In late 2001 Heywood Market was under the threat of
closure by Rochdale MBC as it had lost £70,000 in its
last trading year. Facilitated by a friend of the Market, a
Senior Bank Manager with Project management skills,
the active Traders Committee came up with a number
of cost saving/income generating schemes to enable
the Council to continue to run the Market.
Unbeknown to the Traders a decision had been made by
the Council to relinquish ownership of the Market.
Accordingly, the Council decided that they would put the
management of the Market out to tender and the Traders
were invited to bid in competition with others.
Heywood Township Councillors and Jim Dobbin MP had
become involved in the discussions between the
Traders and the Council Officers and they were
impressed at how professionally the Traders had
conducted themselves. It was agreed that a Community
Trust would be set up to bid for the Management of the
Market made up of Traders, Township Councillors and
members of the Community. The Senior Bank
Manager/Project Manager remained involved to assist
with the bid and Julie Betteridge from RMBC
Regeneration Unit was drafted in to provide her
The Trust was called MAGIC which stood for Market
Action Group In the Community. A Business Plan was
developed to illustrate how we could run the Market
profitably and a redundant canteen and shops at the
Market were identified as a potential as a Community,
Development and Training Suite and plans to convert
them were quickly established.
The Trust applied for New Deal and ERDF funding to
assist us provide this facility and this was agreed in July
2002 subject to us being successful with the Market bid.
This much needed resource in Heywood was a key part
of the Trust’s bid to run the Market and without it we
would probably not have been successful.
The Business Plan was submitted in competition with
other Market Operators. After initially losing, due to our
bid not being the most monetary rewarding to RMBC,
the decision was reversed on the basis that our bid
would provide the greatest benefits to Heywood and its
people. Heywood MAGIC Development Trust took over
the management of the Market in December 2002.
The Trust took ownership of the Market in December
2002. At that time the Market was one third empty and
the areas to be converted into the community room
were derelict. This was 5 months behind schedule due
to RMBC not being in a position to transfer ownership as
they had indicated previously. No development work
could be undertaken before then as RMBC would not
allow access to the proposed community room area. A
Manager could not be recruited until we were sure we
had finally got the Market.
Managed by Board volunteers, by March 2003 the
Market was virtually full and the community/training room
had been established and furnished. A Manager was
recruited by the beginning of April with a remit to develop
the Community and Training Room.
In respect of the Markets aims these have all been fully
achieved, current trader occupancy is approximately
90% at a time when many other markets are failing. The
variety of products has varied, and its profile lifted.
The Market has established itself in the Community and
events to assist Groups and residents have been held.
The Trust has always been mindful of its community
responsibilities and has acted accordingly such as
providing a weekly home for CAB which was recently in
difficulties. Additionally, the Market has made every effort
to support all local groups and charities in the town.
Many of the Traders are now long established and help
and guidance has been given to them along the way as
well as initial favourable rent terms to help them become
established. There have been failures, this is inevitable,
but the Trust has tried hard for these people to make
Traders have been vetted carefully to prevent duplication
of stalls to ensure we do not get new Traders at the
expense of our existing Traders. As the Market was
virtually full, planning permission was sought for outside
stalls which were eventually obtained. It is these stalls
we are looking to use now to help people into work. In
addition the Job Centre was allocated a stall on the
Market at a reduced rent and it is understood that
through this outlet they assisted 57 people back into
The Training facility has been very successful and has
been used on a regular basis for three Hopwood Hall
computer classes. Heywood and Middleton PCT,
Rochdale PCT, Real Deal, Manchester University and
numerous other training organisations use the facility.
The Trust itself have organised a number of Training
events aimed at New Deal Residents.
In addition, we invited all employers in Heywood to come
down to the room to advise us of what training would be
beneficial to give to people to make them more
employable. The room has been used significantly by
Community Groups and wherever it was warranted
favourable terms have been given. New Deal,
Community Transport, Queen’s Park Restoration are
but a few names of the Groups to use this facility.
The Trust has always made sure that the Market has
traded profitably in its own right, and the Board is proud
that this has been achieved. As a start up Company, the
Board has to be prudent with these profits and build
reserves to cover eventualities, but it is aware of its
community base and has already made a Charitable
Donation of £1,000 to Fairfield Hospital Baby Care Unit
which is used by Heywood residents.
John Rhodes our Market Officer has been tasked as a
priority to fill the outside stalls. The launch of these was
delayed due to planning permission problems and the
previous Manager leaving. However, his remit was to
advertise and develop these stalls. At that time we
ensured that priority was given to New Deal Residents
and that they received favourable terms to help them
become established. An in house course was also be
offered to potential traders.
The future - We continue to try to manage our costs to
try to keep our rents pegged, the Traders have not faced
a rent increase during the period we have managed the
Market. The key to this has been increased occupancy
and we feel that John Rhodes will develop the Market
further in respect of both inside and outside stalls.
He is drawing up a programme of markets to visit to try
to attract traders. Two stalls for outside have now been
purchased and we look forward to the take up of these
stalls. It is hoped the outside stalls will create more
interest and therefore increased footfall in the market in
In addition the Board went into partnership with the
Traders Committee and agreed to 50% of the costs of a
20,000 leaflet drop in Heywood, Bamford and Norden in
an effort to increase footfall and awareness, and more
recently have provided the Traders with additional
marketing budget to contribute towards the cost of
advertising the Market on the local radio station -
So if you look back at our original aims, I don’t think we
have done too badly. The Board consider the Project
has been a success, a view, we assume shared by
others as this has been evidenced by a Ministerial visit
and visitors from other Local Authorities such as
Wolverhampton seeking our views as to how to operate
a Community Trust Market - so we must be doing
Whilst we are very proud of what we have achieved we
recognise we could not have done this without the help
of the public of Heywood and our funders. In this respect
the MAGIC Board wishes to thank the public and both
our funders, New Heart for Heywood and ERDF for the
support they have given.
Additionally for the confidence they have had in us, as
without that support this success story would not have
been possible. We have facilities here second to none,
It is the Boards’ continued aim to keep the Market
successful and provide a Community facility for
Heywood as well as safeguard the future of our Traders.
The Market has changed and improved significantly over
the last four years. It is now clean, bright and vibrant with
a variety of stalls and we are asking the people of
Heywood to come and have a look - we think you will like
what you see. The Market is open Tuesday, Friday and
Saturday - it’s your Market - it’s the Communities Market
come and give us a try.
Heywood MAGIC Development Trust Ltd