This is an archive of the work by the original Margate Town Team which successfully won the Portas Pilot bid. It runs from the conception of the bid in March 2012 until August 2012.

For current Margate Town Team organisation see: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Margate-Town-Team/248042955318289?fref=ts and www.margatetownteam.org.uk

Margate Town Team have organised ‘Talking Shop’, the first in a series of free public events to help local people consider the future of the High Street.

Poster to download print  off and put up.

The event takes place on Tuesday 10th July at the old Woolworth’s at 31-33 High Street, Margate. To help lead discussions and generate ideas, Town Team have invited some independent experts with experience in helping small towns. They’ve all volunteered their time free of charge.

Everyone is welcome to attend, and there will be sessions running in the afternoon and the early evening. The afternoon session runs from 2pm – 4.30pm and the evening session from 6pm – 8.30pm.

You can also sign up to the event on our dedicated Facebook page at:

Guest Speakers on the day include:

Dan Thompson (Founder of the Empty Shops Network)
Founder of the Empty Shops Network and an expert in the creative use of empty shops. He was widely acclaimed for leading the #riotcleanup in London last year earning praise from Prime Minister David Cameron and winning a Team London Award from the Mayor of London. Named in GQ’s 100 most influential men in Britain last year, he has pioneered the use of shops as high street community hubs and organized the first national empty shops conference in 2009.
Dan is author of the Arts Council commissioned report: ‘Popup People’ available to download as a PDF here.

Paul Turner-Mitchell
Whether it be taking shop local campaigns to Downing Street, getting his local council to introduce free car parking or setting up an independent flagship local emporium of independent retailers, Paul Turner Mitchell is a passionate and campaigner for North West retail. The Rochdale boutique owner has emerged as one of the most articulate and well-informed voices standing up for independent retailers and is a regular commentator for national and regional media. Paul writes columns for Drapers and Retail Week, and some of the more recent issues he has campaigned on include business rates, credit insurance and diversity on the high streets. His boutique has been shortlisted by the prestigious Drapers Awards for the last 2 years running as Young Fashion Retailer of the Year and Paul was personally included in last year’s Top 100 Powerlist as one of the most influential people in

Joe & Tom Barratt
Joe Barratt is a nineteen year old young filmmaker and creative entrepreneur. He is the founder and festival director of Screen
Stockport Short Film and Television Festival, a grassroots, independent festival which gives filmmakers of all ages and
experiences a platform to share their work and network with industry professionals.

Continuing his work supporting fellow young people, Joe set up The Teenage Market with his younger brother Tom, an initiative that gives young, creative entrepreneurs a free market stall to sell their products and young performers a platform to showcase their talents.

Joe is currently in the process of establishing Seven Miles Out Digital and Visual Arts Centre, which aims to be a hub for film, music and art, after his short film helped secure the Portas Pilot Bid for Stockport.

Tom Barratt is a seventeen year old Art and Design student, who set up The Teenage Market to give a free platform to young creative
entrepreneurs and performers. The Teenage Market took place as a one off event on Sunday 1st April in Stockport Market Hall, with over 70 stallholders selling creative products including graphic prints, customised clothing, handmade jewellery and quirky craft items.

Roxana Tesla
Roxana is founder of the Rough Trade Margate collaborative trading space and Margate Town Team.

We invite you to grab a suitcase or two (maximum two per person),  fill it with things you wish to sell and join the conga of have-a-go market sellers, stretching from The Old Town right up the High Street. It runs from 10am to 2.30pm. All you need to do is turn up with your case of stuff and that’s it.

It’s all part of supporting Love Your Market and National Market Day. For further info phone 07967 051915 and email info@margatetownteam.org.uk

Help us promote this event by downloading the Suitcase Conga Poster and putting it up where people can see it. Choose the print settings ‘fit to page’ so you can print A4 or A3 for example. It would be great if anyone can help us print us off a fair quantity to distribute around the town.

More info on supporting your local markets:

Thank you Margate!

A big thank you to everyone who made it along to our gathering at the ex-Woolworth’s building in Margate High Street last night, it was an amazing night.

The many positive comments and offers of help from everyone who joined us have been really inspiring.

The ideas wall was brilliant and we will now be taking it with us wherever we go to show people how passionate Margate is about its High Street!

To everyone who turned out on a grey night, thank you for your time. If you didn’t leave us contact details do send us an email to info AT margatetownteam.org.uk and we will add you to our mailing list. For those of you, and there were many, who did leave us details, we’ll be in touch to double check what you were interested in getting more information on.

