Coveted award flags up vibrancy and safety of Bristol’s night-time economy

June 24, 2022

Bristol’s vibrant and diverse night-time economy has received a coveted Purple Flag award for the 12th year in a row.

The international accreditation, which is similar to the Blue Flag for beaches, is awarded to cities that surpass excellence in managing their evening and night-time economies. 

It aims to raise the standard and broaden the appeal of town and city centres between the hours of 6pm and 6am and gives positive reassurance to those people planning a night out in the city.

The annual award, overseen by the national Association of Town Centre Management, assesses qualities such as safety, diversity, vibrancy, accessibility, cleanliness and partnership working.

Bristol was again recognised for its vibrant and diverse mix of dining, entertainment and culture on offer while promoting the safety and wellbeing of visitors and residents.

The city’s night-time economy directly or indirectly supports the employment of around 91,680 people working in just under 1,130 premises, representing 34% of the city’s overall jobs. 

The accreditation process was managed by Bristol City Council and Bristol City Centre BID working in partnership through a comprehensive set of standards, ensuring that different aspects of the city’s offering were presented to the judges.

Highlights from Bristol’s submission include:

  • Streamlined working by the city’s Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), which has enhanced their services to deliver them city-wide, including safety and cleansing projects
  • Encouraging Covid-safe behaviours to increase public confidence
  • Supporting businesses through the promotion of national programmes and the City Centre and High Streets Recovery and Renewal programme
  • Promoting safety at night through awareness and communication campaigns, including specific projects relating to drink spiking, water safety and anti-sexual harassment
  • A dedicated taxi cop, to help ensure a safe service is provided to night-time economy users

Deputy mayor and cabinet member for finance, governance and performance, Cllr Craig Cheney, described the award as a great accolade for Bristol and recognised the hard work of the council and partners across the city.

“Promoting a vibrant and safe nightlife is important for celebrating Bristol’s international reputation and for our independent restaurants, venues, bars and clubs who are at the heart of Bristol’s culture,” he added.

Bristol night-time economy advisor Carly Heath said Bristol’s nightlife consistently excelled on the national and international stage.

“Bristol was one of the first cities in the UK to be awarded Purple Flag status in 2010. Receiving the award again this year comes in recognition of our continued work towards a more vibrant, welcoming, diverse and safer nightlife, and our work on campaigns including Where’s It To?, Bristol Rules and Stop Spiking,” she said.

“We have strived to make the city’s night-time economy stronger, safer, more inclusive and better connected for residents and visitors coming to the city for a great night out.”

Head of Bristol City Centre BID Vicky Lee also said achieving the Purple Flag recognition was a huge benefit for businesses and the city.

“It attracts people to visit, study, work and live here and has a positive impact on our night-time economy,” she added.

“Over the past year we have worked closely with Bristol City Council and night-time economy partners to ensure that our work supports and promotes the city, encouraging people to spend leisure time and enjoy everything Bristol has to offer.”

Partners managing the night-time economy in Bristol include the City Centre BID, Bristol Nights, Bristol Waste, Night Watch and Avon and Somerset Police.

The night-time economy is the UK’s fifth biggest industry, employing 4.5% of the country’s workforce.

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