Unique Wakefield

Unique Wakefield - Looking Back at 2013

The Unique Wakefield Blog

Unique Wakefield - Looking Back at 2013

28th December 2013

Greetings from Unique Wakefield & a warm welcome to this review of 2013.

Unique Wakefield is about people who enjoy independent places to eat, drink, shop & relax in Wakefield. The shops, salons & foodie stops. We believe small business offers a more intimate & friendly atmosphere, where you can find unique goods, specialist services & enjoy locally produced food.

Unique Wakefield is proud to be part of the UK’s shop small, shop local movement (this says it all - courtesy of Totally Locally).

Wakefield’s small business community helping each other

The Unique Wakefield Guide has been a great way to promote independent places in our fab little City (more on this below) and we hope it helps signpost people to their local places - 'Get into Wakefield' and 'Step Inside' independent places!

Unique Wakefield started out as a keep in touch group in 2011 with 2 founding members and now has around 60 places on it’s mailing list - by taking time to walk, getting to know people.

Looking back on Unique Wakefield aims it’s nice to see the good things that have happened this year... 

We have ... 

  • Provided a voice for small business at City Centre Partnership meetings and built good working relationships with partners like the Wakefield Visitor Centre and the City Centre Manager. There is an Action Plan in place for 2014 which we commit to help achieve
  • Kept City Centre places in touch with CCP news with regular mailings
  • Helped build Wakefield community & promoted Wakefield to business start-ups, to help make Wakefield a more vibrant & attractive place to visit
  • Put forward small business views on City Centre parking to Highways & asked for free parking up to Christmas
  • As a collective voice successfully objected to plans to make Northgate into a no through road
  • Was asked to comment on City Centre development plans via the Chamber of Commerce
  • Helped promote City Centre events through our own places and our social media pages
  • Invited local cafes, shops & businesses on our mailing list to get involved in Wood Street Market events
  • Served as a member of CCP Small Business Support Grants panel which makes grants of up to £2000 available to support small businesses opening or expanding in WF1. This year more than 10 businesses have benefitted
  • Referred people to other local places using the guide and put out each other's flyers & posters

Unique Wakefield Guide – 2nd issue

Earlier this year we were busy developing and distributing a new Unique Wakefield guide. A lot of thought went into the design and layout to make it handy and enjoyable to use. It features 26 independent places and also a street map showing where they are all are - Brook Street, Bond Street, Northgate, Wood Street, Cross Square, The Ridings ...

Please download a copy here www.

We have

  • Already distributed around 3000 copies of our Unique Wakefield Issue 2 Guide (that's 8000 copies since we launched Issue 1) through local businesses, attractions like The Hepworth and a sterling effort by the Wakefield Visitor Centre who helps distribute in and around Wakefield and further afield.
    Thanks for everyone’s help in spreading the word!!
  • Had lots of great feedback about how people have found and tried new places after reading the guide
  • Launched a new mobile-phone friendly website which has had over 6000 hits since its launch in August 
  • Committed to help support new businesses and are pleased to offer FREE listings on the website to new places.
    So far we have added IndiaCoco, Time Bakery and Prestige Gowns who have opened in Wakefield this year
  • Launched a new blog this year and also invite guest bloggers - the first by Irene Rhodes about Unity Hall
  • Generated creative work for local people - Statement Design on graphics and web design, John Gardner on photography and John Welding for wonderful illustrations for our front cover and of the places featured.
    We have been delighted with the quality of work and it's been good to keep ££ in the Wakefield district

Thank you all !!

Wood Street Markets

For most of the Summer this year I have volunteered time along with other local businesses and individuals to help organise community-led Wood Street Market events - smoothing the way, speaking to local people, encouraging creative thinking and setting up the event days.

It has been a pleasure to see how the market has evolved and grown from a handful of ideas into a series of events with a tangible feel good factor.

