Sunday’s vintage market signals bright future for Harleston

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A civic organisation in Harleston says that it is thrilled by town’s excellent progress ahead of this weekend’s big vintage market in the town centre.

Harleston’s Future, a community outreach group that formed in July 2013, states that the Antiques & Vintage Street Market and Midsummer Street Party, taking place on Sunday, is the largest event they have held yet and representative of the continuing growth the town is experiencing.

Paul Stephen, chairman of Harleston’s Future, said: “A huge amount of work has gone on in Harleston since the group came together.

“The movement is like a snowball. It will keep gathering speed as the townspeople see more and more positive additions to the town.”

The market is running from 9.30am to 4pm on Market Place, near the town centre, with almost 70 different antique stalls and food stands expected to be in attendance. Entertainment will be provided by puppeteer Mr Rags and buskers from Archbishop Sancroft High School,

This is followed by Park Radio’s music event from 6pm to 9pm, which features performances from the likes of the Funk Soul Brothers, Eva Black and Ceilidh Capers.

Mr Stephens said: “I think you could certainly say that people have a generally positive outlook for the town now.

“We have been getting a lot of complimentary comments via social networking. People are reacting very favourably to the events.”

The Harleston’s Future project, which is currently managed entirely by voluntary workers, was originally conceived out of an emergency meeting that was suddenly called last year following the closure to two banks.

According to the organisation, much of its focus is helping to promote the history and commerce that already exists in Harleston, working alongside South Norfolk Council and Harleston Town Council to “create a marketable identity” for the town.

The group has also been involved in events such as the Pancake Day races in March, and they have set up a regular town newsletter, which circulates to around 3000 homes.

Over the long-term, the group hopes to push the town as an appealing spot for tourists and plans to accomplish this with more vigorous marketing as it acquires greater funding.

Nicky Stainton, chair of the Harleston’s Future events committee, said: “On the one hand, we want local residents to have a really nice time in Harleston. We want them to feel involved in the town’s activities and be proud of it.

“On the other hand, we want to make other people aware of the town and to send out message that Harleston is a thriving, attractive place that is worth coming to.”

For more details about the weekend’s events or the Harleston’s Future scheme in general, call 01379 855235 or visit