The Westport delegation and representatives from Purple Flag Ireland at the First Irish Awards Ceremony 10th February 2015. From left to right: Carmen Cronin (Purple Flag Ireland Manager), Richard Guiney (Purple Flag Ireland Chairman), Neill O'Neill, Michael Ring TD, Cllr Christy Hyland, Stephaine Colombani, Pamela Flanagan, Dermot Langan and Rhona Chambers.
Westport is today celebrating being awarded a Purple Flag, the smallest town to-date to join the Purple standard. Westport is now one of over 50 towns and cities across the UK and Ireland who have been awarded with Purple Flag status for their achievements in helping people have a great night out and one of 10 Irish towns awarded.
The town went through a rigorous programme called Purple Flag Academy which started in May 2014 including workshops, self-assessment and final application by the end of last year and were in turn assessed independently in December. Passing all 30 Purple Flag criteria as well as the minimum thresholds of decreasing crime statistics, appropriate transport, a vibrant appeal, a stimulating destination and a strong partnership; the town was particularly commended in the following areas:
Westport with its excellent variety and choice of eating venues and buzzing pubs was commended on its substantial partnership working across the membership of the group and on equal measure within each sector supported by a highly committed Tidy Towns Team.
Purple Flag is a town and city centre award - similar to the Blue Flag for beaches - which aims to raise the standard and broaden the appeal of town and city centres in the evenings and at night. The scheme is managed by the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) working alongside the Purple Flag Advisory Committee - a partnership of key stakeholder groups backed by Government, police and business, as well as sponsors Diageo Great Britain. Purple Flag accredited towns and cities have proven that they are welcoming to everyone, offer safe ways for visitors to travel home after dark and provide a good mix of venues. Purple Flag towns and cities benefit from more visitors, lower crime and anti-social behaviour and improved perceptions of centres.
Neill O'Neill, President of the Westport Chamber commented: “We are delighted that Westport has been awarded the Purple Flag status, in recognition of our dedicated efforts and investment in the creation and enhancement of our night time economy. We are very proud to fly the Purple Flag, reflecting the strength of ongoing partnerships and engagement activities with residents. We will promote the Purple Flag and use it as a stepping stone in our continuing development of a vibrant and safe night time environment for both our residents and visitors.”
Westport joins 4 other newly accredited Irish towns Galway, Mullingar, Sligo and Waterford bringing the overall number of Irish Purple Flags to a milestone of ten in total. They had their new Purple Flag status formally recognised at the First Irish Awards Ceremony that took place in Dublin on 10th February 2015.
ATCM Programme Manager Jonny Birkett, speaking on behalf of the assessment panel comments, “It is fantastic for the local community and for Westport to be awarded a Purple Flag. Westport has worked very hard to create a safe and well-managed evening and night time environment, with a variety of social activities on offer for residents of all ages. The panel was particularly impressed with the town’s substantial partnership working across the membership of the group and on equal measure within each sector supported by a highly committed Tidy Towns Team.”
About Purple Flag
The Purple Flag programme was developed following the Civic Trust Night Vision report in 2006, and is now run by the Association of Town & City Management, London.
Purple Flag is:
· An accreditation process similar to Green Flag Award for schools and Blue Flag for beaches. It leads to Purple Flag status for town centres that meet or surpass the standards of excellence in the evening and night-time economy.
· A comprehensive set of standards, management processes and good practice examples designed to help transform town and city centres in the evening and at night.
· A research, training and development programme, to help towns and cities improve their evening and night-time economy.
· A positive initiative that indicates an entertaining, diverse, safe and enjoyable night out.
For more information see www.atcm.org/purple_flag