MARKET traders in Bradford will be offered training to help boost their business by inproving their online presence.

One of the founders of a “digital street market,” which has seen traders use social media to sell their goods during lockdown, has been employed to help traditional traders to make the most of digital platforms.

Catherine Simes will provide one on one training with traders to help them adapt their business model with the rapidly changing world.

Covid 19 has transformed how businesses reach customers, with many looking to online sales, home deliveries and click and collect services to stay afloat in a world where much fewer people are visiting physical stores.

While many retailers have suffered due to decreasing footfall on the High Street, others have adapted to the new normal, and have made their business more accessible to people online.

Mrs Simes will help local market traders adapt their business model to provide these additional services, as well as cashless payments and developing an online and social media platform.

'Virtual' street market hailed a success

The Council says the appointment has been made to “support traders who want to be digitally prepared for the changing nature of retail and ways to increase their online marketing exposure.”

Bradford Street Market was launched in April, and sees dozens of traders take to social media to sell food, arts and crafts and other goods.

It is run each Thursday, and a number of speciality markets have been held to coincide with events like Father’s Day and Eid.

It currently boasts over 5,000 members, and Mrs Simes has successfully helped independent businesses to showcase their products and services on Facebook.

She has been contracted for one year and will begin her role on Tuesday.

Bradford Council runs markets in the Kirkgate Centre, Oastler Market and Keighley Market, as well as the wholesale St James’ Market.

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Catherine to the markets team at a very exciting time for us.

“Bradford Street Market was a brilliant innovation that provided a lifeline for many businesses during lockdown.

“She has proved that she can go above and beyond to support local independents during what has been an extremely difficult trading period.

“It is a pleasure to introduce traders to someone who is loyal and passionate to the local economy and has experience of how an online presence can benefit small businesses.”

Bradford Council’s markets are due to undergo a major change in the coming years. Both Oastler and Kirkgate Market are due to close, with a new, modern market opening on the site of the former Marks & Spencer building on Darley Street.