'Let's bring people back to Bolsover': Friends organise independent business fair to support local retailers and community

Two Bolsover friends have organised an independent business networking fair to showcase local sellers and create a fun day out for families in the community.

By Lizzie Day
Wednesday, 30th June 2021, 10:57 am

Julie Birch, 45, who is a care worker with a marketing background, came up with the idea to host the event in Hillstown along with her close friend Louisa Chadburn.

The business fair will be held at Hillstown Sports Field on Sunday, July 11, from 11.30am-3.30pm, and has been set up to give independent retailers in the area a chance to promote themselves and network, following an uncertain 16 months for businesses due to the pandemic.

Julie, who has lived in Bolsover all her life, said: "Our main aim is bringing our local community together while showcasing small, local businesses after what has been the most difficult time.

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Julie Birch, right, and Louisa Chadburn have set up an independent business fair in Bolsover.

"It’s time for us all to smile and start enjoying life even with the differences, using both mine and Louisa’s backgrounds in knowledge and life experience and with so much help from the public.

"The journey so far has been overwhelming, now it’s getting people there on the day.”

Julie and Louisa also thanked Hillstown Village Hall for letting them rent its field to put on the event, which they hope brings the community together and also offers families in the area a fun day out.

The friends, who are both working mums, started planning the fair two months ago and are now preparing to open it for the first time next weekend.

Businesses from across Bolsover are invited to attend and rent a stall to showcase their wares but also to connect with other independent enterprises.

There will also be a range of sweets, children’s entertainment – including people dressed as superheroes and Disney characters – food stalls, hair and beauty products, cleaning services, clothing and arts and crafts on display.

Louisa will be also debuting her new and used clothing shop called The Diamond Boutique, which is based in Bolsover Market Place, at the fair.

Julie said: "We have been through some naff times but it is not just about raising awareness of the little businesses that we've got, it's also about the ones that have got forgotten about, it's about a big shout out and who can shout the loudest.

"Let's bring people back to Bolsover.

"It is going to be a networking event but it is also about local people using local things and knowing what is there.

"We've had people that have booked stalls that are on the doorstep and we didn't even know they existed, we didn't even know and they've been here for 30 years.

"Since we've come out of lockdown, the online sales have dropped and our local businesses aren't getting anything like the traffic so to speak of what they've had before.”

The event will be held outside on the field, but the organisers said they have plans in place for the fair to continue to go ahead in case it rains.

There will also be hand sanitiser on each business stall to ensure good hygiene practices are maintained in line with the Covid-19 guidance.

To book stall space at the fair, contact Julie on 07795252726 or Louisa on 07818 559294.