Aberystwyth has become the first town in Wales to achieve the Purple Flag Award.
Purple Flag is an accreditation scheme that recognises excellence in the management of town and city centres at night. It aims to raise standards so that what is now called the ‘night time economy’ can thrive in a way that is safe and crime-free. Just as Blue Flag is an indicator of a good beach, Purple Flag is an indicator of where to go for a good night out and brings positive publicity for successful town and city centres.
The award considers issues such as perceptions, policing, licensing, pedestrian routes, different agencies working together, public transport and taxis, parking, crowd management, information, food and dining, pubs and bars, other attractions, arts and culture, diversity and identity.
The ‘Aber@Nos/Night’ project involves a number of organisations working together to address night time economy issues. Partners of the project include Ceredigion County Council, Aberystwyth Town Council, Aberystwyth University, the Guild of Students, Dyfed Powys Police along with others such as the Chamber of Commerce and Menter Aberystwyth.
* The ‘Sshhh!’ campaign - aiming to heighten awareness of noise at night and to be mindful of local residents.
* The Best Bar None Award scheme - rewards licensed premises which fulfil the requirements of this UK award scheme which aims to recognise and reward businesses which are serious about customer care, customer safety and offer a quality venue.
* The Validate Card - an approved proof of age scheme.
As part of this work, officers from Ceredigion County Council’s Public Health Protection service also attend Aberystwyth University Fresher’s Fayre, Coleg Ceredigion, secondary schools and community events to give health improvement and alcohol harm reduction information.
All this increases positive rather than negative activity at night and supports the town’s economy. This was evident recently where over a 1000 people attended the Christmas Lights event which was a collaboration between ‘Aber@Nos/Night’, the Town Council, the Chamber of Commerce, Radio Ceredigion, local businesses and Santa who also attended.
More events are planned and it is hoped that five or six annual events will become a regular feature of the town, during which time the ‘behind the scenes’ work with regards to keeping Aberystwyth safe, mobile, vibrant, clean and efficient will continue.
Aberystwyth was independently assessed for the Purple Flag Award over the weekend of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of March.