Festive bonanza at Barrow Market before multi-million pound regeneration picks up pace in new year


Christmas is coming with a host of events lined up in and around Barrow Indoor Market to spread joy and showcase all the brilliant traders offering a wide range of gift ideas under one roof.

The festive bonanza comes before work is due to accelerate in the new year on the multi-million pound Barrow Town Centre Regeneration Scheme.

In the run-up to Christmas, Barrow Market is hosting a whole series of festive events and activities to enjoy ahead of the big day.

Events have already taken place at the market this month, including Christmas concerts by Barrow Male Voice Choir and Askam Brass Band and carol singing by St Columba’s Catholic Primary School, Dane Ghyll Primary School and Ormsgill Primary School.

Men and women standing in front of a Christmas tree in Barrow Market.

There will be a Barrow Natural Christmas Market outside tomorrow (9 December) from 10am to 4pm, with a selection of produce from local farmers, producers and makers, along with festive entertainment.

Organised by Barrow BID and the Rare Breeds Survival Trust and supported by Westmorland and Furness Council and Brilliant Barrow, the event will start at 10am and offer the chance  to celebrate and sample local produce/products and the people who make them. Lots of local stalls will be in attendance with products ranging from honey to bath bombs, prosecco to burgers and much more. Plus, you can meet live animals (including a Shetland pony, Derbyshire Gritstone sheep and more) and listen to festive music throughout the town centre.

Boom Dang Drummers will be hosting a free family event at the outdoor market on Saturday 16 December and Santa will be in his grotto in the Market Hall from 1pm to 4pm on Friday 22 December.

Also on 22 December, a December Yule Market takes place from 10am until 4pm at the outdoor market, with local traders selling locally produced honey, gin, Walney rum, jams and chutneys, cheese, bath and shower products, mulled wine and mince pies, specialist hot drinks, burgers, fish and chips along with over 25 independent businesses in the market hall.  The library will also be offering free children’s crafts and storytelling throughout the day.

Barrow Market will be open six days a week throughout December – Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 9am to pm, and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am to 4pm. The market will also be open on Christmas Eve from 10am to 3pm.
Meanwhile, many other festive events are planned, including the Lost Shops exhibition and a Voce – Magic of Christmas concert in Barrow Town Hall (Friday 8 December and Saturday 9 December respectively), and family-friendly performances of Elf on the Shelf at the Dock Museum at 11.30am and 1.30pm on Saturday 23 December.

An outdoor lightbox installation for the Lost Shops exhibition, by Sarah Hardacre and supported by Art Gene and BarrowFull, will also be in Duke Street and Cornwallis Street from 8 to 15 December.

Barrow Library hosts Festive Story Craft for children aged 5 to 11 years old on Saturday 9 December at 10am and 2pm and Saturday 16 December at 11am and Saturday 23 December at 11am.

Barrow and Walney libraries will be the venue for an Engineering Fairy Tale on Wednesday 20 December, with BAE Systems offering a free practical STEM session with a gingerbread man theme aimed at six to 10-year-olds. Contact the libraries to book.

On Saturday 16 December spread out across Barrow town centre, there will be a Stamp Card trail and taster events, with free family fun including an ice rink, curling rink, snowboard simulator, toy testing and creative workshops. Everybody who visits each location and collects a stamp has a chance of winning an amazing Christmas prize bundle.

The pantomime in The Forum  this year is Jack and the Beanstalk, which runs from 12 to 30 December.

In the new year, progress is due to accelerate on the £17.5 million Levelling Up Fund scheme to reinvigorate the Market Hall, neighbouring arts and entertainment venue The Forum and the public realm that surrounds it to attract more people into the town centre, bringing the community together and boosting the local economy.

Preparatory work for demolition to start in Dalton Road and will continue through to the end of January. Properties at 77/79, 81 and 83 Dalton Road, 10 Stephen Street and 1,2,3 and 4 The Ginnel are to be demolished to make way for the introduction of a pocket park and enhanced public realm features which will further boost and enhance the rejuvenated town centre.

Access will remain open between Dalton Road and Portland Walk over the Christmas period but will close in the new year, when demolition of the units in The Ginnel starts. Got It Covered will start trading from its new premises at 93 Dalton Road from 9 January.

Meanwhile, a contract to undertake structural repairs to the Forum tower has been tendered and is due to be awarded soon. Work on that is due to start early in the new year.

Work on the asbestos removal has been delayed slightly but a contractor is now in place. The removal is scheduled to start in February and is due to be completed in the summer.

The procurement process has also started to tender for the main refurbishment. This contract is scheduled to be in place by January, with work on the detailed design process starting in February.

Councillor Peter Thornton, Cabinet Member for Highways and Assets, said: “Traders, staff and partners are pulling out the stops to make this Christmas a special one. It is also fantastic to see progress on the Barrow Town Centre Regeneration Project, focusing on the market and The Forum. There has been an incredible amount of work going on behind the scenes to get to this stage and I am delighted to see it all coming together in this brilliant project which will contribute hugely to helping Barrow to be a thriving town centre.”

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