Welcome to Issue 3 of IN Touch, Aberdeen Inspired’s new look regular update on everything happening in Aberdeen city centre right now.

July saw the city get a much-needed lift with the return of Nuart Aberdeen, Scotland’s only street art festival and one of the UK’s leading festivals of its kind. Highlights include the pioneer of Balloon Graffiti, Fanakapan’s eye catching new artworks which have transformed the wall outside Aberdeen Community Health and Care Village on West North Street, as well as a surprise bonus collaboration with local artist KMG where he added a mind-blowingly photorealistic ‘High Five’ helium balloon to the new KMG mural on Union Square.

In producing the ‘Pulling Faces Aberdeen’ mural the artist set out to make people smile, and we’re sure you’ll agree it’s hard not to when you see these joyful yellow balloons!

NHS Grampian has thanked Aberdeen Inspired and Fanakapan for the stunning mural and at an official unveiling this morning, the health board’s Chief Executive, Caroline Hiscox said “We are so thankful to Aberdeen Inspired for the stunning mural that has been created on the Health Village – it really has brought a smile to the faces of both patients and staff. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

“All health and social care staff have experienced an 18 month period like no other, and that continues currently, but for those passing by or arriving to work at the facility every day the artwork is a real reminder to smile and that better times will return.

“I’d like to thank Aberdeen Inspired organisers of Nuart Aberdeen and the artist Fanakapan for the incredible artwork and once again publicly thank our staff for their continued efforts through the pandemic – you have all been outstanding.”

Watch the full timelapse of Fanakapan’s work on West North Street here.

Header image credit: Clarke Joss Photography

'Stuck Up’ gets started

Last week we welcomed another Aberdeen Inspired creative collaboration to the city centre with the "Stuck Up" paste up exhibition kicking off at the Green. This huge collaborative outdoor art exhibition invited artists from across the globe, as well as locals, to participate in what will be the nation’s largest free and legal paste up wall.

The city has seen an increase in people getting out and about specifically to take in the new street art with many also heading down to the Green to have a look at the exciting collection of paste up work from folk young and old from all around the globe. You can enjoy our many businesses on the Green as they offer the perfect spot to view the paste-up artwork.

One budding young artist named Sophie submitted her dinosaur drawing to join the works of international artists Jeremy Deller, Bahia Shehab and Sam Durant. Sophie was delighted to be included and have production manager Jon Reid help her paste up her work!

Once again, Aberdeen Inspired is very grateful to Burness Paull LLP for their sponsorship to support this record-breaking initiative.

Bob Ruddiman, partner at Burness Paull commented: “As presenting partner for Nuart Aberdeen we are thrilled to support this unique and imaginative paste up project. This is a diverse collaborative creation uniting cultures and generations from around the globe and we are excited to see it come to life!”

Spaces for People interventions on the move

In June, Aberdeen City Council agreed to the phasing out of the Spaces for People measures which allowed the safer return of visitors to the city centre during the most challenging days of the pandemic last year. The city centre, and Union Street in particular, faced challenges because pavements were not wide enough to accommodate the 2 metre physical distancing regulation.

In the city centre George Street will be among the first three locations where the measures will be removed, starting on Monday 9 August. The removal works are expected to take around three weeks and are being fitted around already-agreed roadworks and the council’s road maintenance programme. The two other locations include Rosemount and Torry.

The Union Street Spaces for People interventions will be considered at the City Growth and Resources Committee in August, as part of the wider City Centre Masterplan (CCMP) review, which will also include the BHS and ‘New Market’ proposals.

Anti-Social Behaviour

Police Scotland are to carry out a two-week anti-social behaviour initiative, starting this week, partly based on reports from our levy payers that they were experiencing issues with youth disorder in the area.

Operation Galaxite will run for the next two weeks involving staff from Police Scotland City Centre Problem Solving Team and will target youth annoyance and anti-social behaviour in the area, including some fast-food outlets and the top deck of the Bon Accord Centre.

Aberdeen Inspired will be one of the key partners involved and they will liaise with their levy paying businesses. Innes Walker, City Centre Manager, said, "Aberdeen Inspired very much support and appreciate the efforts of Police Scotland to ensure that the city centre is a safe and welcoming place for people to visit and enjoy. Bad behaviour of this type damages the reputation of our proud city centre which has been awarded Purple Flag status for the past 8 years. Whilst enforcement is a key part of any approach, we very much favour working with all partners and local business to find lasting effective solutions to this type of behaviour."

