Great Yarmouth aims for night-time “Gold Standard”

THE future is bright, the future is purple was the message from police chiefs at the launch of a campaign to secure a prestigious award for Great Yarmouth.

Dubbed the Gold Standard of the night-time economy, campaign leaders, including police crime reduction officer Dave Gladden, believe winning the Purple Flag would give a massive economic boost to the town’s businesses, increase the number of visitors and encourage people to stay longer in Yarmouth.

The initiative, run by the Purple Flag organisation, recognises towns and cities that offer a better night out to visitors by providing a clean and tidy town centre, a broad mix of entertainment and activity and a stimulating destination.

These key objectives are contained in four categories – Wellbeing, Movement, a Broad Appeal and Place.

Mr Gladden and Yarmouth Police Supt Jim Smerdon launched the initiative at Yarmouth Town Hall last Wednesday at a meeting attended by agencies working with the police to achieve purple flag status, including street pastors, St John Ambulance, the NHS and Trading Standards.

Mr Gladden said the target area for the campaign was Regent Road, Marine Parade, St Peter’s Road and King Street as these were areas with night-time attractions, including pubs and clubs.

Speakers discussed the success of previous Nightsafe and SIRCS schemes, which ban troublemakers from pubs and clubs and planned improvements to CCTV.

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NHS health prevention workers Abi Howes and Tracey Read spoke of their work visiting schools in the borough to teach about the dangers of alcohol and drugs.

Colin Lang, Nightsafe Haven project manager, spoke about the success of the Nightsafe Haven on Yarmouth seafront last summer, which helped late night revellers who needed medical help or someone to talk to.

The Haven, similar to the SOS Bus in Norwich, was parked near the Jetty on Yarmouth seafront every Saturday night for six months and treated 66 people during that time to reduce the numbers being taken to the A&E depart-ment at the James Paget University Hospital.

Of these, 67pc of cases were alcohol-related and 27 of the 66 people had consumed more than 16 units of alcohol.

However, after the meeting Mr Lang said the Safe Haven was facing a funding crisis and appealed for donations so the scheme could go ahead for a second year on Yarmouth seafront.

During the meeting, Mr Gladden said: “The Purple Flag is a banner to say that we have done this work and we deserve this award, so I am very confident after what we have heard today that we will get the Purple Flag.”

Supt Smerdon added: “I know everybody who is here today and those who are not are hopeful and we are definitely going to make this happen. We may not be perfect, but we are definitely going to be purple.”