Signage for Up The Garden Path with vendors kneeling in front

Collaborative Retail Project Creates a Real Buzz in Peterborough 

Award-winning Peterborough-based community project ‘Up The Garden Bath’ are celebrating a summer of success after their UNITY pop-up shop generated sales of nearly £50,000 for small local businesses in just 10 weeks.

Up The Garden Bath assembled 70 small retailers in two temporary pop-up shops in Peterborough’s Queensgate Shopping Centre as they urged shoppers to ditch the big high street brands and purchase products created by local businesses, crafters, makers and artists.

A group of retailers from the Peterborough UNITY shop

Co founder Kez Hayes Palmer explained:

“I read that if every adult in the UK spent £5 a week in their local shops and businesses, instead of online, at the supermarket or with huge multinationals. It would be worth £13.5 Billion going directly back into our towns and cities. Which means real jobs, better facilities, and nicer places to live. Shop local and the money goes into the local economy not funding some billionaires’ next trip to space! We decided to call the project UNITY as we wanted to try and unite people with a shared collaborative project that brought people together and empowered them.”

She added “After two previous successful smaller trials in 2021 & 2022 we approached the management team of Queensgate earlier this year about the possibility of expanding our UNITY Store and trying something a little larger. They have always been supportive of the aims of our UNITY project and are keen to support local businesses wherever possible by giving them the opportunity to reach a larger audience.

Initially, we moved into the vacant former Paperchase unit on 8th June. We quickly transformed the empty unit into a colourful, vibrant community hub featuring a wide and varied range of products from 40 small local vendors, charities, crafters, makers, artists & small businesses within a 50-mile radius of Peterborough.”

Kez continued “We wanted to create more than just another shop. We always try to instil a sense of fun, community spirit, and family wherever we go. For us, it’s about more than just selling products, it’s about making friends, bonding & meeting creative individuals and hearing their stories and feeling their passion. We wanted to offer a permanently accessible crafting table with a wide range of free activities. We arranged and organised free, daily, fun workshops accessible to all ages and abilities.

We set an ambitious target of generating £20,000 in sales for local businesses during our short 6 week stay and we were delighted to end our time in the first shop with sales of £22,500. A brilliant result considering the current economic situation.

The feedback from shoppers was outstanding and we cannot thank everyone enough for supporting our aims and helping us achieve our goals by choosing to purchase products from our store.”

Retailers behind the 'Up The Garden Bath' pop-up shop counter

Co-founder Dave Poulton added:

Queensgatehttp://www.upthegardenbath.co.uk were so impressed with the success of the project and the positive buzz it was creating that they asked us to extend and expand the project for a further 6 weeks into a larger, more prestigious and prominent location.

Queensgate kindly offered us the use of the former Next unit situated in their main shopping square. This larger space allowed us to go bigger, bolder, and better and enabled us to increase the number of vendors in-store to over 60. We set an increased target of £25,000 to add to the initial £22,500 generated in our first store and as of the 20th August, we have a cumulative total of over £48,000.

We are open until 31st August and we are encouraging people to pop in, shop local and support local businesses. It has been a summer of laughter and fun as we have created something special that has touched so many in a positive way. There is still time to show your support and it’s never to early to pick up that Christmas gift.”

He continued “In total over 75 local businesses have been involved over the last 12 weeks and we are proud that people have united behind our cause. Nearly 4,000 sales transactions prove there’s a big demand for a store like UNITY and we are hopeful that we will pop up again in Queensgate closer to Christmas.

We have been partnering with Queensgate for a couple of years now and we always deliver projects to the highest possible standard. Hopefully, we can find a way we can make UNITY a permanent fixture within the centre and continue to support local businesses whilst offering an enjoyable, varied experience to shoppers.

Shopping habits are changing, and the cost-of-living crisis is making people think twice about spending but we believe that our UNITY project can breathe life back into the high street and local economy.”

Funding and Endorsements

This latest success for ‘Up The Garden Bath’ comes after a stellar year for the educational and environmental community project which has seen them endorsed by Big Issue founder Lord Bird, awarded £70,000 funding from ITV & The National Lottery Community Fund in the 2023 People’s Project, educate and entertain 4,000 kids during the summer holidays as part of Queensgates’ Kids Kingdom events and secure agreement with AEPG Group to create a community garden on 7 acres of land as part of the proposed redevelopment plan for the East of England Showground pending planning application approval from Peterborough City Council.

‘A Rising Tide Lifts all Boats’

Kez Hayes Palmer commented “We are always looking to grow our community and a rising tide lifts all boats. We hope we can continue to get support from so many wonderful local organisations who believe in what we are doing and want to be part of our journey, we are stronger together and together we are strong.”

The pop-up shop runs until August 31st so please show your support and pop into the UNITY pop-up shop in Queensgate Shopping Centre – Peterborough.

If you want more information contact the team from Up The Garden Bath or visit

You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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