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Real Food Ilkley celebrates safe and successful return to the town

Real Food Ilkley on The Grove

Sunday 12 July 2020 saw the safe return of Real Food Ilkley to The Grove amid sunshine and happy, safe, shoppers.  This was the first market the team had managed since February’s market due to Covid-19 lockdown, and their planned return last week being postponed due to high winds.

Over 35 stalls lined The Grove in Ilkley which was basking in perfect sunshine, including both regulars and guest stalls.  Real Food Ilkley, which started out over 4 years ago, outgrew its space behind The Black Hat pub in Ilkley and was granted a monthly spot along The Grove in September 2019.  The three-person team behind the market are all volunteers and are supported by an invaluable team of local people who give their time freely to volunteer throughout the day.

Lucy Allen, a director of Real Food Ilkley, commented “Like every other organisation, we’ve found it a challenge to implement all the new Covid-19 rules and regulations however Sunday could not have gone better. We ensured all customers and volunteers had free access to hand sanitizers, masks and gloves.  Plus all stalls, which were more spaced out, had adapted brilliantly to the new rules.  Amongst many other changes, we had also set out cones for queuing and worked with Ilkley BID to display safe shopping posters.  Everyone who came to the market seemed happy to adapt to the new way of shopping at Real Food Ilkley, and we felt the market was a very safe and welcoming place to be.”

Many of the stalls had sold out before closing and continued to take orders for deliveries throughout the rest of the month from regular and new customers.  Sharon Kaur, Director at Really Indian, who has been trading at Real Food Ilkley since it’s first market in 2016 said;  “A big thankyou to all who attended and supported the market, old and new customers. The weather was fabulous and the market got going with its usual vibes. A well deserved and much anticipated day out for those who are now allowed to come out of shielding and enjoy good local produce”

Robbie Moore, MP for Keighley and Ilkley Constituency, visited Sunday’s market and commented, “It was great to see the Real Food Ilkley market stalls back up and running. The stalls really do showcase what our brilliant town and wider region has to offer and it was good to see so many people enjoying the atmosphere. It was great to have a chat with a few of the stall holders and customers to see how it felt to be back and it was encouraging to see the positive adaptations stall holders have made in response to Covid-19.  There was lots of scrumptious and delicious food on sale so I will definitely be making another visit next month!”

Helen Rhodes, Manager of Ilkley BID also visited the market and added, “It was fabulous to see the Real Food Ilkley market open again on Sunday. The layout of the stalls meant there was even more space than usual to enable social distancing and I know the organisers have been working closely with Bradford Council’s Markets Division to make sure all the Covid-secure measures were in place. The Ilkley business owners I have spoken to since enjoyed a busy day of trading, evidencing the positive impact of the market on many of our town centre businesses which is naturally an important factor in Ilkley BID supporting the market.”

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “I’m delighted that the return of Real Food Ilkley was a great success. I know the team worked hard with our Markets staff to ensure everything could run safely and people could socially distance as they enjoyed all the quality food on offer. It’s a great boost to Ilkley and the district to have successful events like this returning safely as the economy re-opens.”

Real Food Ilkley runs on the first Sunday of every month, excluding January.  The next Real Food Ilkley will take place on Sunday 2 August 10-3pm. 


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