Union Square brings toys and noise to the city

Hamleys, the world’s oldest and largest multinational toy retailer, is to open a brand-new store in Aberdeen at Union Square, the area’s leading retail and leisure destination. Set to open soon, Hamleys’ new 2,300 sq. ft store is located on the ground floor next to mobile brand 02 and shoe retailer Dune. As well as creating several new local jobs, the location promises to transport customers to a world of theatre and fun.

Ryan Manson, General Manager at Union Square said “This announcement really highlights the continued popularity of destinations like Union Square to both brands and customers. We know that our customers want an experience when they visit and Hamleys is a brand that ticks all the boxes having continually evolved and captured people’s imagination for more than two centuries. As a globally recognised name, Hamleys is a welcome addition to Union Square, and I’m sure it will be a huge hit with families in Aberdeen.”

And on Saturday 31st July and Sunday 1st August, Union Square presents Bandstand Live; a weekend packed with workshops, performances and activities celebrating the very best of Aberdeen.

Bandstand Live showcases several acts from across the city. From Aberdeen Arts Centre to Fashion Feature with HJC Styling. There’ll also be a variety of workshops across beauty, arts and crafts, interiors and live music.

For the full programme of activities and timings visit Bandstand Live here.

Sale into Aberdeen’s West end

The summer sales are in full swing throughout the city and Aberdeen Inspired will continue to feature your retail offers this week and next, as well as highlighting other great hospitality and hair and beauty hot spots in our social stories so be sure to tag us @aberdeeninspired with your news and offers!

This is also a great time to remind customers to dust off their Aberdeen Gift Cards to spend at any of the 170 participating local businesses. If your business would like to register to accept the Aberdeen Gift Card – it is completely free to sign up and there are no hidden charges – please get in touch with our team.

How Bao Now

After a successful pop up, How Bao Now have now permanently taken over the kitchen at 99 Bar & Kitchen! We spoke to Chloe from How Bao Now to hear how they’ve been getting on:

“We're so proud to say we're partnering with Ninety-Nine Bar and Kitchen this month. We're tremendously excited to be taking over their kitchen residency. We as a company are very invested in the local business community around us and really believe in partnerships and this one will hopefully feed lovely Aberdeen for a long time.

“We're extremely grateful for the amazing turn out we've seen on social media and also our pop up. The feedback has been amazing, and we cannot wait to keep going at this pace and bring more fun and delicious things to our menu both in the bar and on delivery. We feel there's a growing want in the city for a more exciting and diverse food culture and we're happy to be a part of it and happy to support others who are already a part of it. “

Head to their Instagram to check out all the tasty food they have on offer, and make sure you pop in too!

Aberdeen Restaurant Week – We want your thoughts!

Restaurants, we need your help! We are planning the next Aberdeen Restaurant Week and we want it to be bigger and better than ever before. But we need your help to make it work for you, so head on over to our survey and tell us what you’d like to be included and when you’d like it to take place. Click here to take the survey.

Suicide Prevention Programme

The City Centre Manager is working with the Suicide Prevention Development Officer, SAMH, to promote awareness of this vital element of community safety in the city centre.

An ambitious programme of work includes advertising in public and private space; training for staff working in local businesses; a forum for raising awareness in the city centre; use of BT InLink Hubs and bus stop advertising space; promotion of Suicide Prevention Week in September 2021. SAMH intent to offer free training for our levy paying businesses, in recognition of the support afforded to them by Aberdeen Inspired.

Aberdeen Arts Centre’s Music 4 Summer!

Do you know a budding young musician and future star of the stage? Join Aberdeen Arts Centre from 2nd - 6th August 2021 for these fun workshops designed for young people who love music and stagecraft. Led by Music 4 U’s professional tutors, these energetic sessions will centre around much-loved hits from the world of pop, movies and musicals. There are very limited places for our summer workshops - email info@m4u.org.uk to register now!

Aberdeen Performing Arts hoping to raise the curtain soon

Although Aberdeen Performing Arts venues are still temporarily closed due to the pandemic we know they are working hard behind the scenes to get ready for when it’s safe to open their doors to the public. In the meantime, they have plenty of listings for you to look at and book tickets for, check them out here.

One of the productions coming to Aberdeen from 26th-28th August is Niqabi Ninja by Sara Shaarawi. Combining street artwork, audio-story performance and a walk through your city, you are invited to immerse yourselves in Hana’s world.

Niqabi Ninja is a graphic-novel style revenge story about one woman’s transformation into a Cairene vigilante, as she attempts to right the wrongs of the male violence she sees all around her.

