Plans have been launched for an indoor festive market in Aberdeen which will bring a financial boost to a children’s charity.
In August, Aberdeen Inspired, the business improvement district for Aberdeen City Centre, confirmed that the usual Christmas Market would not go ahead due to restrictions around the coronavirus pandemic.
However, this year’s festivities have not been cancelled, with fresh plans confirmed to bring an indoor festive market to the city instead.
And this year it will also benefit a north-east charity, with Charlie House confirmed as a partner.
The charity supports children and young people with complex disabilities and life-limiting conditions.
The market will be held in the Bon Accord Centre, which also has a partnership with Charlie House.
Space will be offered to local makers and businesses to sell their products and wares.
The market will be located in a retail unit on the lower level of Bon Accord, next to Topshop and behind Costa Coffee.
It will be similar to the popular Christmas in the Quad events, held at Marischal College as part of the Christmas Village – which was cancelled this year due to Covid-19.
Organisers hope the indoor market will bring some much-needed cheer to the city and help people get into the festive mood.
Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “While the festive season won’t be quite the same as previous years for us all, we hope our Aberdeen Christmas Market will bring some much-needed cheer to the city centre during a very difficult time.
“As well as providing a platform for a wide range of fantastic local businesses, we hope this market will also help bring footfall back into the city centre in a safe way and encourage people to think and support local not just in the build-up to Christmas, but all year round and help our local economy.
“In addition to that, we are pleased to be supporting Charlie House through the market, and hope that the donations will go some way to help as it too has been affected by a downturn in income.”
Aberdeen Inspired has opened applications for businesses interested in taking a stall, and is asking for a set donation to charity partner Charlie House to secure a space.
The number of traders allowed will be capped in order to ensure it remains compliant with Covid-19 guidelines.
Layouts of what the market might look like are still to be confirmed and are dependent on uptake and interest from businesses that would like to take part.
Aberdeen Inspired has confirmed it will be following all government guidelines in terms of safety within the site, and there will be distancing maintained between the stalls.
It’s anticipated there will be a range of different vendors, including arts and crafts, local produce and food and drink.
Craig Stevenson, Bon Accord manager, said: “It has been fantastic to have the opportunity to host Aberdeen’s Christmas Market at Bon Accord.
“We always look for ways to surprise and delight our visitors and this is no exception.
Money raised for Charlie House has not been ringfenced for any particular fund yet and will be used wherever “the need is greatest” – after the charity has experienced a 70% increase in requests for support from families over the coronavirus pandemic.
Susan Crighton, director of fundraising for Charlie House, added: “At a time when the charity sector is under great pressure from lack of funds, this is fantastic news for both Charlie House and the families we support.
“At the moment the world feels very different and as we adapt to a new kind of normal, having that festive magic and the ability to purchase and support local is wonderful.”
The market will be operating under strict restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
It will run Thursday to Sunday from November 26 to December 20. The market will then run from Monday, December 21 to Wednesday, December 23.
To apply for a stall visit the Aberdeen Inspired website. Applications must be in by October 23.