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Local community development group, Folktown CIC, make history challenging the 400-year-old Belfast Charter.

Belfast City Council has for 400 years owned the rights to markets in the city. However, following a campaign for change by Folktown CIC alongside other stakeholders, a new market policy now allows for independent markets to open up.

Folktown CIC will start the first independent weekly market in Belfast city centre on Thursday 16th April. Located in the newly refurbished Bank Sq, the ‘Folktown Market’ will be a farmers and artisan market with an emphasis on local produce.

“We want to connect the consumer with the producer and cut out the middle-man. We believe good nutritious food is for everybody. Our focus will be on quality at a fair price. We also wish to see this unique and historic part of Belfast come alive for the benefit of all citizens of Belfast,” Said, Sophie Rasmussen, Director of Folktown CIC.

“We believe that the Folktown Initiative and the Folktown Market, in conjunction with the recent Department for Social Development (DSD) regeneration scheme, will be key in bringing positive change to the area,” Said Andrew Irvine, City Centre Manager, BCCM.

The Folktown Market takes place in the shadow of two of the oldest churches in Belfast, Berry Street Presbyterian Church and St Mary’s Chapel. There has been great cooperation between the churches, and they have coexisted for 230 years.

“The idea of the name ‘Folktown’ came about through discussions among the local community. Folk is one of the most inoffensive words to describe community. It means music, cuisine, dance, crafts and language”, Said Joby Fox, Director, Folktown CIC.

The locals refer to this area as ‘Folktown’, which is rich in music, pubs, cuisine, arts groups, faith groups and small traders.

Background:

The Belfast Charter was granted in 1613 to Lord Chichester by James I and marked the start of the Belfast Corporation which later became Belfast City Council.

The Folktown Market is a farmers and variety market running every Thursday from 11am to 8pm. Starting 16th April with 35 stalls selling locally grown fruit and vegetables and locally made foods, and also flowers, olives, cheese, coffee, hot food and local crafts. We endeavour to work to high standards. We will give priority to first of all local and homemade and/or organic produce and products. Vendors selling fairtrade products will also be given priority. Folktown Market is supportive of the Earth Market concept and Slow Food movement and wish to implement as many of their high standards as possible.

The aim of the Folktown Market is to be a catalyst for launching the overall Folktown regeneration / revitalisation initiative, and to create a sustainable income stream for the Folktown Initiative. Any surplus is redistributed to meet the aims and objectives for regeneration set by the local community.

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