A fund well over the original appeal target of £56,000 is now available to finance the opening of a monthly market offering local students and teenagers the chance to run their own stalls and stage events.
Appeal organiser Bob Burstow, secretary of the Barnet Town Team, has been bowled over by their success in raising the £26,000 needed to qualify for the £30,000 already pledged by the Mayor of London.
The challenge now is to build on the generosity of local donors and make the next leap. We have found the money, but now we need to see pupils at the local schools, colleges and universities getting involved, seizing this opportunity.
“We’ve seen how the arrival of H&M is boosting footfall in the Spires and the Town Team is confident that an attractive, well-supported teenage market could have the same kind of impact.”
Mr Burstow acknowledges there is a lot to do. The proposed site of the new market is the area around the bandstand outside Waitrose, and the initial plan is to hold a Saturday monthly market – possibly from 4pm to 7pm -- for a trial period of a year.
“All these arrangements have to tied down before we can start investing in new stalls, staging, café seating, weather proofing and everything else we will need.
“We have the means to finance the market, we can provide the infra structure, but the crunch point is making sure that we get support and interest from school pupils and from students at Barnet and Southgate College and the Universities of Middlesex and Hertfordshire.
“We hope, for example, that either Barnet College or one of the universities might want to manage one of the monthly markets.
If we can get real engagement, and if the trial succeeds, we could build on the market by establishing an award for the young Barnet entrepreneur of the year.
“But we do want some definite involvement because we need to see that commitment before we spend any money, and we must make that investment before March next year, otherwise we lose the £30,000 promised by the Mayor of London.”
Mr Burstow is anxious for a big “thank you” to go out to the anonymous donors who stumped up over £3,000 on top of the £10,000 from Hunter Asset management and £5,000 from both Barnet College and Barnet Council.
So far, the amount raised exceeds the £56,000 appeal by well over £1,000 and donations are still arriving.
The money has been lodged in a dedicated teenage market bank account of which three members of the Town Team are the trustees.
Full details will soon be available on a new website for the Barnet teenage market.