“A world full of people in our city”
The Folk Town initiative was founded on the vision that emerged from discussions among the community. Our vision is to celebrate and promote the rich heritage, shared past and our shared future in one of the most unique and oldest parts of Belfast.
Our mission is to: Regenerate and re-image Belfast’s Folk Town (Castle St, King St, Berry St, Marquis St, Bank Sq and Chapel Ln) area through the provision of community based cultural events (market, festival, art work, etc) to encourage inclusion of an emerging diversity of cultures and tradition, thereby encouraging community involvement, increasing footfall, tourism and trade in the area”
The Folk Town initiative is run by Folk Town Community Interest Company, a social enterprise, not-for-profit, and it’s steering committee comprising local churches, pubs, restaurants, businesses, youth and arts organisations. Any surplus generated through our projects is channeled back into the regeneration of the area. The local community decide where best to spend the resources. We aim to generate funds for our regeneration plans along with an invaluable and ever-increasing social capital.
Folktown Community Interest Company is working to regenerate one of the oldest and most fascinating parts of Belfast city centre. The community in this small area which is made up of small traders, arts organisations, churches, pubs, restaurants and residents, have named the area Folktown to capitalise on its thriving music and arts scene along with its great heritage.
By producing high quality cultural events (markets, festivals, guided tours, etc) we can attract more shoppers and visitors, which in turn will help the businesses grow, generate wealth and create jobs. In the long term we hope this will bring scope for more businesses to set up in the area and also bring much needed investment.
The positive use of the area through our events will also help us generate funds for further regeneration, changing the appearance of the area and making it safer for all to use and enjoy.
Why support us?
The local community is keen to address social and economic issues in the area such as the lack of footfall, empty shop units and flats, dereliction and anti-social behaviour, using Folktown CIC and the market as a vehicle. At our meetings the steering committee has expressed the wish for regular activities that can help address these issues positively and cost-effectively, and it has concluded that a weekly market place would be the best catalyst comparing with other markets and regeneration projects in UK.
The benefits of a market for the community and local economy are substantial. It will help bring life into the area and the city, aiding regeneration. It will encourage social interaction between rural and urban communities, and increase community development by generating social capital. It will stimulate local economic development by increasing employment, encouraging consumers to support local businesses, and thus keeping the money within the local community. It will attract business to retailers in the vicinity (£1 spent in a market stall :£1.75 spent in surrounding outlets), and it will attract new visitors and tourists, and contribute to a reduction in crime by making the area safer through its positive animation creating a shared and vibrant space for all to enjoy.