  • With a local first approach, there have been between 40 and 60 unique small local businesses of which up to 20 have unique outlets in this area taking stalls and selling all manner of unique wares and fresh food.
  • At Christmas the Wood Street market toured at the nearby Merchant Gate development filling empty commercial space with a popup art gallery from Corner 165 Studio, a popup cinema, the Portrait Sideshow photo studio, The Scratching Pup popup pub, food court, market stalls, music, choirs and crafting activities!
  • The Wakefield community has wanted to get involved right from Day One whether that be the friendly and enthusiastic stallholders, local musicians (like Matt Yates, Ali Bullivent, Danny Hepworth, Ruby Macintosh, Beth Goldthorpe and many others) the performers (Thomas Anthony who launched Zip at the summer events with street magic and mime), inspirational arts-led community groups (like Ossett Observer and Education Halo from Wakefield Cathedral), the busy and buzzy Portrait Sideshow popup photo studio and fab local art gallery Corner 165.

- everyone has played a part and helped make the Wood Street Market events so enjoyable for everyone giving them a
unique, quirky DIY feel. Thank you!!

... and of course Pop Ups!
This year out of WSM has also been launched the Wood Street Artwalk fringe events, and popup art space in conjunction with the Arthouse including Corner 165 Studio's 'Wood Street Arts Club'. This space has seen life drawing classes, art skills workshops, poetry nights and the return of the Scratching Pup popup bar all appearing on Wood Street in the Autumn.

  • Here are the volunteers, local businesses & local people who have made Wood Street Market & Wood Street popups a reality.

> Darren Bailey of Architecture 1B (the event manager and driving force behind the market and popup activity on Wood Street) & fellow WSM organiser Dawn Scott of Satori Complementary Therapy Centre
> Dayv Smif who has programmed the music and performance
> Natalie Liddle & Robin Goodall of art & framing business Corner 165 Studio who have set up the Wood Street Arts Club, and the amazing popup art gallery at Merchant Gate 
> Kevin Trickett for advice, planning and promotion and treasurer Jean of Wakefield Civic Society
> John Welding for recording an illustrative diary of the July market
> Help from friends and family and also Charlotte North of Emmeline’s Attic and Natalie Liddle from Corner 165 for display ideas and from Lucy North, Amy Lilley, Helen Field, Amy Cooper, Hazel Birdsall and Helen Thomas who helped make decorations, signage and helped set up on the days
> Woodhead Investments, Vickers Carnley and Merchant Gate who loaned commercial space
> Council markets department for advice and supply of market stalls
> Wakefield Express who gave the market fantastic and positive coverage
> Statement Digital who have generously sponsored the Wood Street Market website 
> Wakefield Visitor Centre and Experience Wakefield who supported us with marketing, planning, with distributing leaflets and so many tweets!

... and of course thanks to all the many people who came along to enjoy a nice afternoon out in Wakefield.

They have been lovely community events. Thanks to all!!!

Facebook: Wood Street Market 
Twitter:  Wood_St_Market also WoodStWakefield


We think 2013 has been a really positive year for creativity and community in Wakefield.

Before we sign off we would like to say a big welcome to new places - the Time Bakery and Coffee Shop at Theatre Royal on Drury Lane, IndiaCoco childrenswear retailer on Wood Street (both of which literally 'tested the market' at Wood Street Markets in the Summer before deciding to open shops in Wakefield. Also, now open Prestige Gowns who have opened on Northgate and more recently Marmalade Tearooms on Cross Square.

All great quality local places - pop in and say hello!

‘Thanks for your support this year and we look forward to welcoming you to unique Wakefield in 2014!’

Most looking forward to in 2014

> As a shareholder in Unity Hall I am looking forward to when it opens for public use again
> It would be great to see even more independent places opening in Wakefield
> More quality community events
> More from Wakefield Jelly where people can co-work making it easier for freelancers and small businesses to work together and share ideas
> More action on tidying, renovating and letting empty properties
> More popup activity making use of empty space

Local business? Get involved!

‘We would love more unique local places to get involved – get in touch on our social media pages or email’

This blog was written by Sarah White


I just would like to take this time to thank you for all your hard work over the years. Wakefield city centre wouldn't be what it is without you
Thank you

Steve (cobblers)     30th December 2013 16:11

Fantastic blog Sarah. It is truly inspirational to be a new business within such a supportive, and passionate community. Really looking forward to working with you and the team in 2014. Happy New Year!

Claire Harper     30th December 2013 21:54

This is really inspiring reading - you have done an amazing job and made Wakefield a better place. Thank you for supporting us on Wood Street and at Merchant Gate. Here's to an even better 2014!

Natalie and Robin (Wood St Art Club/Corner 165)     31st December 2013 09:27

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