STALLHOLDERS and businesses are being invited to support a virtual Christmas Market being organised for Holmes Chapel.

The Holmes Chapel Christmas Market usually takes place on the first Sunday in December, and attracts about 40 stallholders.

It is not taking place this year because of social distancing rules, but Holmes Chapel Partnership has stepped in to create an online alternative to boost village businesses and offer some much-needed festive cheer.

The Holmes Chapel 2020 Virtual Christmas Market will feature on the partnership website, and will offer the chance for stallholders and businesses to promote their products free of charge and for villagers to see at a glance what’s on offer.

“Covid-19 has unfortunately put paid to the conventional market, but we weren’t to be beaten,” said partnership chairman Hazel Sutcliffe.

“We have moved our market online, and through the creation of this virtual Christmas market we hope to provide inspiration for interesting Christmas gifts.

“We would like to bring local businesses together with local customers to make sure the whole community has a festive season to remember even though it has to be different this year.

“We hope this portal website will make it easy for people to find the products and services they are seeking, with people being able to just scroll down to see the categories and what’s on offer.

“The stallholders listed on the virtual market will range from one-person businesses through to more established businesses that have been trading for many years.

“They are all trying to provide a product or service in these very difficult times.

“While global supply chains appeared to many to be the only way to do business, Covid-19 has made many of us think about this.

“Given the choice, we would all like to spend more money with businesses in our own community, and this portal gives people the opportunity to do that.”

The website is being created by Peter Whiers from the partnership, and people will be able to apply for a free stall on the market from Sunday, October 18, with the deadline for applications being Sunday, November 15.

Peter said: “The Virtual Christmas Market is probably here to stay.

“Even when we do have the traditional Christmas market next year, fingers crossed, we are still going to create a website so that people can see what’s going to be on the market.”