnshaw Theatre School and the Al Pascal studios are keen for their performers and bands to get involved.
“We just hope that Barnet seizes this opportunity and that can only be done if as many people as possible make a financial pledge. £2 is the minimum pledge – so that’s not a lot to ask,” said Mr Burstow.