Cheers! Wigan’s town centre licensed premises are Best Bar None.
That’s the unanimous verdict of publicans, blue light services and community safety leaders who came together last night to raise a glass in recognition of licensed premises that demonstrate exceptional committment to making our town centre safer.
Governed by the British Institute of Inn Keeping and approved by the Home Office, Best Bar None is a nationally recognised accreditation and award scheme which has a proven track record in improving standards and reducing crime in the night time economy across the country.
Altogether, seventeen licensed premises in Wigan town centre have proven to Best Bar None assessors that they meet the standards required for accreditation to the scheme.
Staff from each of the venues attended a ceremony at the Orwell on Wigan Pier this week to find out which of them were considered by judges to have demonstrated exceptional commitment to community safety.
Venues entered three separate categories: Best Bar, Best Pub and Best Club, and an overall winner was chosen from these.
The ceremony was opened by the Mayor of Wigan Borough, Cllr Myra Whiteside, who called on the audience to observe a minute’s silence in respect of Michael Warhurst who tragically died last week after falling and striking his head on the pavement in King Street; and for 32 year old Brent Croft who remains in hospital after being subjected to a serious assault in one of the bars on King Street.
The Revolution Bar on King Street was voted overall winner, after winning the Best Bar category. Chris Coutanche from the Revolution paid tribute to his staff for their loyalty and commitment. He said:
"It is an honour for Revolution to be chosen for this award. The staff are the engine room and the heartbeat of our business, from the cleaners and the DJs to the door staff and managers. Their hard work is much appreciated."
A competition run in the Wigan Evening Post inviting readers to vote for the premises they considered Best Bar None resulted in an award for the staff of Little 15s, one of four awards given to the Inn The Bar group. Accepting the Readers' Vote award from the editor of the Wigan Evening Post, Janet Wilson, Inn The Bar’s Tony Callaghan said:
"We're all buzzing! I'm absolutely thrilled on behalf of all my teams because it's testament to their hard work and commitment that our venues have been recognised in this way. I have always been a huge fan of the Best Bar None scheme. It's good for business, for our partners and customers and most of all it's good for Wigan. I hope it continues into the future and goes from strength to strength."
Tony Callaghan and his team from Little 15s receive the Readers' Vote Award, presented by the editor of Wigan Evening Post, Janet Wilson.
And the winner is…
Winner: Harry’s Bar
Runner Up: Moon under the Water
Runner Up: Mortimer’s
Runner Up: Independence
Runner Up: Harry's Bar
To qualify for Best Bar None accreditation, pubs, bars and clubs are required to meet certain standards in operational management, particularly in relation to measures designed to reduce crime and disorder, prevent public nuisance, promote public safety, protect children from harm and raise awareness around alcohol consumption.
The partners who helped to bring this scheme to Wigan include Greater Manchester Police, Wigan Council, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, North West Ambulance Service, the NHS – and of course, the licensed premises themselves.
The Mayor of Wigan Borough, Cllr Myra Whiteside, said:
“The associated costs relating to public protection can be significant. And then there is the human cost, something that has been brought sharply home to us here in Wigan over the last few days.
“It's these tragic events which prove that every town centre with a thriving night time economy needs a scheme like Best Bar None to promote responsible management of licensed premises and partnership in action.
“I applaud those premises that have demonstrated that they already meet the stringent standards in operational management required for accreditation to Best Bar None. And I hope the scheme continues to attract support for many years to come, with more licensed premises across all our town centres signing up to show their commitment to community safety and public protection.”
Carol Lyons, Alcohol Business Manager in Wigan Council’s Drug and Alcohol Action Team, said:
“All members of the licensed trade, managers, bar workers and security staff have an important role to play in preventing alcohol related problems. Responsible retailing practice can help enormously in preventing issues, for instance in tackling underage drinking or training staff to have the confidence to refuse alcohol to people who are already drunk. These awards recognise the commitment and hard work that the licensed trade in Wigan already contribute in making our town centre safe for everyone.”
David McNally, Community Resuscitation Manager for the North West Ambulance Service, presented some of the awards, added:
"The North West Ambulance Service is the first ambulance service in the country to become involved in Best Bar None scheme. We recognise the real value this scheme has in helping reduce the number of incidents involving alcohol. It will also enhance our partnership with other emergency services and of course with the licensed trade themselves, not least in promoting best practice in both prevention and protection. I look forward to working on best Bar None schemes in other towns across the North West."
Last week, community safety chiefs expressed the shock and sorrow following recent tragic incidents on King Street which left one man dead and another seriously injured. Supt Andrea Jones of Greater Manchester Police, Wigan Division, said:
“Recent tragic events on King Street are cause for great concern to all the partners who work hard to make our town centre safe for innocent revellers and our thoughts are with the victims and their families.
“Given the rarity of serious incidents of violent crime in Wigan town centre, it is clear that many bars, pubs and clubs already adhere to the highest standards when it comes to the responsible management of licensed premises."
Sponsors of the campaign include Diageo (GB); LWV Printworks; Britvic soft Drinks, Highfield (HABC) and Radius Security. Howard Gallimore was one of many local businesses to donate a prize, offering entrants of the Wigan Evening Reader’s Vote a chance to win a meal for four and a weekly treat of fish and chip supper for a year.
Awards sponsor, Mark Amphlett, Managing Director of Radius Security Ltd which provides door supervisors for licensed premises across the North West, believes door staff play an essential role in public protection. He said:
"Best Bar None strives to raise awareness within the licensed trade and wider community by recognising responsible retailing and professional standards. This is an ethos shared by Radius Security. Our door staff are committed to maintaining professional standards and ensuring that customers feel safe in their social activities. We would like to congratulate all of the winners and those accredited with Best Bar None status in their tremendous achievements."