This experience is being presented simultaneously in 5 locations across Scotland – Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness. Read more about it here

*In recognition of the challenges many have faced because of the pandemic, APA does not want financial circumstances to exclude anyone from attending this performance so please feel free to contact the Box Office for a discount code to access a free ticket should you require one.

Remember to get set for the return of audiences to the city centre who will be looking for venues serving up great pre and post show offers too!

Tour of Britain finishes at Aberdeen Beach Esplanade

The Tour of Britain arrives in Aberdeen on Sunday 12th September. The picturesque harbour town of Stonehaven is the day’s starting point and, by popular demand from local cyclists, the route includes the ŠKODA King of the Mountains climb at Cairn o’Mount. The peloton will briefly head into the Cairngorms National Park, with Ballater marking the most westerly point of the stage, before the run in to the finish line on Aberdeen’s Esplanade begins.

After a gruelling 173km journey, there will be lots of hungry cyclists ready to take on Aberdeen’s hospitality scene. So, get geared up to serve all the cyclists and read more about the Tour of Britain here.

Hospitality ready to serve you for longer and city welcomes OGV Taproom Beer Garden

The easing of restrictions has meant that many restaurants and bars can stay open longer, with the likes of Vovem, Revolution and Siberia being just a few of the places in the city centre with new opening hours. Keep up to date with your favourite hospitality spots on their socials and if they tag us we will share their news too.

And welcome to the city OGV Taproom Beer Garden who opened for the first-time last weekend! The beer garden is available to book over the weekend between 12pm and 10pm offering a festival feel, plastic cups and food trucks. Book now to experience the new OGV Taproom Beer Garden! https://ogvtaproom.com/booking

Seagull Egg Removal Programme

This programme was successfully delivered over three years, prior to the pandemic. It was clearly having an impact, further assisted by the sudden absence of city centre footfall. As footfall increases, so has mess and annoyance from these birds. Aberdeen inspired together with colleagues at Aberdeen City Council are currently scoping resumption of the project, which requires to be undertaken for several years to fully disrupt the nesting cycle and drive seagulls back to the coast. It should be noted that legislation prohibits this activity out with the start of the breeding cycle of April to June so potential short-term options are being considered until this time.

Belmont Filmhouse partners with Edinburgh Film Fest

Belmont Filmhouse were thrilled to announce that they are an official partner of the Edinburgh Film Festival 2021, running from 18th-25th August. Celebrate the collective cinema experience and join them in August for premier screenings of Pig, Here Today and Prince of Muck. Get your tickets here.

Get involved with Maggie’s Culture Crawl

The 2021 Culture crawl has now SOLD OUT! If you didn’t manage to get a place, you can still join in by volunteering during the day or evening of the 3rd September to help make the event a success. Do it alone or why not get a group of work colleagues or friends together to help out.

We’re also looking for businesses to support Maggie’s along the culture crawl route, whether that be with vouchers, offers or fun experiences on the night. With over 300 people making their way through the city centre, this is the perfect opportunity for businesses to take advantage of, so how can you help? For more info and to get in touch, contact: aberdeenfundraising@maggiescentres.org

Nationwide - Charlie House Fundraiser

The team at Nationwide on Union Street have created a “wellness hamper” worth £200 to raise money for Charlie House. It’s filled with products from Lush, The White Company, as well as a Nail Co voucher worth £30 and chocolate and candles. They will be drawing the raffle on the 6th August and it’s only £1 per ticket. Make sure you pop by today to support a great charity as well as being in the with chance to win a great hamper!

Jamieson & Carry – Inspire Challenge

In March 2020, during the first lockdown, Jamieson & Carry launched the Inspire Challenge. The Challenge invited people of all ages to design a brand-new piece of jewellery. The winning design was then to be expertly crafted within their workshop and sold with all proceeds being donated to the NHS Grampian charity fund. After receiving so many impressive entries, they decided two designs would be selected as our winners. One winning entry from the under 18 category, and a second winner from their adult entries.

Last week they were delighted to welcome Bibi, who won the under 18 category, and her family to see her beautiful flower necklace up close. Bibi also got to meet their Master Jeweller, Peter, and learned more about the process involved in turning her design into a real piece of jewellery. The necklace Bibi designed could be yours from as little as £5!

All proceeds from the sale of tickets will be donated to the NHS Grampian Endowment Fund! To enter and read more about the Inspire Challenge, click here.

Dementia Training for Businesses

Aberdeen Inspired have obtained a grant from Life Changes Trust to raise awareness of the impact of dementia on customers and staff in the city centre. Working with with Alzheimer’s Scotland we will produce and distribute material to business to help ensure that Aberdeen City Centre is prepared for the developing challenges in this critical area of public safety.

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