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Swansea aiming to renew Purple Flag accreditation for city’s night-time economy

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Swansea is aiming for an eighth successive Purple Flag award for its nightlife

It’s one of only two places in Wales that can fly the flag which highlights how visitors can always expect an entertaining, diverse, safe and enjoyable night out. Swansea was the first in Wales to achieve the accolade. 

Now a partnership of organisations has submitted its bid to maintain Purple Flag status into 2022. The bid highlights a wide range of reasons why the city centre is the place to be now and in the future.

It comes as the city unveils a new CGI flythrough video to show how it plans to transform Wind Street – the heart of the city’s nightlife.

As a national initiative run by the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM), Purple Flag status rewards vibrant, diverse and safe city centres. The quality mark is the equivalent of Blue Flags for beaches and Green Flags for parks.

Swansea city centre was first awarded the status in 2014 in recognition of the excellence of its evening and night-time economy between 5pm and 5am. 

The new bid points to success stories such as new business openings, safety campaigns and the Enjoy Swansea Responsibly campaign to reinforce key Covid safety measures.

Forthcoming projects to strengthen Purple Flag status are set to include further regeneration, including the opening of Swansea Arena, extending the city centre ranger service into the evening and night-time economy and implementing a public space protection order (PSPO).

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Partners involved in the management of Swansea’s evening and night-time economy include Swansea Council, Swansea BID (Business Improvement District), South Wales Police, Swansea Street Pastors, St John Ambulance, Swansea University, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, many city centre businesses, Swansea Bay University Health Board and several local developers.

Artists impression of the newly refurbished Wind Street (Image: Swansea Council)

Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, the council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “Swansea city centre is a vibrant and viable place that keeps visitors coming back for more. Our £1bn regeneration programme will strengthen its appeal.

“Great initiatives by our evening and night-time economy partnership have a chance to flourish so everyone has a great time out in a safe environment.

“We’re very optimistic about retaining Purple Flag status though achieving this quality mark is no easy ride; the partnership has worked hard on keeping people safe right through the pandemic – and will continue to do so.”

Examples of city centre improvements introduced in recent years include a medical help point on The Strand dealing with injuries and those at risk from intoxication and a drop-off point on The Strand providing a vehicle drop-off and visitor meet-and-greet service. A Safe Spaces scheme offers customers information and support to help deal with vulnerability. Best Bar None now has 24 premises accredited for customer service standards.

The council has transformed The Kingsway into a greener, pedestrian-friendly destination, is developing Wind Street into an all-day hospitality quarter and plans to improve Castle Square with new greenery and other reasons to visit.

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The emerging Copr Bay district, with 3,500-capacity arena, parkland, new businesses, homes, parking and landmark bridge over Oystermouth Road, is due to open in the coming months. Shows already on sale for the arena include Alice Cooper with The Cult, Rhod Gilbert, Rob Brydon and Diversity.

The Purple Flag partners will find out later this year whether or not the city has retained its Purple Flag.

Wind Street is the heart of Swansea’s night-time economy

Russell Greenslade, chief executive of Swansea BID (Business Improvement District), said: “The Purple Flag is a mark of the hard work our city centre hospitality and night-time businesses do to ensure a safe and enjoyable night out; we’re pleased to play our part in this as Swansea BID.

“As a BID we’ve just invested in extra night marshals, to help things run smoothly as our students return to Swansea, as well as safeguarding and cleansing teams previously.

“We’re happy to manage and deliver the Best Bar None scheme, that helps improves standards through a combination of responsible management, ongoing improvements, and social responsibility.

“We’re also offering, with our Gower College Swansea partners, free training courses for workforces in BID area. We hope these initiatives help the city to retain its Purple Flag.”

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(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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Gardening

Dobbies marks ‘Bring your Christmas Tree Home’ Day at its Swansea store

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Garden centre Dobbies is encouraging people in Swansea to think sustainably this Christmas, as they mark ‘Bring your Christmas Tree Home Day’ (4 December 2021).

Dobbies’ annual ‘Bring your Christmas Tree Home Day’ takes place on the first Saturday of December and marks the day most shoppers visit their local garden centre to pick up their real cut or pot grown Christmas trees.

Ethan Firth, Dobbies Little Seedling Ambassador

This year, the UK’s leading garden centre retailer has launched a new range of real Christmas trees for every space at its Swansea store, making it easier to find the perfect tree no matter your style or budget. From small trees like the pot grown Picea ‘Conica’, ideal for compact spaces; to the slim grade Nordmann Fir, perfect for tight spots; to the impressive Premium grade Nordmann Fir for large rooms, there is something for every home, so you can do Christmas your way.

This ‘Bring your Christmas Tree Home Day’, Dobbies is encouraging shoppers buying real trees to think ahead about how they can reuse their Christmas centrepiece once the festivities are over. The garden centre has announced its top tips on how people can repurpose their cut Christmas trees to create a wildlife haven for small animals and insects to shelter in during the winter months and reduce waste in the new year. This is part of the #SustainableDobbies campaign, in which the retailer raises awareness of sustainable products and practices for customers and supporters.

Dobbies’ Horticultural Director, Marcus Eyles said: “Choosing a real tree is one of the most-loved Christmas traditions, and on this year’s ‘Bring Your Christmas Tree Home Day’, we want to encourage people in Swansea to be mindful of how they can recycle their cut real trees once the festivities are over.

