Electricity to bring spark to farmers’ market

Portobello Market is already a thriving event. Pic: comp
Portobello Market is already a thriving event. Pic: comp
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A popular farmers’ market is set to get wired in a bid to attract more customers.

Organisers of Portobello Market, held monthly in Brighton Park, are looking to fund a proposal to bring electricity to the site, in order to improve safety and allow traders to run specialist equipment more efficiently.

And they hope the move would attract more suppliers, allowing the already thriving market to grow.

The electricity link-up proposals have attracted wide community support, as well as the backing of local MSP Kenny MacAskill.

Market co-ordinator Graham Kitchener said the move would attract independent traders who need electricity to run equipment such as deep-freezes at their stalls.

Next week, the Portobello and Craigmillar Environment Forum will meet to discuss a funding bid from Pedal, Portobello’s transition town group. The exact amount needed for the project is still to be determined next week but would not exceed £10,000.

If funding is secured for the equipment – a unit which is installed and removed by the council at the start and end of each event – the ongoing costs would be met by the market.

The link-up would also be safer and more environmentally friendly than gas bottles, which are currently used by some traders.

Mr Kitchener said: “The market is absolutely increasing the profile of Portobello, and that was its primary purpose – to get the community back together and involved, to bring new people down and show that Edinburgh has a seaside.”

Mr Kitchener said an electricity connection to the park would also allow a larger variety of events to be held there.

The market, which is held on the first Saturday of every month except January, has already attracted the attention of Edinburgh International Science Festival.

Brighton Park will play host to the festival’s Street Science Busking Bikes event at the next farmers’ market on April 5.

Mr Kitchener added: “Brighton Park is the ideal location, right in the heart of the town.”

Local councillor Maureen Child said: “The market is very popular. It’s going from strength to strength.”

Mr MacAskill is also supporting the venture. He said: “The market is a valued asset to the Portobello community and beyond. The installation of electricity can only serve to improve the service available and build upon the market’s success.”

Switched on

The electricity link-up could come from money handed to Portobello and Craigmillar Neighbourhood Partnership by the city council. Partnerships – made up of representatives from the council, community councils, NHS and voluntary sector – can give grants to community groups. The bid will be discussed on Wednesday.