For those of you who weren’t there and haven’t caught up with some of the comments online, the Queen of Shops, Mary Portas also joined us with a TV crew from Optomen TV. They are planning on making a programme about the High Street and we are working with them to decide what our involvement will be. We are keen to benefit from the expertise and ideas that Mary has to regenerate Margate but need to be mindful of the need for us to be able to get to work on the aims identified in our bid.

Here’s what Mary had to say: http://margateneverruns.com/post/24976748215/mary-portas-talks-to-margate with transcript and video.

As we have more news about this, we’ll let you know. In the meantime, if you have any photos or short videos of the event, we have a Margate Town Team group in flickr that you can upload to.

Finally, the Oscars bit of the speech…

Thank you to the building’s owners for letting us use Woolworths – amazing space – free of charge (let’s hope it’s not long before it’s open again permanently).

Thank you to Jamie Moore for the live music, Kapo, Mandy and Gavin with their  vintage Dreamland ice-cream bike, thank you to everyone who helped clean up, set up and take down the market stalls. Thank you really to everyone who helped. Thank you for coming down, thank you for your support. You know who you are!

Stay tuned for more news from your Town Team. But if you have thoughts or news, please let us know!

Why not join the discussions with us and like our Facebook Page
We’re also on Twitter as @margatetownteam

Press Release 13th June 2012

We’ve been busy! And we’re really pleased to let everyone know that we will be opening up the empty Woolworth’s building at 31-33 High Street, Margate for a public event.

On Tuesday June 12th at 6.30pm until 8.30pm we invite you to come and see what it’s all about and give your input.

The Town Team’s bid was chosen as one of the first 12 towns in the UK to become one of the ‘Portas Pilot Towns’ with Margate Town Team being awarded the maximum allocation of £100,000 funding from the Government. We know this sum of money can’t fix everything that needs fixing in a street, never mind a town. But we can achieve much much more by working together as a community.


This weekend we put the call out and a band of volunteers turned out on their weekend, brooms and mops in hand to give the wonderful Woolworth’s Building a good scrub. Windows you can now see through! Thank you to everyone who turned up and helped. We also had lots of passers by stop and ask us what it was all about.


Rest assured, dear reader, not a penny has been spent thus far! We don’t have any! But if we did…we’d be just as frugal.

Please download, print off and stick up a poster to show your support for Margate High Street:
Margate Town Team Public Meeting 12th June (PDF)
We love Margate High Street

We are so delighted here at Margate Town Team that Margate has been chosen as one of the first 12 towns in the UK to become one of the so called ‘Portas Pilot Towns’. The successful bids were announced on Saturday the 26th of May, with Margate Town Team being awarded the maximum allocation of £100,000 funding.

Our bid was singled out by the Government for its aims to bring enjoyment, education and creativity to the High Street, along with projects to foster enterprise, provide opportunities for young people through pop-up shops, job clubs and have a go markets.

We’re now working to set priorities from the successful bid and looking forward to welcoming Mary and her team back to Margate. We’d like to invite anyone with ideas and who would like to get involved to contact us. Send us an email: info@margatetownteam.org.uk

We’re waiting for next instructions from Government, so in the meantime we know the people of Margate want to know more and how to get involved, so we’re setting up a series of drop in info points in shops around Margate . None of this costing a penny and all done on good will of everyone involved. All very DIY! You can be rest assured we haven’t got any funds yet and we won’t be spending the precious prize on things we can organise ourselves. We will also be shortly announcing the date and venue of a public Town Team meeting in Margate that everyone who is interested can come along to.

Please do like us on Facebook and on Twitter we’re @margatetownteam

Can’t tell you how excited we are that our Margate Town Team Portas Pilot bid went in. We hear they have received 350 bids from across the country. We hope the energy that the town put into organising our Big Margate Sing In in the High Street epitomises everything we’re doing to turn around our High Street.

Taking part in the bid has been a great experience. Margate has a community willing to come together to collaborate and work on a collective vision. People genuinely want the chance to make their town better. We know, we go out and speak to people. Whether we win the chance to be one of Mary Portas’ 12 pilot town teams or not, we’ve now set the wheels in motion for lots of positive change. At the end of this post are our list of Portas Bid Aims. We welcome your ideas too. Please do get in touch.

Isn’t it often said that it’s the taking part that’s important? Well, in this case it’s true. We’ll be publishing details of future Margate Town Team meetings and gatherings for everyone to get involved with. We hope you will enjoy  the videos that have formed part of our bid. We decided to show Mary Portas what we could organise in less than 48 hours with no budget and a whole lot of good will. People came together from all over the area to breathe life into the street. So a big thank you to everyone who made Margate High Street last Saturday. We know we can do so much more.

