Why Better Sundays: The importance of markets to Bristol

Better Sundays is an ethical market, a place for sustainable local traders to sell their excellent wares and for shoppers to find beautiful products.  

But it’s also part of something bigger. We’re proud to be supporting Bristol’s post-Covid recovery, helping bring people back to the high streets.  

To explain more, here’s the story of how we came to be and the impact the market is having on the city.

Love our High Street in Bristol

The City Centre and High Streets Recovery and Renewal Culture and Events programme was launched in April to provide funding to support free events and activities in the city centre this summer. This is funded by Bristol City Council and the West of England Combined Authority’s Love our High Street project to help the city centre and high streets as we recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Bristol City Council engaged with businesses and members of the public to identify issues, priorities, ideas and suggestions. Feedback was used to create an action plan for the city centre, including Broadmead. 

As part of this action plan Tabitha Clayson Culture & Events Development Officer, working with Broadmead Business Improvement District (BID), had the idea of bringing a market to Broadmead. Through developing The Frome Independent market, she’d seen first-hand that markets are a great stepping stone for small businesses to become permanent bricks and mortar businesses. Plus, they benefit the surrounding permanent businesses.

Enter Better Sundays, a new market for Broadmead

After a bidding process between market operators, we, Better Events, were chosen to launch our Better Sundays market, starting on 19th June. It’s our aim to create a warm, family-friendly environment to welcome people back into the city centre. 

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Jess and Jai, Better Events co-founders

Initially the plan was for us to receive funding for a monthly Sunday market until October. But the positive reception of the first few markets has led to us booking in November and December dates too. We’ll also have the support of Bristol City Council officers beyond then, as we grow to become a self-sustaining venture which helps improve the area.  

Tabitha has said, “Through our grant programmes, we are supporting the recovery of the arts and culture sector and also businesses across the city, who have been severely impacted by the pandemic over the last couple of years. By encouraging people to visit the city centre, we hope to see the area and businesses benefit from increased footfall and remind people of the breadth and diversity of our independent businesses that Bristol is renowned for.”

Bringing a buzz to Broadmead

At the time of writing, we’re five markets down and have had great feedback about the impact of Better Sundays on Broadmead.

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The On Licence at Better Sundays

Head of Broadmead BID Viv Kennedy told us, “The last three years have been difficult for retailers in Bristol and across the UK. Footfall is still slightly below 2019 levels, although picking up now. Better Sundays has been a great way to encourage new people to visit Broadmead and they are spending money in our bricks and mortar businesses too.​

“Visitors are attracted to Broadmead because of the market but then look around the shops too or treat themselves to coffee or lunch in one of the cafes. Surveys taken at the first two Better Sundays events have proved this is happening.

“Markets give small businesses the opportunity to try out ideas and test demand without committing to long term leases. We hope to see Better Sundays traders taking the next step, moving into small units in Broadmead, which then makes room for new traders to take their place.”

So, our brilliant Better Sundays community – the traders and shoppers – are adding value to Broadmead and will hopefully have an impact beyond our market dates too.

Read next: Who are Better Sundays? Introducing our team