Worker Bee Markets have launched their Artisan Awards earlier than planned to give talented local makers a focus during lockdown.

The first ever Worker Bee Artisan Awards, sponsored by Poynton estate agents Snapes, were scheduled to launch next month, on the day of the next market in Bramhall Village centre. However, curator and organiser Clare Simpson has brought this forward.

“These are uncertain times for us all” she tells us. “Many of our makers are self-employed and rely on our markets to sell their handmade goods and make money. With the closure of markets and the government schemes not yet paying out, our makers and traders are struggling to make ends meet.

“The Awards will help makers focus on their talents and the good things in life. From their own isolation, they will be creating new designs, recipes and building up their stock. Our makers tell us they will even enjoy standing in the rain once this is over!”

The Awards, all named after the Worker Bee concept are as follows: Pollen Award offering marketing support for new businesses, provided by Stockport’s Aqua Design Group; Honeycomb Award offering upto £500 towards a piece of equipment to help a business grow; Beeswax Award to reward sustainability and green criteria; Beehive Award to reward the best stall layout. The Nectar Award celebrates the best-tasting produce or food. Traders and Makers will vote for the best venue in the Beekeeper Award. The public can get involved too by voting for their favourite stall, who they think is the Bees’ Knees.

Winners will receive an award commissioned and handmade by their peers and a cheque for £100 each to help their business grow.

The self-nominating awards will close on 31 July. The judges’ awards and the customer award will stay open for a few months after we are all back attending markets in a safe and positive way.

In the meantime, Clare is enjoying the good weather from her back garden whilst growing bee-friendly herbs and plants to encourage more bees.

More information on who can apply and how to apply are on the Worker Bee Markets website

Worker Bee Markets have suspended events until after lockdown.