Aberdeen has successfully retained Purple Flag status for the city’s evening and night-time economy for the seventh year in a row.
As well as regaining the accolade, judges also chose Aberdeen as one of three finalists for a prestigious national Purple Flag award within the night time economy. This award will be decided at the UK and Ireland’s Association of Town & City Management (ATCM) annual gathering in June 2020.
Purple Flag is a town and centre award, similar to the Blue Flag for beaches, which looks at the wellbeing, movement, appeal and sense of place within a city centre at night.
Areas awarded the Purple Flag standard are recognised for providing a vibrant and diverse mix of dining, entertainment and culture while promoting the safety and wellbeing of visitors and local residents.
Aberdeen became the first city in Scotland to be awarded the accreditation in 2014 and has successfully maintained the standard since then. Business organisation Aberdeen Inspired led the reaccreditation process with support from Aberdeen City Council, Police Scotland, Unight, Street Pastors, the licensed trade and other key stakeholders.
Managed by the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM), Aberdeen was assessed towards the end of last year, with assessors praising Aberdeen’s ongoing transition into a more diverse economy, the impressive arts and cultural scene, numerous examples of good initiatives such as strategic guidance through the Night time Commission, and the clear benefits of having a dedicated evening and night time economy manager.
Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “We are delighted that Aberdeen city centre has been awarded the prestigious Purple Flag for an unprecedented seventh year in succession.
“Aberdeen Inspired is proud to have led the charge to achieve this standard, which recognises the work that has gone into making the city more cultural rich. The strong partnership approach in the city centre recognises that safety is fundamental to its well-being. Of course with a city this size there will always be the occasional challenge but so much has been achieved through the ‘Team Aberdeen’ ethos in making it one of the safest of its kind in the UK, respecting there is no room for complacency.
“It is an honour to also be nominated in the wellbeing category for a Purple Flag award, which is recognition of the hard work that goes on year round in the city centre.”
Nicola Johnston, Aberdeen Inspired evening and night time economy manager, added: “It was a pleasure to, along with our partner organisations, welcome assessors to Aberdeen and guide them around the city centre, highlighting the inroads that have been made in the evening and night time economy in a wide range of categories such as wellbeing, safety, movement, culture and policies. We put a lot of effort into ensuring Aberdeen meets or rises above the expected standard, and it is fantastic to have that recognised in the feedback we have received.”
Aberdeen City Centre Chief Inspector David Howieson said: “I am delighted that the Purple Flag has been secured for a seventh year in a row. Strong partnership working has always existed within the city centre, and we are extremely proud of the relationships we have built with our night-time economy partners. However to be recognised publicly once again for our combined efforts is fantastic.
“The City Centre Policing Team works extremely hard throughout the year to help ensure that people can go out in the city centre to enjoy themselves safely. Our weekend policing plans are tried and tested and we continue to strengthen and develop our relationships with the various bars, nightclubs, restaurants and businesses in the area. Aberdeen is a very safe and enjoyable place to live, work and visit and we are committed to ensuring it stays this way."
Sarah Wheeler, General Manager of Soul and chair of Unight, added: “It is great news that Aberdeen has been reaccredited for Purple Flag, which helps put the city on the map whilst also showing that we are still raising our game in order to keep achieving this status.
“Purple Flag helps promote Aberdeen as a safe yet vibrant place to go out and therefore can drive footfall within the city centre. Aberdeen has a high standard of safety, as seen through initiatives that the night-time economy has pushed such as Ask for Angela which work alongside things such as there Street Pastors and Home Safe Marshalls.
“Partnership working plays a huge part in this and has led to proactive initiatives being put in place so that Aberdeen is a safe place to be on a night out whether you are a local, tourist or a student new to the city, and ultimately makes Aberdeen an attractive place to live, work or visit.”
The Purple Flag accreditation process aims to play in part in supporting business and community through the city’s growth, effectively linking day and night economy, and promoting cultural and economic development opportunities for city centre business and residents while ensuring the safety of all.
Dustin Macdonald, chairman of the city centre community council, said: “Since becoming the first city in Scotland to receive the Purple Flag accreditation we have gone from strength to strength when it comes to working together to ensure our night time offering is run to the best standard. Receiving a renewal of the accreditation absolutely enforces that and shows what can be achieved when partners work together."