“Cut real Christmas trees can be a great tool when it comes to creating a safe place for wildlife to shelter during the winter months, so we’re delighted to show people how they can make use of their trees once the Christmas decorations have come down.”

Fay Vass, Chief Executive of British Hedgehog Preservation Society said: “We’re delighted that Dobbies are shining a light on ways in which people can create a safe space for hedgehogs and other wildlife in their gardens. Hedgehog numbers are in decline, and they have recently been added to the UK Red List as a species that is vulnerable to extinction. We all need to play our part in improving their habitat and we hope people will take advantage of these tips to help create a safe place for wildlife in their gardens.”

Marcus has outlined a step-by-step guide on how people can reuse their real cut Christmas trees to make a wildlife haven in their gardens in the new year:

  1. Remove the tree from your house carefully to stop any loose needles from dropping. Marcus recommends wearing thick gloves to protect your hands.
  2. Using a good quality pair of secateurs, starting from the top remove each branch as close as possible to the main stem.
  3. Stack the branches together four or five pieces high and place onto soil or leaves under large shrubs, trees or hedges.
  4. Repeat this process until all the branches are used. This will provide a great shelter for small animals and insects to protect them from the worst of the winter weather. Marcus points out that the needles and branches will breakdown over time to produce organic matter than will enrich the soil.
  5. For the main trunk of the tree use a pruning saw to cut into 30cm lengths, which can then be stacked to make a mini log pile which is a great habitat for wildlife to shelter in.

Dobbies is encouraging the children who attend its Little Seedlings Club to take the lead in creating wildlife shelters.

Ethan Firth, Dobbies Little Seedling Ambassador, adds: “Christmas is a time to create fond

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memories and what better way than to keep a memory of Christmas whilst considering the environment and being sustainable all at the same time! I plan to re-pot our family pot grown Christmas tree and reuse for next Christmas, and the cut Christmas tree in my bedroom I’m going to recycle and make a hedgehog shelter.”

To find out more about Dobbies, visit dobbies.com

To find out more about the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, visit britishhedgehogs.org.uk

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Business

Council backing for Small Business Saturday

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Swansea Council is backing Small Business Saturday by continuing to encourage people to shop local.

Being held on Saturday December 4, Small Business Saturday is a UK-wide grassroots campaign that encourages people to support small businesses within their communities.

The Swansea Council plea follows on from the authority providing over £150m of support to local businesses throughout the pandemic.

Grants of up to £1,000 are being made available to support start-up businesses, with grants of up to £10,000 being provided to help businesses throughout the city upgrade the look of their properties.

Free bus travel schemes are helping support local shopping, along with the provision of free outside public space use for businesses to expand. The council is also helping businesses by working with the Welsh Government to provide grants through the Transforming Towns scheme.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: “Our local, small businesses have been there for us throughout the pandemic, and the council is there for them too.

“So as well as all we’re doing as a council to help our small businesses as part of our economic recovery fund – which has now been increased from £20m to £25m – we’d also continue to encourage people throughout Swansea to support their local traders both on Small Business Saturday and beyond.

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“This is important because it boosts our local economy while helping sustain and create jobs for local people.”

Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Investment, Regeneration and Tourism, said: “Small businesses are the lifeblood of communities right across Swansea, so they rightly deserve our backing.

“From innovative new businesses to those which have been in our communities for generations, many people enjoy the retail and social opportunities they provide both in the city centre and throughout all others parts of Swansea. This is an especially important time of year for our businesses too as we head towards Christmas, so I’d encourage as much support as possible.”

The council has also launched a Shop Local Swansea campaign to encourage people to shop more locally by supporting smaller, independent businesses in their communities. The campaign includes a Shop Local webpage with listings of businesses in communities including Clydach, Gorseinon, Gowerton, Killay, Morriston, Mumbles, Pontarddulais, Sketty and Uplands.

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Swansea

Oak tree marks contribution of Jewish refugees

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An oak tree has been planted in the grounds of Swansea’s Guildhall to mark the 80th anniversary of the Association of Jewish Refugees.

The national charity, which supports Holocaust refugees and survivors living in Great Britain, is planting 80 native oaks at different sites across the country.

Swansea Council was eager to support the initiative to recognise the huge contribution Jewish refugees have made to the city and the UK.

Council Leader Rob Stewart and Lord Mayor Mary Jones were joined by Norma Glass MBE, a leading member of the Jewish Community in Wales, 

and representatives from the inter-faith community and the City of Sanctuary.

Cllr Stewart said: “It is a privilege that Swansea is one of the 80 locations chosen for this fantastic initiative by the Association of Jewish Refugees.

“We are proud that Swansea welcomed refugees at a time of crisis and celebrate the contribution that they have made to the city over so many years.

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“Equally we must never forgot that so many millions were not so lucky and perished in the Nazi death camps during the Holocaust.

“On December 10 Swansea will declare its intention to become a Human Rights city and today’s events are a step towards that, sending out a clear message that Swansea is a safe and welcoming place to live.”

Ms Glass said: “On behalf of the Swansea Jewish community we are so grateful and appreciative of this thoughtful gesture by Swansea Council for this memorial of 80 years to be marked by the planting of a tree.

“We thank all those involved in the organisation of this event and feel honoured. Shalom “

(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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