Use of footpath boosts youth market

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The Otago Youth Market has taken a step forward, with the Waitaki District Council allowing the use of the footpath and under the verandas from 123 to 143 Thames St.

Fliss Butcher is setting up the youth market in Oamaru where young people can learn and experience what it’s like to be in business.

The first market will be held on September 15, from 12pm to 4pm.

The idea is based on a similar market in Christchurch, and Ms Butcher said there was a huge pool of talented young people in Oamaru who could be a part of it.

The market would be free for stallholders, driven by Ms Butcher, and run monthly initially to gauge popularity.

Soul Surf and Skate’s Jeremy Holding has also jumped on board and is encouraging any youth, under 25, to give it a go.

“Any ideas that they have, bring new ideas, we’re really encouraging that,” Mr Holding said.

“There’ll be heaps of kids around, there are heaps of clever kids in Oamaru.”

It’s free to enter a stall, and all profits stay with the stallholder.

“It’s going to be a place for young people to practise in front of a crowd, there’s not enough venues for people to do that at the moment,” Mrs Butcher said.

There won’t be any food on sale, so as not to compete with the Oamaru Farmers’ Market, but fundraising barbecues could be an option.

The key criteria is that people are polite and kind to each other.

Mr Holding opens Soul, Surf and Skate every Sunday and said it would be nice to see more people around town on a Sunday, support the market and create a real buzz in the Oamaru CBD.

He liked that the market would also encourage development through outdoor education.

“It’s teaching them basic business skills outside of school, it’s cool, I think they’ll be surprised how well they’ll do,” he said.

“If they’ve got something that they’re interested in, any crafts or hobbies, they can test them out.”

It’s also about socialising and an opportunity for youth to engage and meet new people in Oamaru, Ms Butcher said.

All of the shopkeepers on the stretch of Thames St had been supportive of the venture, she said.

With no stallholder cost, what did the youth have to lose, she said.

“We’re definitely going to carry it on, once a month at this stage, and possibly twice monthy depending on demand,” she said.

“We’ll just see how it goes, small steps.”

Legacy Youth’s Eugene Dupu thought the market was a fantastic idea and would be “awesome” for the youth of Oamaru.

Check out the Facebook page Oamaru Youth Market, or pop in and see Mr Holding at Soul, Surf and Skate, for more information.

By Rebecca Ryan