The Urban Park has been for many years, ever since the development of Fairfield, an area of land looking for a useful purpose. Four years ago, in Spring 2018, it was landscaped – with wildflowers planted around the benches, a raised platform built for performances and events, and a ‘market area’ screened off in one corner. Since then this formerly unloved space has slowly begun to take on the role of a ‘village green’.
Important events such as the First World War centenary commemorations, Remembrance Days and Christmas carol services have all used the space to great effect, and during the week, food outlets now take up residence (albeit usually only one at a time): crepes, pizzas, fish (with and without chips!), pies, street food and coffees can all be enjoyed on different days, with pop-ups of other food stalls also appearing from time to time.
Saturday 2 April saw the advent of a something new: a community market. Notwithstanding the delicious array of diet-busting cakes provided by the Fairfield WI and one local business serving mouth-watering Indian snacks, food wasn’t the main event here; instead, local businesses of all types were invited to set up stalls and show their wares.
Fairfield boasts quite an array of home- and locally based businesses – from hobby crafters to serious entrepreneurs, but none of them are necessarily well known by other residents outside their circle of friends. The idea of a community market was to draw them out into the open and show them off in all their variety. At this first event, chutneys, cosmetic and wellness products, arts and crafts were all on show and for sale, and although this only represents a small sample of Fairfield’s entrepreneurial offerings, it was a positive start.
Alongside this, Fairfield Community Hall had a stall showing off many of the groups who run activities there (and even brought a table tennis table along), the Parish Councilors were on hand to offer advice, hear local concerns and above all just introduce themselves – and there was a police presence (in the best possible way), delighting the youngsters with a chance to sit in a squad car and hear the siren as well as advising residents on security and safety matters.
Many people ventured out to see what was on offer in spite of the chilly morning, and it is hoped that this kind of market could become a regular event in Fairfield, growing over time and giving local enterprises a local venue in which to highlight their goods and services.