Liverpool has always taken massive pride in its appearance. Let’s face it, us Scousers love an excuse to dress up to the nines. So while keeping the city looking fabulous is business as usual for the teams within the Neighbourhoods directorate, it comes as no surprise that they’re pulling out all the stops for Eurovision. Divisional Manager Louise Harford explains.
We have dedicated teams who ensure our city is clean, green and safe all year round. While tackling everything from litter, graffiti and fly-tipping to anti-social behaviour and rogue traders is all in a day’s work for our officers, the city is going to be centre stage in May so it’s no time for stage fright.
An expected 160 million pairs of eyes on Liverpool really does magnify what we do, so we want to make sure the city has got its best clothes on.
We have a reputation to live up to as being one of the most inclusive and welcoming cities in the country, if not the world, so we are working in partnership with organisations right across the city to ensure each and every visitor goes home with a positive experience.
We know the Eurovision Song Contest has a long-held fan base in the LGBTQ+ community and we’re really proud of our Stanley Street Quarter, so our plans include enhancing that area to highlight it as a safe space with improved lighting and the introduction of a rainbow taxi rank.
We’re also continuing to implement our Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy. Working with city-wide stakeholders, we’ve seen an increased uniformed police presence around transport hubs and on key bus routes, more CCTV and a help point and text message system to report concerns.
Our city centre green spaces are getting a bit of an uplift too. In St Johns Gardens we’ve already installed new lighting to illuminate the corridor between William Brown Street and St Johns Lane, a well-used pedestrian throughfare, which alongside replacing old benches and bins will be a permanent improvement to the space.
We also have the Ukrainian Peace Garden from late April on the Baltic Green, Jamaica Street. Supported by local businesses via Baltic Creative, is been designed with the Ukrainian Community in Liverpool and features a sensory garden, footbridge and growing area with chess tables, providing a space for quiet reflection.
While I’m looking forward to being able to showcase some of the innovative work we’ve been doing as part of the URBAN GreenUP initiative such as floating islands, green walls, pollinator spaces and the city’s first urban raingarden, one of the projects I’m most excited about and humbled to be involved in is a floral tribute to Ukraine.
As part of a wider environmental programme for Eurovision called Glitter Not Litter, we’re working in partnership with Scouse Flowerhouse and the Eden Project on the creation of a flyover meadow. Representatives from the Ukrainian community and school children will help plant sunflower, cornflower and marigold seeds to transform a piece of land adjacent to World Museum into a sea of yellow and blue.
This is particularly poignant because the sunflower, Ukraine’s national flower, has become a symbol of solidarity, resilience, optimism and hope for peace. Not only that, but the journey of the machine used to treat and clean the seeds has mimicked that of many people for whom the sunflower has become so significant.
The machine, which was commissioned before the conflict started, was imported from the Donbas region, one of the first areas to be targeted. When the region came under attack, the company relocated to Kyiv to continue to build the machine and be able to fulfil orders before coming to the UK.
It’s a wonderful legacy project because we’ll be able to collect the seeds after each season and spread them right across the city.
While school children will be involved in the planting, we’re also working with our Eco-Schools through our partnership with Keep Britain Tidy. This is Ukraine’s Eurovision, not ours, and that is always at the forefront of our minds so the children will be using recycled materials to make signs to welcome our friends in Ukraine to the city.
In partnership with Liverpool BID, we’re working with businesses to ensure they understand their responsibilities and know what is expected of them to put on their best front of house and make a fantastic first impression to new visitors to the city.
Big events are not new to Liverpool but we are acutely aware of the eyes on the city so no part of the city will be exposed. We’ve enhanced our usual cleansing plan, we’re identifying grot spots and we’re offering additional support to our amazing team of volunteer litter pickers. We’re also engaging with street traders and licensing to protect visitors from unscrupulous rogue traders trying to cash in on the visitor economy.
If you stop and think about what we are doing, it’s daunting, but the teams are absolutely amazing at what they do. Everybody is incredibly busy and new challenges come our way daily but with honesty and humour, we always find a positive way to progress.
When Eurovision comes to town, we’ll be ready to shine.