North Wales' first African market opens its doors in Wrexham

The empty shop on the city's Queen Street is now "Obehi's"

After three years of fundraising, an African community market has finally opened its doors in Wrexham.

It means people no longer have to travel more than 50 miles away to get ingredients that remind them of home.

The empty shop on the city's Queen Street is now "Obehi's" and the person running it is Omonigno Idegun.

"It took a lot of time and money" she explained.

Omonigno said this has been a big project for her

"Since 2020 we have been planning it and last year we got funding for it so we've been working on it and it's been time consuming but at least you can see it now and it's here.

"I'm happy in multiple ways because the aim of this is to support Africans and the closest place we can buy traditional food was Manchester or Birmingham so right now we have it on the doorstep because most of our community members can't afford to take a day off to travel to do shopping so now we have it here and they can have a taste of home".

Andrew Saidu is one of the Director's of the project, he said Wrexham has become a diverse city which needs a shop like Obehi's.

"If you go and look in the health sector right now we have so many African nurses and healthcare workers." He said.

"They have all flocked into the city...the city is completely diverse".

The shelves have been stocked with herbs and spices from all over Africa and there is a daily supply of fruit and vegetables - including sweet potatoes and bananas from Nigeria.

Father Nicholas Enzama is the Dean of Wrexham Cathedral and has lived in the city for eight years. He believes the shop is a way to bring communities together.

He said: "The number of Africans living in Wrexham increases day-by-day and in the past when there were fewer they used to travel all the way to Coventry or other parts where there are a number of Africans so they could get some type of African food that they like to have.

"It doesn't mean this food is only for Africans. It is meant for the community so the community will also have a taste of what Africans have as part of their food".

The market offers herbs and spices from all over Africa and there is a daily supply of fruit and vegetables

He added: "Africa is a continent and each country has different food. I can see potatoes and I'm pretty sure they're from Uganda. I can also see bananas from Nigeria - I will definitely come here for the bananas."

Like many towns and cities across Wales, there are many empty shops in Wrexham. Mayor Andy Williams said he was excited to officially open the community market.

"I think it's the first African market in north Wales and we are so pleased it's in Wrexham city." He said.

"It's a shop that's been empty and it's been rejuvenated into the African community shop and the African community are a big, big part of the city of Wrexham."

The plan now is to grow the shop into something bigger for communities to enjoy together.