Bellingen Community Markets (BCM) is an activity of the Bellingen Shire Resident’s Association (BSRA). It was originally conceived to display and sell local, lovingly grown produce, along with unique arts and craft work prevalent to the Bellingen Shire. The market found a spiritual home and foundations when established at Bellingen Park in 1980.
From good little things, big things grow. Held every 3rd Saturday of the month, the market started with a few stalls and over the years has grown to approximately 260. Profits from the event are returned to the community via contributions to local community groups, educational, sporting and arts organisations. Apart from community contributions and employment and training opportunities, BCM seeks to engage the community in the stewardship of the event and its environment by inviting a local community organisation as the Community Group of the Month. They assist staff with setting up and packing down the market and are given a free site to share their info with visitors while they man the gates with a donation bucket raising needed funds for their organisation. The networking, sharing and bucket shaking has positive outcomes for the groups.
A Market Manager is employed to organise the event and there are a dozen skilled staff to help on market day. Staff are trained in Traffic Control, OH&S, First Aid and fully inducted into the operational and safety procedures ensuring the safe and efficient running of BCM.
Improvements to the ‘market at Bellingen Park are undertaken by BCM in partnership with stakeholders involved, such as Bellingen Shire Council, Bellingen Valley & Dorrigo Rugby League Football Club – Pathways, Environmental Regeneration projects, entertainment stage, seating and the Waste Management Recycling System initiative with much more ongoing.
The market provides many benefits to the Bellingen Shire community. With thousands of visitors attending once a month, it creates a positive flow on effect to local businesses, accommodation houses and the tourism industry. People visit from far and wide, some of them staying for the weekend.
BCM exists as it did in ancient times; as a cultural, social, and commercial gathering place where locals mix with travelers from distant places, delicious food and beverages are enjoyed in the company of family and friends (old & new), fantastic live music is played and appreciated and the essentials and non-essentials are bought and sold with bargains galore.
Come and enjoy a day at Bellingen Markets and you will discover……
Bellingen Community Markets is not just a marketplace but a great place to be