Cliftonville Farmers Market celebrates its 21st anniversary this weekend.
The market was first set up in 2001 as a ‘trail’ but more than two decades later it is still thriving at its new base on Walpole Green.
The venture was created by June and Keith Chadband and the Cliftonville Residents Association and formerly took place on The Oval Lawns and Bandstand.
June, who still organises the event with help from volunteers and family, said: “We are one of the longest running farmers’ markets in Kent. Wye, was established in 1999, Rochester & West Malling in 2000, both run by councils and Cliftonville in September 2001.
“I think I am right in saying, that we are the oldest community run market in the county.
“We are not a CIC, we are just a constituted residents’ group of 26 years, working for the community and we give our time for free.
“In 2001, when Cliftonville Residents Association decided to have a trial to run a food, drink and plants market for the community, little did we think that we would still be running it 21 years later!
“We decided to call it Cliftonville Farmers’ Market and picked the last Sunday of the month. Along the way we have been awarded nine prestigious awards, being voted ‘Best in Kent’ on four occasions in ‘Taste of Kent Awards’, two with Kent Life ”Farmers’ Market of the Year’ with the last being 2019, just before the pandemic and three ‘Pride in Thanet’ awards.
“To say we are proud of all these accolades, would be an understatement, after all we are just a community group.
“For 20 of those years until August last year, we held the market on the Oval Lawns and stored all our equipment in the toilet block storeroom.
“After the Community Asset Transfer in July last year, and then the August market cancellation, we realised that we would have to find a new home.
“Our first market on the Walpole Bay Lawns, was held for the 20th anniversary last September and we thank two Cliftonville East Councillors for their help in ensuring this event went ahead, with one in particular who helped make it happen Cllr Cedric Towning.
“After negotiating with TDC we have continued on this site, The Walpole Bay Lawns behind the Walpole Hotel.
“The CRA, would like to thank my sons Fraser and Matthew, my grandsons Callum and Jordan and another helper Gary, for setting up the market each month. It would not be able to run without their help, especially now that our equipment has to be transported from its new storage garage.
“Thank you to committee members, Maureen and Hazel who run our stall selling free range eggs and honey, the wonderful stallholders, with Dickie our veg stallholder, being with us since day one. Thanks to Daran for running our social media, but most important of all thanks to you, our loyal shoppers, who have supported us throughout the 21 years, no matter what has been thrown at us.
“A very special thank you, to my late husband Keith Chadband, who passed away in 2017 and was the driving force of our association. It is with his enormous help over the years that we continued with the market and everything else that we held on the Oval Lawns up to last July.
“For three hours, on the last Sunday of each month, the community old and young, children, babies, and dogs, are brought together, to meet up, chat, shop, picnic and support the artisans and small businesses. You could not ask for anything more heart-warming!”
Cliftonville Farmers Market takes place this Sunday (September 25) at Walpole Bay Lawns from 10am to 1pm. There will be more than 40 stalls on offer.