Empty stalls suffer crisis at local Leicester market in post lockdown

by Azim Saiyed

Local market trade is on the decline post-lockdown due to retiring and self-isolating traders in the Leicester market.  

 A high number of stalls can be seen empty and abandoned following the end of lockdown due to self-isolating traders which some fear is portraying the market’s image as a dying institution.

Paul Abbot, 56, a grocer with 34 years of experience in the trade, said: “If it stays like this, it’s going to hurt us.”

The increasing number of corner shops and the dominance of large supermarket chains are also preventing the local market of Leicester from thriving.

A high number of stall can be seen empty and market is also unpopulated

 Mr Abbott, also known as Bud, described it as the “heartbeat of Leicester” but said it is no longer the same as before. 

“Not only the fruit and vegetable trade stalls have been hit by this adversity but the dry goods stalls such as clothing and toys have been badly affected,” said Mr Abbott. 

He believes the availability of the lockdown business grants from the government have resulted in many new local businesses opening which has impacted the market stalls negatively. 

The good fortune of home-grown produce has meant that there have been no consequences of a lack of foreign export trade especially in the current crisis of HGV driver shortages. 

“Trade is slower towards the winter,” said Mr Abbott. The market traders will have to prepare themselves to face this hardship. The issue is magnified with the additional problem of language barriers between traders and customers who come from ethnic minority customers. 

56 years-old Paul Abbott applying his speciality skills in the market trade.

Mr Abbott’s busy work schedule consists of buying and collecting produce from Leicester’s wholesale market in the morning at 4am, then tirelessly selling the produce throughout the day at the local market. 

Bud’s stall contains a variety of produce, more specifically a maximum of up to 70 different types of produce. 

Originally, he started with selling fruit but then due to customer demand also started to sell vegetables as well. 

Mr Abbott said: “We can only pray for better times”, as lockdown has ended but the fight against covid-19 is still very much alive which means the market trade remains unstable and un-secure. 

Leicester Market offer fruit and vegetables to those who need it

By Conor de Smith

Leicester Market traders are offering fruit and vegetables to those who need it with the government food welfare scheme called Healthy Start.

The initiative offer those eligible tokens worth £3.10 which they can spend on milk, formula milk, or fresh fruit and vegetables.

Women who are a minimum of 10 weeks pregnant and parents with children under four-years-old qualify for Healthy Start. Women are also eligible if they are under 18 and pregnant, even if they don’t get any of the above benefits.

Those on Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit also qualify.

People can use the rokes once a week and families with children under the age of one may use two per week.

There are two stalls in Leicester Market that are accepting these tokens with it vital that people get their daily intake of fruit and veg.

Five reasons to get your 5 A Day:

  • Higher consumption of fruit and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of mortality from all causes, particularly from cardiovascular diseases and cancers The results support current recommendations to increase consumption to promote health and overall longevity.
  • They’re an excellent source of dietary fibre. This can help to maintain a healthy gut and prevent constipation and other digestion problems. A diet high in fibre can also reduce your risk of bowel cancer.
  • Fruit and vegetables are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including folate, vitamin C and potassium. Vitamins and minerals are nutrients your body needs in small amounts to work properly and stay healthy.
  • Fruit and vegetables are also usually low in fat and calories (provided you don’t fry them or roast them in lots of oil). That’s why eating them can help you maintain a healthy weight.
  • Fruit and vegetables taste delicious and there’s so much variety to choose from, especially when making smoothies.