In the latest of our special series, the executive officer of Guernsey’s Town Centre Partnership shares his hopes and plans for 2018.
There’s a lot on Jack Honeybill’s to-do list, including securing sponsorship and fundraising to pay for a full calendar of entertainment and seafront improvements to create an even more spectacular welcome for the many thousands of cruise ship passengers who come ashore:
Currently the town traders are hopefully benefiting from our initiative of approaching Environment Services’ traffic section to request that they allow a concession for Christmas parking in Town.
They concurred with our request and all the piers have had their two-hour parking areas changed to three-hours to allow more time to be spent in the town throughout December.
Secondly there will be no restrictions for parking on Saturdays on the piers and on Thursday evenings and in addition the Harbours will allow any unused Port parking spaces to be used by motorists, while both the Frossard House and Lukis House States properties can be used for parking on Saturdays and Thursday evenings without restrictions apart from no overnight parking.
The pubic are asked to complete a survey to help the decision making process for 2018 (here).
We are currently working on the schedule of Candie Gardens concerts which start on 6th May and continue every Sunday from 3pm to 4pm until 30th September. We have applied for funding from the Arts Commission of Guernsey and Christmas lottery funding from the Association of Guernsey Charities.
In addition we are attempting to attract sponsors for the Saturday performances in Market square which should commence on 5th May and run until the end of October. The first performance is 11.30am, then another at 1.15pm and finally at 3pm. Many young performers get their first taste of public entertainment though Market Square. Until sponsorship is found we have not commenced the schedule but are hoping to obtain some success with funding shortly.
Our major event is the Town Carnival which commences on 14th July and runs for two weeks until 28th July. The first week is dedicated to local performers and we are hoping that the schools will be involved to allow pupils to perform during what is the last week of the States schools term.
This year local performers spent 200 hours entertaining the public and we hope to replicate this figure in 2018. On 22nd July the team of professional performers arrive and, subject to contracts which are currently being drawn up, we will have Punch and Judy, tenors Il Destino, The Lady Godivas string quartet, steel band The Sound of Steel, saxophonists Street Jazz, The Western Valley Hot Club trio with ukulele, bass and vocal, and Stanley’s Dixie Street Jazz Band entertaining along with many local performers at some nine performance areas around the town commencing 23rd July.
Our traditional black tie dinner featuring many of the artists will take place on 25th July and we currently have 11 tables sold for the OGH event.
We are awaiting the schedule of cruise ship visits for next year. This year we had more than 20 weeks of entertainment sponsored which enables us to arrange three hours of entertainment each time a boat or boats of 3,000 passengers arrived at Pier 17. The music adds to the welcome the passengers receive when arriving by tender. We are awaiting the reaction to a request for sponsorship and Batif have kindly agreed to continue their sponsorship in 2018. We would like to think that this is part of the welcome that makes Guernsey special as a destination.
Owing to limited funds we are currently applying to various sources to raise money and are hoping to run at least two fundraising events later in the year. The first one will be a dinner dance at the OGH on April 27th with the Western Valley Hot Club. With the support of the Red Carnation Group we are hoping to sell all 200 tickets.
The second event will take place on 7th July when we see the return of Szymon Wach, a baritone who will perform with the Guernsey Symphonic Winds Orchestra with additional strings for a classic night at St James.
The performance at Castle Cornet in September was a memorable night for all the people who attended as well as the fantastic orchestra and, as a result, we are repeating the event indoors to avoid any risk of bad weather. Details will be announced in due course but this will be an evening not to be missed.
Finally we are able to announce that the Normandy Market will be returning to Guernsey from 26th to 28th May and from 25th to 27th August which is always well receive. Venues will be announced in due course.
Our ambition for 2018 is to attempt to find sponsors for the festoon lighting to be extended from the Albert Pier to the Slaughterhouse as this would complete the seafront installation which we started some years ago.
The cost of each section is £2,800. We have the first section sponsored and need seven more before the work can commence. It will provide a stunning spectacle for all sea passengers arriving in our harbour.
You can find out more about the work of the Town Centre Partnership here.