If you were a very successful copywriter who also helped run a family tree surgery business and was project managing the development of an eco rural business hub…and had children…you would probably think that was enough. But recently I’ve had the pleasure to meet a lady who has the drive and generosity to give back to her community, with such positivity, energy and sheer determination that I would defy anyone not to be persuaded to get on board!
Sarah Lamballe is the inspiration behind Market Rasen’s successful Portas Pilot bid and a founder member of the Market Rasen Business Improvement Group with a very simple initial intention to ‘tidy up the town’. I have a feeling, even if Market Rasen hadn’t been successful with their bid, Sarah would still have pulled it off somehow. She seized an opportunity to make a difference, consulting with local businesses to make sure everything was rooted in the community so they took ownership from the outset, but also cleverly wording her application so it met all the criteria of the brief and of course, using social media to drive the project forward. That’s the way to do it.
There are now new, thriving independent shops on the high street, the market has been reinstated and the number of stalls doubled, there is an on going programme of business training and Market Rasen has held its first Arts & Crafts Festival ‘Plank 2013’, a 2 week celebration of local artists work being exhibited on the high street, often in empty spaces, with accompanying workshops and street entertainment. A drummer busked in the market place, a public realm installation (yarnbomb) brought colour and texture to the high street and as well as knitted contributions from local groups, some had also been posted from further afield, Devon and Surrey to name two (OK, so I was responsible for the yarnbomb, I had to get a little bit of self promotion into this somewhere).
As well as regenerating and transforming her high street, showcasing and raising the profile of local artists work and providing the opportunity for an apprentice to gain experience, Sarah is also lovely, warm, open and sincere…hardly fair is it?
Market Rasen’s Queen of the High Street was suggested by artist Carol Parker