Entertainment to woo festive shoppers on Small Business Saturday

Southend Standard: Entertainment to woo festive shoppers on Small Business Saturday Entertainment to woo festive shoppers on Small Business Saturday

WICKFORD will be the focus for the first attempt of a Small Business Saturday by Basildon Coucnil.

It is boosting the town’s four-week Christmas market with free face-painting, fairground rides and free parking for visitors, to encourage more people to shop the stalls.

If the trial goes well it could be rolled out across the borough in the next few years.

Wickford’s Saturday markets are continuing until December 21. This weekend’s entertainment will run between noon and 2pm.

Tony Ball, leader of the council said: “This will be an excellent boost for the High Street and local residents and traders, and will add to the vibrancy of the town during the festive period.

“We encourage residents to shop locally every Saturday by offering free weekend parking in all of our council car parks throughout the year, a scheme that we extend during the festive period.”

Meanwhile instead of just concentrating on small businesses during one weekend, Basildon Town Centre Management boss Hans Wustefeld has been trying to boost trade all winter.

Since the Christmas lights were switched on in the town on November 16, car parking has been free in Basildon Town Centre Management car parks on Sundays and after 6pm on late night shopping days.

He has organised a host of free entertainment to bring more shoppers to the traders.

Tomorrow, children’s entertainers will be on hand to make youngsters laugh.

There is also a free Santa’s grotto running until December 22, which gives all children a free gift and photograph.

Mike Horton, manager of Eastgate Centre, said: “We always have things going on, it is not just about this Saturday.

We have a big programme of activities going on until Christmas.

“The more people you can attract into town the better.

“We teamed up with BTCM and Basildon Council for the launch of Christmas in Basildon and we saw a dramatic increase of people coming in and we had a superb turnout.

The traders loved it.”

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