Creating diverse and inclusive activities and connecting the early evening and night time economies to make thriving town centres and local high streets, were some of the themes explored at a joint event from The Local Alcohol Partnerships Group, Home Office and the ATCM (association of town and city management) and Purple Flag scheme.

The Diversification Workshop: Place, Culture, Leisure, Growth held on 4th June in London was designed to support UK towns and cities on the Home Office’s Local Alcohol Action Areas (LAAA’s) programme. This programme exists to provide support to areas in tackling alcohol-related crime and health harms, protecting vulnerable people and creating more diverse night-time economies. Organisations speaking at the event included Make Associates, Culture 24 and Visit England as well as representatives from areas that have introduced successful diversification schemes including Derby, Newbury and Luton.

The event was designed to be a practical workshop to share best practice and discuss ways to make night time economies safer, vibrant and diverse. Delegates discussed the need to think creatively and re-imagine high streets and town and city centres so that they include a wider range of cultural, leisure and business venues, operate later opening hours and consider free bus travel on selected evenings.

Rita King, Local Partnership Manager at the Portman Group, commented: “The message that came out loudly and clearly from the event was that partnership working between stakeholders such as local authorities, businesses and the police is vital to achieving safer town centres with a greater sense of place.”

Alistair Turnham, founder of MAKE Associates, town centre and placemaking consultants, chaired the event and gave the keynote address. He highlighted the need to engage everyone to build a diverse evening & night-time economy. He said: “Every location has its own unique selling point and it’s about working out what that is and building it in to the fabric of town’s economy and marketing activity.”