Christmas market at Leeds Corn Exchange cancelled due to national Covid lockdown

The five-week market was due to take place at Leeds Corn ExchangeThe five-week market was due to take place at Leeds Corn Exchange
The five-week market was due to take place at Leeds Corn Exchange
A Christmas market at Leeds Corn Exchange has been cancelled just days after it was announced.

Leeds events company Rolling Social was due to host the free market at the grade I listed landmark from November 20, running every Friday for five weeks.

The market would have celebrated the city's independent traders, with street food offerings from around the world including burgers and bagels from New York, pies from Yorkshire, bratwurst from Berlin, and bao buns from Asia.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a second lockdown in an address to the nation this weekend, with all non-essential shops set to close on Thursday.

The new restrictions mean the Christmas market has been cancelled, to the disappointment of Rolling Social co-founder Samantha Fish.

Samantha said: "It’s heartbreaking to not be able to bring such a lovely event to the people of Leeds and its surrounding areas.

"We were all set to celebrate this great city and all its independent offers but sadly it won’t be this year.”

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Leeds Corn Exchange manager Adam Warner said: “We are disappointed to not host the Christmas Market but encourage shoppers to keep an eye on our boutiques, many of whom will offer online shopping.

"It’s more important than ever to support local and support independents.”

Traders have issued a desperate appeal for people to shop local this Christmas and support the city’s independents in any way they can.

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From clothes shops to cocktail bars, business owners say swapping a corporate for a local venture just once can make a real difference as traders head into what is usually the busiest time of year.

Samantha warned that, without the backing of people in Leeds, the city’s high street could be left with just corporate chains.

She said: "How do we rebuild this economy if we carry on like this? Independents in Leeds won’t exist, it will become a city of big businesses.

"We are a big independent city. It’s just not going to be as attractive a place to come if people don’t support these independents this Christmas. They just won’t survive.

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“I know a lot of operators in Leeds and the struggle is very real for them. It’s quite scary.”

Rolling Social will continue to run its virtual 'Sip Along' events, where ticket holders receive a sample of drinks delivered to their home and a link to join the event by Zoom.

They are then taken through the samples by experts and the tastings range from whiskies and rums from all over the world to gins, vodkas, and wines.

Samantha added: "It’s been a joy to bring people together while apart.

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"We have regulars just as a bar would; we have people who really throw themselves into it – some dress up as if going out, some cook huge meals, others prefer to remain anonymous and join for the knowledge and education.

"We know from feedback that they have been a lifeline for many which gives us great pleasure because that’s what Rolling Social is about.”

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