You’ll have seen on our poster that the Christmas event will be the last ever Pantry market. Making this decision was hard, but, having welcomed the public to the first market in December 2012, we felt it was the right time to hang up our aprons. It is fitting that The Pantry community market finishes as it began – with a Christmas celebration.
Over the last 7 years we’ve held some 25 markets, which have raised over £12,000 for village causes. Apart from fundraising, our aim was to create a regular community event for Piddington residents and to promote local talent and business (particularly in the food sector).
From the outset, the market has been supported by a group of fantastic volunteers, who turn their hand to so many tasks: they work in the Coffee Shop, serving or clearing tables and generally keeping things tidy, help with sales in the General Store, help in setting up and taking down the market, and many other jobs needed to keep things running smoothly.
An important part of The Pantry has been the St Nicholas’ Church fundraising team, who not only produced a wonderful selection of homemade cakes and bakes for every one of the markets, but also expanded their range, selling crafts and seasonal produce, raising much-needed funds for St Nicholas’s Church.
The Coffee Shop was an immediate success, with legendary queues at every market for bacon baps and homemade cakes. This subsequently led to the formation of a monthly Book Swap Coffee Morning in the village hall sponsored by The Pantry, which started earlier this year and creates a valuable daytime hub for villagers to catch up with friends and neighbours.
The markets have been hugely supportive of small local businesses over the years, even going ‘on the road’ on more than one occasion! Locally produced beer, wine, cheese, meat, bread, chutneys, jams, fruit and veg have all been promoted, and since 2016 the markets were even able to offer visitors Piddington chutney, apple juice and cider, all made only from apples grown in the village. Local craftspeople, kitchen table entrepreneurs and artists have also been an important feature, giving each market its own identity.
To date, the markets have raised over £12,000, generated by profits from the Coffee Shop, General Store and Beer Stall, stallholders’ fees, raffles and secondhand book sales.
So far £8,875 has been donated or committed to village causes, in particular the village hall’s refurbishment programme, including its new kitchen, extension and upcoming heating overhaul. St Nicholas’ Church has also received a commitment of £3000 towards the building of a servery and toilet, and grants have also been given towards the Piddington Fitness Trail at the playing field and a new children’s play area at the rear of the village hall (where work is due to start shortly). The Pantry also sponsored the ploughman’s lunch on Apple Day and the purchase of the original village defibrillator in 2015.
The last market will be held on Saturday 7th December (10 – 2pm) and will kick start Piddington’s Christmas season. Please put the date in your diary and come along and support the event and help make it the best one yet!
The Pantry group would like to thank all its fantastic volunteers and the stallholders who have supported each of the markets. As much as The Pantry was a vehicle for fundraising, each market was also about fun and friendship.
After the Christmas event, the balance of fund money will be held in trust by the group, ready to be donated to suitable new village projects as they come to its attention.
What an adventure it has been …