Winner proposes organising food-related events and a local cookbook for the London market

Students at the University of Westminster have entered a competition to devise innovative and original proposals to attract new customers to London’s Church Street market.

Even though the neighbourhood has a strong community, the market, off the Edgware Road in central London, has suffered from a lack of promotion and marketing in recent years.

Final-year student Piotr Bakker, who is studing for a BA in Business Management, was awarded first place for his promotional idea of organising cooking demonstrations and a cookbook for the market.

Edward Quigley, Church Street neighbourhood officer for economic development, praised Bakker for considering some of the benefits of the market.

He said: “The idea of using local produce within the recipes is exactly in the spirit of how the redevelopment of the market should be approached. The cooking demonstrations idea is excellent and appeals to the publics senses of taste, smell and sight.”

Bakker admitted as a business student he doesn’t get many chances to be creative and that the competition encouraged his creativity. He added: “Having said that, it was a challenge which allowed me to put my skills to the test and see how fast I can run compared to others.”

In joint second place were proposals from Rachel Onojafe, who is studying for a MA in Marketing Communications, and first-year BA Business Studies student Vlastimil Voracek.

Onojafe’s comprehensive branding, public relations and marketing proposal focused on the links between the market’s look, logo and liveliness. The organisers said she had really understood the strong sense of community and character of Church Street.

Onojafe said: “I realise how much building a brand involves truly understanding the customers involved. Church Street market is a very old institution which holds the loyalty of the community surrounding it. Their needs and backgrounds must be considered.”

Voracek’s proposal focused on the diversity of the community. His looked at Church Street being a central point for cultural festivals, such as Easter, Eid and Diwali. “I wanted to find out more about the community of this vibrant part of cosmopolitan London, and Church Street market is the part of it.”

Laura Hirst, of the Centre for Excellence in Professional Learning, who works with the university, said: “As a consequence of the interest in the competition the university has furthered its relationship with Church Street and our academic teams have started to develop course-related projects.”