A Lancashire market continues to thrive throughout the winter months - despite the cost of living crisis.

Rawtenstall Market, which first opened its doors in 1906, has undergone a transformation in recent years, with even bigger plans ahead thanks to receiving government Levelling Up funding in 2023.

Foodie Friday, a monthly evening event hosting food stalls, a DJ and live music, is one of the newer initiatives from the market and is proving popular with locals and foodie fans from further afield.

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The January event was well attended by visitors who enjoyed the market's fresh food offerings, from Korean tenders and gyros to quesadillas, smash burgers and cookie pies.

Lancashire Telegraph: Fruit and veg at the marketFruit and veg at the market (Image: Lisa Valentine)

Lancashire Telegraph: Delicious goods on sale at The CrustDelicious goods on sale at The Crust (Image: Lisa Valentine)

Market manager Lindsey Rawson said: “Outside was busy – it was like people didn’t even feel the cold!

"Foodie Friday is definitely becoming the place to be and we’ve seen a good mixture of people attending every month.

“We’re proud to balance a traditional market feel thanks to our longer-term stallholders trading alongside the newer street food stalls.

"It’s not all about revenue - it’s about creating a vibrant space for people to socialise in too.”

Lancashire Telegraph: A market stallA market stall (Image: Lisa Valentine)

Lindsey, who lives in Bury, has been so enamoured by the Rawtenstall community since working in the town that she plans to move to the area later this year.

“Bank Street has very few empty units, something that isn’t a common occurrence on most town high streets these days,” she said.

“When people come to visit, they can enjoy a full day out, both at the market and in the town centre. There’s so much to do and see here.”

The market, which is managed by PLAY Market Management, hosts regular events including a dog festival and annual motorcycle festival where footfall hits around 6,000 to 8,000.

There is a weekly knitting club in place and craft workshops such as candle making, pottery and resin art classes will be added to the markets growing events calendar this year.

Mark Smithies Butcher and Deli has been trading at the historic market for more than 10 years.

Lancashire Telegraph: Mark from Mark Smithies Butcher and DeliMark from Mark Smithies Butcher and Deli (Image: Lisa Valentine)

Lancashire Telegraph: The Mark Smithies Butcher and Deli stallThe Mark Smithies Butcher and Deli stall (Image: Lisa Valentine)

Owner Mark, 63, said: “We do get visitors from outside the area but generally speaking, it's local people that use the market regularly for their shopping.

“It’s that personal touch, isn't it? A place where you can have a chat with somebody instead of chatting to a robot in supermarkets, rather than just scanning your card and walking off. They can have a brew and sit down.

"You can't do that walking around the supermarket, can you?

“Personally, our trade has been OK despite the cold weather.

"There are still people using the market regularly, even in January or February.

"I think people obviously cut the cloth accordingly, spending what they can afford to.”

The indoor market hall seating area and ambient string lighting provides a welcoming space for friends Kevin McNally, 69, from Bury, and David Prestbury, 75, from Rawtenstall, to occupy when they visit for their weekly pie and pea lunch before heading for a pint in the market's CAF bar.

Lancashire Telegraph: Kevin McNally and David PrestburyKevin McNally and David Prestbury (Image: Lisa Valentine)

Lancashire Telegraph: The CAF bar and cafe at Rawtenstall MarketThe CAF bar and cafe at Rawtenstall Market (Image: Lisa Valentine)

Linzi Byrne, 55, owns jewellery shop Cedar Dreams and is in her third year of trading at the market, selling handmade pieces on her indoor stall.

She said: “When I first started, I had a stall on the other side of the market. I started off doing the odd Saturday here and there then grew the business. I can’t complain.

“I know people have been talking about the ‘credit crunch’ but because of what I offer, it’s always quite affordable.

"There are always birthdays in January and February so I’ve not personally been affected with that side of things.

“Rawtenstall Market is usually packed and has a good vibe. You see a lot of regulars coming for chat every week.

"I have noticed a lot of people coming from Ramsbottom, Bury and Manchester. I think a lot of that comes from Foodie Friday - it’s definitely growing.

“We’ve got investment which is going to be good for Rawtenstall as a whole. I think the market is special because people come and they may not even buy anything, but they’ll chat and we have a good relationship with customers.

“It’s not a big food hall where people just sit at tables. Everyone knows everybody, we all muck in and there a really good family vibe. It’s got a lovely feel to it.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Inside the marketInside the market (Image: Lisa Valentine)

Alongside the main stalls, the indoor market boasts several decorated pallet stands featuring artisan products from local makers.

This gives traders who can’t commit to manning a regular stall the opportunity to take advantage of the markets growing customer base.

There are also plans to create a bespoke space for artists to showcase their work on a commission-only basis, helping to highlight local talent and supporting even more small businesses.

Lancashire Telegraph: One of the stores at the marketOne of the stores at the market (Image: Lisa Valentine)

Lancashire Telegraph: The indoor canopyThe indoor canopy (Image: Lisa Valentine)

Jamie Soule, 47, from Manchester, has been visiting the market for more than 20 years and commented on “how well it’s managed to retain its original character while meeting the evolving needs of the people who use it”.

He said: “It feels like the market embodies the past, the present and the future.

"It’s a valuable part of the local community with traditional market stalls such as Sweetie Sue’s pick and mix stall, which has been here forever, and introducing street food traders and modernising the CAF to appeal to those looking to socialise.

“It’s moving with the times without losing its heritage.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Outside the marketOutside the market (Image: Lisa Valentine)

Tim and Micaela Gregson, co-owners of artisan restaurant Pizza Box, have been on the outdoor market for around three and a half years after setting up the stall in 2020.

The family-run business uses locally sourced ingredients to make their handmade pizzas and customers can keep warm by an open fire while dining in the stalls small indoor seating area.

Lancashire Telegraph: Pizza BoxPizza Box (Image: Lisa Valentine)

Tim, 40, said: “We boomed in Covid and we’ve grown massively since. We do well, we're busy most of the time but the weather really does affect it.

“It’s probably been our quietest January so far but it's also been really cold and wet. That does play a big part of being an outside market trader.

“But the stall is our main focus because we run it ourselves. I'm firm believer in ‘you get out what you put in’ so we work hard and put in the hours.

“I think people visit the market because it's quirky, it's outdoors, it's independent and it's got character. It's not perfect but it is unique and individual and it's right in the town centre, which not all markets are."

Lancashire Telegraph: An outdoor stall at the marketAn outdoor stall at the market (Image: Lisa Valentine)

He added: “We get everyone visiting, from families to dog walkers, cyclists and people who have seen us on the internet and have come for stay in Rawtenstall for weekend.

"They love it! They'll come and have pizzas and drinks here and then they'll go on to the rest of the town later.”

Rawtenstall Market is open on Thursdays and Saturdays, with outdoor street food stalls operating from Thursday to Sunday.