Community Market - the early years
In 2007 the Ferintosh Community Council was approached by Hazel Gordon with the request that consideration be given to the setting up of a Community Market in Culbokie. Hazel was working with an organisation FINDS and had been cooperating with Inverness High School who had set up a scheme called REAL whereby pupils would grow vegetables and sell them through Community Markets which was where Hazel came in. (Images can be viewed by clicking on them and also they can be viewed in the Gallery below.)
A sub-committee was formed and with the co-operation of the Findon Hall management committee and after much planning and publicity the first Market was held on Saturday 17th May 2008 supported by REAL.
Following the success of the initial markets it was decided to employ a manager and the following Job Description was prepared and circulated with the result that Kirsty Shaw took on the role and continued until 2016.
REAL continued to give the Market a strong presence in the Community whilst being involved with markets in Evanton and Strathpeffer. Around this time Transition Black Isle became involved in the setting up of markets in Cromarty and North Kessock that continue to this day.
2009 saw the Market celebrate its first birthday with plenty of publicity appearing in the local press.
Unfortunately the many photographs that were taken to show the atmosphere of the Markets have been lost but the four shown below were 'rescued' from a print out of pages from the Moray Firth Partnership website which used to host the Community Council website.
With increasing confidence in the contribution that was being made to Community life it was decided that an application would be made for consideration for the Partnerships for Success Awards 2009 being sponsored by Williamsons Foodservice Highlands & Islands Food and Drinks Awards 2009. The documentation to support our application for the Innovation Award, which was sponsored by Scotland Food and Drink is shown below.
We were successful in being short-listed for the finals and we were able to announce at the Christmas Market that we were runners-up and shared the success with other regular stall-holders in the Market.
2009 proved to be a busy year with various organisations taking the opportunity to raise funds, either by booking a table or supplying the refreshments. This gives us the chance to draw attention to a very loyal supporter of the Market, Anne Chance, who was an original stall holder at the first Market and continues to the present (2023).
October 2010 brought the news that REAL had had to cease trading and supporting the Community Markets and so the search was on for a replacement supplier of vegetables and for a few years that role fell to Rhys Kennedy of Culbokie.
Following the upheaval caused by the demise of REAL the Community Council decided in February 2011 to conduct a customer survey, the results are available below in the Gallery.
As can be seen the results were very encouraging but confirmed that the absence of fresh vegetables was a concern which continues into 2023.
The next milestone to be celebrated was the 5th Anniversary in 2013.
The Market continued to make progress and then in 2016 Kirsty announced her intention to resign and this prompted the Community Council, whilst seeking a new organiser to suggest that, perhaps, another organisation would be interested in taking responsibility for running the Market.