Page 36 - Market Times February 2014
P. 36

Market Times • February 2014
 We must stay positive in 2014
By JOE HARRISON, Chief Executive, National Market Traders Federation
  IT WOULD have been nice to start my first update for 2014 reporting that the membership figures over the year had been retained.
But sadly that isn’t the case. In fact 2013 has seen the biggest membership fall-off in the last 10 years — a loss of around 1,800 members.
After much research I can only come to the conclusion that these are members who have left the industry, either by retirement or because their businesses have unfortunately failed.
The evidence supplied by reports from our Field Support Officers does indeed support this, as we do not appear to be losing out to insurance providers, and our churn rate of members seems to be constant year on year.
Therefore the pricing structure of membership is not to blame, as some 7,000 individuals each year choose to join us as opposed to taking alternative insurance offers.
The fall-off rate also comes despite the Executive Board taking the decision not to propose an increase in the subscription from July last year, in an effort to sustain membership levels.
But despite all of the that, I do believe that we need to stay positive as an organisation and an industry, and recognise the fact that since the major financial crisis of 2008 we have spent more than five years trading
through the most severe recession this country has ever known in modern times.
With the new staffing structure in place we have been able to formulate a draft marketing plan which will be discussed by the board and with the necessary adjustments made following debate will hopefully be launched at our AGM in Stratford-upon-Avon on April 14.
As part of our restructuring we went live with our newly designed website in January (see page 11).
I feel certain that you will find the new look pleasing to the eye and also extremely easy to navigate as a site. It is by no means a completed product as we will be constantly updating and improving the information available throughout 2014.
As I have mentioned previously the AGM will soon be upon us and this year we will be running a competition at the event highlighting the good work done by active branches.
In the afternoon session of the AGM branches will be able to make a short five- minute presentation about the good work that they have been doing during the course of the previous year. There will be three prizes awarded by a panel of judges. First will be a gold prize of £1,500, second a silver prize of £1,000 and third a bronze prize of £500, which will be made payable to the branch to
be used to enhance their branch funds to enable them to continue to do good work on their markets.
The whole idea
is to recognise the
work that an
active branch can
do and obviously will be a chance to learn what other branches have been doing.
Together with this, in the afternoon session, whilst the judges are making their deliberations, we will be holding a question time session on markets and the markets industry and we hope to have at least four market experts on the panel, which will be chaired by our National President Michael Nicholson.
All branches will have been informed of all of the above, but if you have not received the necessary correspondence please do not hesitate to contact us at
With a firm stance we look forward to meeting the challenges of 2014 head on, and hopefully my first update for 2015 will be a much more upbeat one.
I look forward to meeting as many branch officials and members as possible when attending this year’s AGM.
   Alan returns to his longhaired youth for charity
SKIPTON market trader Alan Speak is turning a well-established charity fundraiser on its head. Instead of shaving his head for charity, Alan is aiming to raise a four-figure sum for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance Service by growing his hair to emulate the fashion of his youth in the 1960s and 1970s.
Alan, who sells household goods on Skipton market, where he is Chairman of the National Market Traders Federation branch, came up with the idea on a social evening with friends.
“I don’t know how it came about, but we were chatting about our younger days,” said Alan. “I used to run a disco and had fairly long hair in those days. My friends said they would donate £10 each to
charity if I agreed to grow my hair and not cut it until the World Cup in July 2014. So I took on the challenge.”
Alan picked the Yorkshire Air Ambulance as his charity in memory of a friend who broke his back when the boat he was on was caught in a bad storm, and ended up being taken by air ambulance to Leeds General Infirmary.
“I normally have a Number Two short back and sides, so this is quite a change,” said Alan, whose locks are growing almost as fast as the sponsorship money.
Friends, family and customers have already pledged around £400 and Alan is confident he will raise more than £1,000 by the time he gets his hair cut, which will be on a busy market day in July.
Skipton market trader Alan Speak

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