And we are so so pleased to see that our Margate bid video has been chosen by Empty Shop Network pioneer Dan Thompson in his personal list of 11 inspirational bids!

There are many more videos of interviews on our Margate Town Team YouTube channel.

If you have any photos from the event, please add them to our Margate Town Flickr group.

We will be uploading more videos on our Margate Town Team Youtube Channel.

As ever, please spread the word and support Margate’s bid on Facebook, Twitter and the universe!

Margate Town Team Bid Aims:

Ensuring strong leadership in the team through a diverse and passionate membership built on trust.

Getting the basics right to allow businesses to flourish.

Defining landlords’ roles and responsibilities.

We aim to do this through:

Working with education providers to open a base bringing a student economy to the town centre. Link training with retail and a restaurant.

Opening a quality market, with a variety of stalls, complimenting shops and increasing footfall.

Offering free or low-cost stalls to start-up businesses to “test the water”.

Fostering enterprise and supporting budding entrepreneurs in a low-risk environment with experienced traders as “business buddies”.  Working with Job Centre to explore making the transition from benefits to running own business.

Working with landlords to find ways to offer low-cost initial terms to run “pop-up” shops.

Carry out a survey of empty shops and liaise with landlords to maximise use.  Examine disincentives which lead them leaving  properties vacant. Explore  mechanisms to deal with uncooperative and speculative landlords.

Exploring creative uses of larger retail units by opening shared indoor market spaces.

Proactively marketing Margate as a place where business wants to come. Approaching artists and craftspeople to take up space. Blind Date style matchmaking for traders and properties.

Free Public WIFI and superfast broadband

Green space where visitors, residents and shoppers can relax

Tackling litter by opening a recycling point

Coordinating signage and decluttering street furniture to highlight Old Town, High Street & Northdown Road.

Piloting pedestrianisation of the upper High Street to encourage café culture and events improving the family atmosphere in evenings

Exploring ways to reduce overheads for businesses through collective purchasing. Eg bulk/group buying of – insurance, licensing, shopzone, utilities.

Employing a part-time High Street coordinator, supported by ‘connectors’

Opening a shop space HQ as a focal point for the community and businesses to meet.

We’re getting all excited about tomorrow’s Margate Big Sing In as we film the grande finale of Margate’s bid to be chosen as one of Mary Portas’ Pilot Towns.

Saturday 24th March
Outside Claire’s Accessories (below Rook’s), Margate High Street

So you can practice, here are the lyrics from Chas and Dave themselves. We’ll have them for you on the day.


Well I’ve been working hard to reach me target
To earn a few bob for a day trip down to Margate
I’m gonna blow the lot tomorrow on all me family
We catch the coach at eight so don’t be late, were off to see the sea

Hurry up will ya Grandad, come on were going

Down to Margate, don’t forget your buckets and spades and cossys and all
Down to Margate, we’ll have a pill of jellied eels at the cockle stall
Down to Margate, we’ll go on the pier and we’ll have a beer aside of the sea

Down to Margate, you can keep the Costa Brava, I’m telling ya mate I’d rather have a day down Margate with all me family

Along the promenade we spend some money
And we find a spot on the beach that’s simply sunny
The kids will all enjoy themself digging up the sand, collecting stones and winkle shells to take back home to nan

Behave yourself Grandad, or you won’t be going

Down to Margate, don’t forget your buckets and spades and cossies and all
Down to Margate, we’ll have a pill of jellied eels at the cockle stall
Down to Margate, we’ll go on the pier and we’ll have a beer aside of the sea
You can keep the Costa Brava and all that palava, going no farther, me i’d rather have me a day down Margate with all me family

Until tomorrow!

We hope you will come along and join us on Saturday the 24th of March (yes, that’s this Saturday, folks!) to take part in our special  Margate big sing in to support the funding bid for Margate High Street to be chosen as one of Mary Portas’ pilot towns. We’re putting the call out for everyone to help us show that our town should be awarded this great opportunity. So come one and all, and help us put on an event to remember.

Date: Saturday 24th March

Time: 1pm

Place: Outside Claire’s Accessories shop, Margate High Street (Upper End)

So, what’s going on? We’re organising a big sing in. No need to be shy, you’ll not be alone! Tell your friends and sign up on the Facebook page. Don’t worry if you won’t know the words, we’ll have that covered! What Margate needs is you!

We’ll be belting out a special Margate version of Chas and Dave’s classic ‘Down to Margate’ as the grand finale to our video entry.

If you could RSVP to info@margatetownteam.org.uk that would be smashing. And of course, tell your friends!