Canterbury Bid

Celebrating 10 years of Purple Flag!

A group of people representing purple flag and smiling

Canterbury has once again received the prestigious Purple Flag award for its evening and night-time economy – and has now held the accreditation for a decade. To mark this milestone, Canterbury was chosen to host the National Purple Flag Awards on 24 March, which saw guests from across the UK enjoying Kentish hospitality and showcasing the city’s evening and night-time offer.  

There are 70 Purple Flag towns and cities in the UK with Canterbury as the only accredited location in Kent.

The Purple Flag is awarded by the Association of City and Town Management (ACTM) to town and city centres that offer an high standard of safety, entertainment and variety of offers to people enjoying a night out. Similar to the Green Flag award for parks and the Blue Flag award for beaches, the Purple Flag recognises locations that meet or surpass standards of excellence in managing the evening and night-time economy.

The accreditation campaign in Canterbury is led and coordinated by Canterbury BID, and it is our opportunity to give credit to the numerous business and organisations across the city who strive to make Canterbury’s evening and night time economy vibrant, diverse and safe. There is always more work to do, but right now, we want to say thank you!

Lisa Carlson, Chief Executive of Canterbury BID, said

“We are extremely proud that Canterbury city centre has been recognised as a safe, diverse and enjoyable location for a night out for the tenth year in a row. This is a credit to the local businesses and all of the Purple Flag committee partners who work so hard to make our city a welcoming place to visit 24 hours a day.  As the world returns to a ‘new normal’, we look forward to welcoming more locals and visitors back into the city for a fantastic night out.”

Ojay McDonald, Chief Executive of the ATCM, said

“Canterbury is a wonderful city. Especially worthy of note is the energy, drive and enthusiasm of the Purple Flag Partnership in their vision for a vibrant and safe night time economy in Canterbury, and its Purple Flag status.”

The accreditation ensures that a comprehensive set of standards, management processes and best practice guidelines are met to help create a welcoming and enjoyable atmosphere for people on a night out, and to help support night time economies. Efforts to secure the accreditation and to maintain Canterbury’s high standards campaign have been led and coordinated by Canterbury BID and the city was praised for its Street Marshal and Street Pastor schemes, as well the work of the Canterbury City Council’s Enforcement Team, Kent Police and the Zero Tolerance Steering Committee.

Full details of the Purple Flag accreditation can be found here: HERE

PC Ashley McMahan of Kent Police said:

“With the BID team coordinating the Purple Flag campaign and bringing together a wide group of stakeholders together – including businesses, residents, the council, and the police – we’ve been able address issues early and build confidence in the public that our city is a safe and welcoming place. By working together, we have shown once again that Canterbury is committed to providing a safe, enjoyable night out for all.”

Canterbury’s Purple Flag committee includes representatives from Canterbury Christ Church University, Christ Church Student Union, the University of Kent, Kent Union, Canterbury City Council, Kent Police, Street Pastors, Alliance of Canterbury Residents’ Association as well as owners and managers from various businesses across the city such as The Marlowe Theatre, Club Chemistry, The Ballroom, Pride Canterbury, Tokyo Tearoom, McDonalds, Curzon Cinema and Student Republic.

Get to know your local Purple Flag Committee

Street Pastors. For local revelers who have found themselves out late on a Saturday night, this team of volunteers is on duty every Saturday night between 10pm and 4am responding to the needs of the city. Their work varies depending on who needs help, but they carry bags that include: flip-flops, bottled water, spikey bottle stoppers, and first-aid. They also clear away broken glass and tins and help people get home safely.

University of Kent and Christ Church University work in partnership to keep their students safe. They have created the SafeZone App which can alert the university’s Security team to students in need of urgent assistance and first aid. It also promotes ‘Connected Routes’, a map that highlights refuge stops throughout the city for anyone feeling unsafe, along with the Zero Tolerance scheme and Safe Taxi Scheme.

As part of Canterbury’s Purple Flag community, we are very lucky to have the Street Marshals. They operate in pairs, one male and one female, patrolling the streets several evenings a week from 11pm and 4am. Their aim is to safeguard students whilst on their way home, promote student safety and to remind any people that are causing a disturbance in the early hours to respect the local community. The scheme is run jointly by the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University, using Right Guard Security staff. Key areas include St Michael’s area, Club Chemistry, Wincheap, Sturry Road and Northgate.

Community Safety Unit runs and promotes safety campaigns to help you stay safe during your night out. Partner agencies supporting this hub are:
Canterbury City Council CSU, Kent Police, Street Pastors, Canterbury Christ Church University, University of Kent, Christ Church Students’ Union, Kent Union, Canterbury BID

You can also find Student Safety campaigns online:

Kent Police is one of the major supporters and participants of Canterbury’s Purple Flag programme. They assist and take active part in all ENTE safety hubs, run dedicated operations and patrols to support and improve your night-out experience, and provide essential data and evidence for the purpose of Purple Flag yearly accreditation submission.   

Zero Tolerance is an accreditation scheme for licensed venues designed to equip staff with guidelines and frameworks for how to combat sexual harassment. The programme is currently being revised to included broader elements of equality, diversity and inclusion, delivered by Canterbury BID in conjunction and support of Licencing Officers from the local Police.

Heading home after a night out in the city? Stay safe by making sure you follow the #LitRoutes map. By following the map, you can benefit from Street Pastor and Street Marshal patrols in and around the city centre. Both patrols are on hand to care for, listen and help you get home safely.

You Might Also Like