Amber Valley Borough Council is supporting the high street pandemic recovery and aims to put a smile back on people’s faces and boost retail in a regional indoor market and town centre.
The Council successfully applied for European Regional Development Fund monies from the Government, through the Re-opening the High Streets Safety Fund (RHSSF) and Welcome Back Fund (WBF).
The funding is designed to introduce temporary changes that boost the look and feel of town centres and high streets by investing in projects that help reinvigorate the retail industry in the wake of Covid-19.
Visitors to Alfreton Indoor Market are being treated to some interactive 3-D street art and a host of banners that play on some of the area’s many colloquialisms.
Messages adorn Alfreton Indoor Market on large banners displaying local phrases such as “Sit yerrsen dahn”, “Aah muchizzit?” and “Wot yer gorping at?” in an effort to bring a bit of humour to people’s shopping experience.
A giant “word cloud” heart, made up of dozens of local words and sayings also takes pride of place in the market, inviting visitors to take pictures in front of it under the phrase “Snap yerrsen ere”.
Internationally celebrated 3-D street artist Julian Beever, from Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, has been completing a temporary art installation in the market hall.
Based on a wildlife pond, people are able to walk on the artwork and, from the right angle, will appear to be part of the picture when captured on their mobile phone.
Cllr Tony Harper, regeneration portfolio holder of Amber Valley Borough Council, said: “The funding is a government initiative to support the high street and encourage shoppers and the community back to the high street and appreciate what is on their doorstep.
“The Amber Valley towns of Alfreton, Belper, Heanor and Ripley have all been making great strides to showcase the unique aspects of their town and encourage visitors to return to the high street in a safe manner and make the most of their time.
“Alfreton and its indoor market are well known for their friendly welcome and this is one way that the businesses and market traders wish to encourage visitors and celebrate the local dialect. The Street art is a unique opportunity to see this clever work and I encourage everyone to go and make a splash.”
The brains and design expertise behind the humorous banners with locally used phrases was Alfreton Indoor Market’s stallholder Phil Staveley, who runs Bloomin Bootiful with partner Stuart Jackson.
Phil said: “Everything has been so serious for the last two years, so we wanted to give people something to chuckle at.
“It’s also been created especially for and about local people. It’s a bit different, a bit tongue-in-cheek and very local.
“Combined with Julian’s amazing artwork, which is a stunning photo opportunity for everyone, we hope all this will bring some new people into the market for the first time.”
Visitors can now officially see the new installations for themselves, though Julian, Phil and the rest of the team worked tirelessly throughout last week to complete everything on time.
And this is just one of several projects that the Welcome Back Fund has supported in Amber Valley. Other projects that have been funded can be seen at https://www.ambervalley.gov.uk/community/amber-valley-open-for-business/welcome-back-fund/.
The artwork, which has been completed in acrylic paint to give it a longer lifespan than Julian’s usual chalk work, will remain in situ for a for a limited time and visitors are encouraged to visit now.
Alfreton Indoor Market Hall is open from 8.30am Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.