Orange Pip Market, Middlesbrough: Council turns to businesses to help secure future of much-loved market

Ways of securing the future of a much-loved event are being explored by the local council, including sponsorship from local businesses.

Despite pitch prices being increased this year, the Orange Pip Market, in Middlesbrough, is expected to run at a loss of around £1,300 for each event. Rising costs and spending pressures faced by Middlesbrough Council have led it to seek “more sustainable models” for running the event.

This includes sponsorship from local businesses and a new cultural ambassador scheme which enables companies and stakeholders to support events held throughout the year including the Orange Pip Market, as well as the Mela, Middlesbrough Pride, Middlesbrough Art Week and the Taste of Africa carnival. In the event the council cannot attract external help, it may be forced to reduce the size of the popular event or move it on to Centre Square.

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Deputy Mayor and executive member for education and culture, Coun Phillippa Storey said: “Due to the financial situation at the council we had to prioritise it now if we want Orange Pip to continue, which obviously we do. Originally it was part of the regeneration of the independent area within Middlesbrough and it’s become a key focus for those businesses, and other businesses as well.

The Orange Pip Market in MiddlesbroughThe Orange Pip Market in Middlesbrough
The Orange Pip Market in Middlesbrough

“We wanted to make sure that we kept it as a very important market; an event for Middlesbrough. It’s critical to a lot of businesses including our own – including the town hall – so it was really important that we worked out how and in what way we could keep Orange Pip alive and kicking.”

The market in Baker Street and Bedford Street was established in 2016 and brings together art, music and family activities, as well as food and drink from around the world. Bringing in an estimated £1m to the local economy, it impacts more than 100 businesses and traders and is deemed vital for many independent micro bars, pubs, cafes, restaurants and shops in the area.

“If we can make Orange Pip self-sustaining then obviously it’s got a solid future and we know we can take it forward,” said Coun Storey. “It’s just making sure businesses are aware of the sponsorship programme as we would really like their help in making sure Orange Pip stays where it is.”

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The council’s financial woes led to an approach to Government for exceptional financial support, which allowed it to borrow £13.4m. Proposed savings as part of a ‘transformation programme’ total £13.9m in 2024/25 rising to £21m by 2026/27 while other measures set to be introduced include the maximum council tax hike, fortnightly waste collections and a £40 annual charge for green waste collection.

Should the council be unable to attract sponsorship and support for the Orange Pip Market, Coun Storey said they would consider other ways to cut costs such as holding the event on Centre Square or reducing the size of the market. She also said they are planning to make changes to future events.

“We are trying to take it back to what is was originally,” she said. “Over the last few years it has become more in the realms of alcohol-related but we are trying to get it more family-orientated again.”

For further information about sponsorship, the cultural ambassador scheme and the benefits available, contact Gaye Kirby at [email protected]

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