Co-founders of Peterborough eco-group Up The Garden Bath have set themselves an ambitious target for the year ahead as they look to generate £250,000 in sales for small city businesses.

Dave Poulton and Kez Hayes-Palmer were given the keys to their new, year-long store at Queensgate Shopping Centre on November 18, just in time for Christmas.

The store, named UNITY, takes its name from the word community, and illustrates how the dynamic duo are striving to bring together 50 small vendors all under one roof.

PCR FM host Kev Lawrence was on hand to cut the ribbon on opening day, surrounded by dozens of loyal UNITY supporters, just before Queensgate’s Christmas lights were switched on.

The shop, which can be found in the former Paperchase unit on the ground floor, is filled with amazing products and gifts from small business owners who all live within a 25 mile radius of Peterborough.

Vendors include crafters, artists, makers and start-ups - who all have been given the opportunity by Up The Garden Bath to reach a larger audience and grow their businesses through a presence in a brick-and-mortar store.

Since launching the UNITY project in 2021, Dave and Kez have run four hugely successful pop-up stores.

However, this time, UNITY will be open permanently for one year and the pair aim to generate sales of one-quarter-of-a-million-pounds as they encourage people to support local businesses.

Peterborough Matters: Emma Moon, Dave Poulton and Kez Hayes-PalmerEmma Moon, Dave Poulton and Kez Hayes-Palmer (Image: Up The Garden Bath)

‘Ambitious target’

Up The Garden Bath co-founder Dave Poulton said: “We have set an ambitious target and we are really confident that shoppers will support our aims and make this work.

“We are going to rotate the vendors throughout the year to give more and more businesses the opportunity to have a presence and be part of the experience.

“Our previous pop ups demonstrated the huge demand for our shop. We had nearly 5,000 transactions in just twelve weeks and that positive response has encouraged us to make the shop permanent.

“We have signed an initial one year contract but we hope that UNITY will be part of the Queensgate family for many years. We are a community shop that brings people together and unites them. It's a space where people can buy stunning, handmade local products, learn new skills and make new friends.

“Running a full time shop in Queensgate doesn't come cheap, luckily we have already been approached by a number of large local businesses who have shown an interest in our sponsorship packages. They all share our environmental and educational ethos and are keen to get involved and support our community project wherever possible.”

The success of the collaborative project has also inspired a number of the 50 traders to create a unique product for Up The Garden Bath, with a percentage of sale proceeds boosting funds for ongoing environmental projects throughout Cambridgeshire.

‘Record breaking day’

Kez said: “UNITY is very much about sustainability, we’ve become a throw away nation and a lot of products here are upcycled, which is great for the environment.

“On Saturday our store opening was a huge success and we couldn't have wished for anything better, it was a record breaking day and the shop was full of positive energy and smiling faces.

“The people of Peterborough were over the moon to see us again and it was amazing to see customers ring our bell of gratitude when they purchase a product from a small business.”

Visibility at Queensgate ‘priceless opportunity’

One local trader, who lives in Orton, takes charity shop clothing and up-cycles material into hair scrunchies.

Lena, who runs Nova by Nina, said: "I've been sewing since I was eight, and during lockdown, I began crafting satin bonnets. My journey with my hair has been a rollercoaster, I used to chemically straighten it.

“However, after cutting it off and embracing my natural hair, I developed a consistent hair care routine. This prompted me to share my creations, and soon, friends and family became customers. I wanted to extend that joy to a wider audience.

“In a wonderful collaboration with Up The Garden Bath, I've created a unique product by upcycling pre-loved skirts, t-shirts, and dresses. As part of our commitment to sustainable fashion, I've transformed these materials into trendy hair scrunchies. “Breaking into the online market has its challenges, making the visibility at Queensgate a priceless opportunity."

UNITY is open seven days a week and can be found on the ground floor of Queensgate Shopping Centre, next to Superdry.

If your business wants to get involved in the UNITY project please contact Dave and Kez at