The campaigners on a mission to restore South Shields market to its former glory
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Jarrow businesswoman Carol Gibson took to social media last month to garner support for her scheme to bring the once-thriving market place back to life.
A former business development manager, Carol has worked with companies across the UK and saw an opportunity to use her years of experience to help the struggling town centre.
“I thought it was so sad what was happening to the town centre,” said the 53-year-old, mum-of-two.
“I’ve picked up a few things along the way and I wanted to use what I know to help the high street.”
Within 24 hours the ‘Bring South Shields market back to the way it is’ Facebook group had over 3,000 members, with a number of traders getting in touch to take up stalls.
Following her successful relaunch of Jarrow market in 2017 - which saw footfall of up to 18,000 in one day - Carol has now secured the backing of South Tyneside Council to host a one-off Christmas market on December 7, followed by an initial run of six events in early 2020.
With the help of market manager, David Amess and business owner Josh Trueman, the new market will see a host of new stalls and a focus on free entertainment to attract visitors.
Performances from South Shields star Amelia Saleh, Lilly Cooke, line dancers, a brass band and a chance to visit Santa’s grotto are all on the line-up for the festive fair.
“We just want to bring the spark back into South Shields,” said Carol.
“There’s a lot of potential here, especially with the plans for the 365 project, it’s just spreading the awareness that it’s still there and if we don’t use it we’ll lose it.”
The town centre is currently in the middle of the £100million 365 regeneration scheme, which has included a revamped market place and new transport interchange.
“I just hope people coming along and help get South Shields back to the thriving, profitable place it once was,” Carol added.
“The coastline is so beautiful, but it’s about getting people back up to the town.”