Christmas craft market will benefit people in need in Bedlington beyond the festive season

published on 15 Nov 2017

Local stallholders create community spirit, sharing skills and produce for market In 2016, the market raised more than £2,000 to support community projects

Unique, handmade Christmas gifts and locally produced festive fare will be on sale at the annual Christmas Market at Bedlington Salvation Army in a bid to raise vital funds for the church and charity’s work in the community.

Last year, the market raised more than £2,000 which supported the church’s work providing a range of activities for all ages that bring people together in an effort to combat loneliness and isolation in the town.

Stallholders will be offering a range of products from beautifully homemade sewn gifts and jewellery to seasonal chutneys, bakes and non-alcoholic beverages as well as expertly upcycled home accessories and original work from a local artist. There will also be Christmas carol-playing by the church’s brass band, competitions and craft activities for children and a visit from Father Christmas.

Captain Peter Renshaw, Bedlington Salvation Army’s minister, said: “Our Christmas Market is a real community effort as we pool our talents and resources to make the event a success. Not only does it bring us together as a church, it’s a great way to meet our community and also to let them know how we can support them through our work at our Hartford Road West site.

“Last year we raised more than £2,000 to support our community programme which brings isolated people together for meals and organised activities and we’re hoping to top that this year. We’re right at the heart of our community in Bedlington and this market is just one more way to welcome people into our family and to let them know we’re there for them all year round, not just at Christmas.”

Shiela Dixon, who is on-hand to ensure the smooth running of the event, said: “This year we have more people than ever taking part and we have some fantastic contributions. We are fortunate to have a number of talented crafters in our church who have been stitching, knitting and woodworking throughout the year to prepare for this annual feast of gifts – and there really is something for everyone to choose from, with prices to suit a variety of budgets. Our bakers and cooks have been in their kitchens to ensure there is plenty of festive fare for sale, too. It’s a real treat for the senses.”

Not only are most of the items produced by members of the community, there has been a real community spirit in sharing unique skills to support each other’s work - artisan homemade chutneys feature products grown locally by other church members and a local artist’s work has been used to create a festive print on Christmas tea towels.

The market – which is free to attend - takes place on 25 November 2017 from 11 am to 1.30 pm at The Salvation Army, Hartford Road West, Bedlington NE22 6HU.

Throughout the year, the crafters of the community church also share their skills through friendship groups run at the church so others benefit from the wide range of skills at the church.

To find out more about events at the church, contact The Salvation Army on 01670 829356, visit the website or attend the market.