Purple Flag Waterford is celebrating today after learning it has retained the prestigious Purple Flag Accreditation for its evening and night-time economy (ENTE).
Purple Flag is a town and city centre award which aims to raise the standard and broaden the appeal of town and city centres in the ENTE between the hours of 5pm to 5am. Areas awarded the Purple Flag 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.
Commenting on behalf of Purple Flag Waterford, Waterford Chamber CEO Nick Donnelly said: “We are delighted to have retained our Purple Flag status and great credit must go to the many businesses in the Purple Flag zone who support and deliver the standards required.
“As part of the assessment, it was recognised that the partnership and collaboration of all stakeholders continued to deliver a strong focus on activities and events in the city centre and that the programme of workings going forward will enhance the vibrancy and wellbeing for everyone. The panel also noted the positive trend on public order offences in the city centre and were complimentary on our new mascot Hoot, who has made a number of public appearances over the past few months and has been a big hit with kids and adults alike. The recent launch of our video on the evening and night time economy also received favourable comment.
“We look forward to building on the success of Purple Flag Waterford by taking on board the comments in the formal assessment and ultimately create a better and safer evening and night time economy for Waterford.”
Since 2007, the programme has awarded the Purple Flag status to over 65 towns and cities in the UK and Ireland. At present 18 destinations are holding Purple Flag status across Ireland and a further four are in the process of applying. Purple Flag accredited areas have all reported a consistent increase in footfall and a decrease in crime and ASB within the ENTE. The Purple Flag programme is managed by the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) which works alongside – a partnership of key stakeholder groups backed by Government, police and businesses.
Waterford Chamber’s Executive committee welcomed Fianna Fáil TD Mary Butler to our offices this week to discuss a range of topics under the theme of “Vibrancy and Competitiveness” for Waterford.
During the course of the discussion, issues were raised around the areas of Living Wage/Minimum Wage, Capital Infrastructure Investment, Tourism in terms of Waterford Greenway and Ireland’s Ancient East and the End of Tax Discrimination of the self-employed.
Commenting on the meeting Waterford Chamber President Laurent Borla said: “We were delighted to meet with Mary Butler TD and to be given the opportunity to highlight a number of key issues for Chamber. We have spoken openly in the past about our commitment to Education & Skills and the TU agenda, the Action Plan for Jobs and in particular, its importance in the South East region and of course the challenges currently facing Waterford Airport.
“We wanted to make it very clear that we have an open door policy on supporting and working on these important issues with all key stakeholders, including our political representatives and we very much look forward to working with Deputy Butler during her term of office.”
UK will continue to be a key partner, but Ireland’s future remains with the EU
Speaking this morning (24th June 2016) after yesterday’s vote on UK membership of the European Union, Waterford Chamber Chief Executive Nick Donnelly said, “Although we await an official announcement, the outcome of yesterday’s vote indicates that the UK, our closest neighbour and a major trading partner, will be leaving the European Union."
"While this is not the result that we believe is in the long term interests of the Irish economy, the UK will continue to be a key partner for Ireland into the future. The EU and UK now need to focus on measured responses to limit future uncertainty and undertake a sensible, proportionate exit negotiation process that will work for all parties. A clear framework for a UK exit must be agreed and put in place that minimises disruption and enables businesses to plan for the new reality. The EU also needs to develop a new program of reform to improve the functioning of the Single Market and the competitiveness of European business."
"Chambers in Ireland have been quite clear that Ireland must remain at the heart of the EU in order to secure our economic future. Increasingly, European states face challenges that are global in nature and can only be met as part of a cohesive Union. The increasing competition between regional trade blocs, climate change and the migrant crisis are examples of current challenges that can only be surmounted by adopting a unified strategy through the EU. Notwithstanding the UK decision to leave, we firmly believe that Ireland’s economic future is best safeguarded as part of the EU."
Click here for an overview on what this result now means both for the UK public and for Irish business.
Burgers, beer and cocktails provided the perfect recipe for the Midsummer Mixer, hosted by Waterford Chamber, Waterford Chamber Skillnet and Waterford Micro Business Network at the Athenaeum House Hotel on Thursday night last (June 23rd).
Designed to appeal to start-up and micro businesses and sponsored by Bank of Ireland, close on 100 business people arrived in glorious sunshine to mix, mingle and take part in some fun speed networking.
Hawk-Eye Falconry provided a spectacular opening to the event as their Harris Hawk did a fly over while guests sipped on Thin Gin and Claire’s Cordial Cocktails created by the talented team at The Reg or Metalman beer and enjoyed a delicious BBQ.
Getting proceedings under way, Waterford Chamber President Laurent Borla said that while multinationals are our front window, 99% of businesses are SMEs.
“We want to support start-ups. We NEED to support start-ups. And that’s why Waterford Chamber this year created a start-up/micro category, because networking is key to your success. You will not do it on your own. You need to share, to learn from others and to be exposed to business opportunities. SMEs and start-ups are passionate and love talking about their business so don’t be shy and avail of it. There is a strong and growing ecosystem in Waterford: the LEO, New Frontiers, SEBIC, Arclabs, New Frontiers, Fumbally Exchange, Waterford Micro Business Network, Waterford Chamber Skillnet, and loads of small initiatives like tonight. Get to know them, participate, give and I promise you will receive.”
Sponsors Bank of Ireland then led a ‘fire-side chat’ discussion, facilitated by Start-up Community Manager Ita O’Sullivan and featuring Sandra Whelan from Immersive VR Education; Barrie Rogers, Chia Bia and James O’Sullivan, FlavourHaus, who all spoke about the highs and lows of starting a business, the challenges they faced and the support they received.
Next up was keynote speaker Robbie Skuse, owner of Kollect.ie and founder of Digest Waterford, a community designed to connect start-ups. Having worked on start-up networking groups in other cities, Robbie said it is essential Waterford replicates what they are doing and that the potential here for new businesses is second to none.
"I'm challenging you as an individual, not as an organisation to take action; to engage and to help create a better eco-system for Start-ups here in Waterford”, he said.
"Waterford is a very loyal city which makes it a great place to start a business but we need more synergies between the small companies starting out, and the businesses who have already established themselves here."
With that message in mind, guests joined Seamus Hayes of Fitzwilliam Training Consultants for a speed networking session and the event was brought to a close by Ronan Cleary, Chairperson of the Waterford Micro Business Network, who thanked sponsors Bank of Ireland for their support and also those who contributed to making the event such a success.