Cllr. Finola Armstrong-McGuire picking the winner of VIP Day in Carrick-on-Shannon survey.
Carrick-on-Shannon has, following an external assessment by assessors from the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM), again retained its Purple Flag standard for its evening and night time economy.
The Purple Flag standard awarded to towns, similar to the Blue Flag for beaches, involves a comprehensive assessment of the town across metrics such as Well-Being, Movement, Safety, Care, Appeal, Sense of Place and Identity and Planning for the future.
The overall aim of Carrick-on-Shannon’s involvement in Purple Flag is to raise the profile of the town. Through a partnership approach, the Purple Flag Steering Group continue to improve the variety on offer in the town between the hours of 18:00 and 05:00.
Towns awarded the Purple Flag are recognised for providing a vibrant mix of entertainment while promoting the safety and wellbeing of visitors and local residents.
Carrick-on-Shannon was the smallest town in Ireland to achieve this prestigious standard in 2015 and each year the town has to ensure it maintains or improves on the standard achieved. Carrick on Shannon’s Purple Flag Steering Group is comprised of local business, local authority staff and elected members, Tidy Towns and Gardai.
The initiative is funded by Carrick-on-Shannon Chamber of Commerce and Leitrim County Council and co-ordinated by the Economic Development Unit of Leitrim County Council.
Work with the Steering Group and other local interests through Spring and Summer on the full renewal application and overnight assessments led to a successful retention of the standard as judged by independent assessors.
As part of the Renewal Process, an annual Public Perception Survey is carried out on the town’s offering. The businesses in the town – Aura Leisure, Landmark Hotel, Carrick Cineplex, Oarsman Bar and Restaurant and Moonriver put together a very attractive prize of a VIP Day in Carrick-on-Shannon for people completing the survey. 360 people completed the survey in 2017.
The survey showed that 82% of people feel the town offering at night is good or very good and the number of people spending 2-4 hours in the town has almost doubled since the 2015.
The survey also showed that the main reasons for visiting the town by day is for shopping essentials highlighting the draw the town has for the wider area. At night time, the main reason for visiting the town is to eat out again a reflection of the great choice of eateries in the town.
There was also good news on the retail front with an ongoing increase in the number of people who consider the town retail sector as varied and vibrant. People were also asked to rate different aspects of the town – 84% of respondents felt that the selection of bars, cafes and restaurants were very good or excellent and 83% felt that street cleanliness was very good or excellent which along with a high recommendation on floral displays acknowledges the great work of the Tidy Towns.
Dissatisfaction with public transport availability had decreased by 5% on 2016. The survey also included suggestions for future improvements and some of the suggestions included: more activities on during the week, more access to water sports for families, more activities for children and teenagers and more promotion of the town as a Food Haven. These factors will be considered as part of the work programme for 2018.
Carrick-on-Shannon will formally receive its new Purple Flag at an event in Norwich in mid-November.