Manchester garden festival increases city centre footfall

Dig the City's' organisers claim the festival was a success for Manchester's city centre.

The giant water-fight finale at Manchester's Dig the City festival
The giant water-fight finale at Manchester's Dig the City festival
Across seven days (31-6 August) the festival saw increased footfall to the area, up five per cent on the previous year.

The festival was launched by gardener Diarmuid Gavin, seeing a 25 per cent increase in footfall on Friday. On average more than 100,000 people visited the festival area over the garden festival. On New Cathedral Street footfall was up 30 per cent on 2014.

Gavin said the festival was "full of creativity and energy, different from the po-faced garden festivals elsewhere, but full of personal passions, respect for the environment and making gardens and green spaces easily accessible to everyone. Seeing the gardens in Manchester today, they are second to none."

The festival, in its third year, is delivered by the Heart of Manchester Business Improvement District (BID), an independent not-for-profit company. This year it brought 22 show gardens to the city centre, hosted children's events in connection with the BBC and National Trust, free concerts and music events throughout the week and well as a host of retailer "Dig the City" inspired offers and discounts for shoppers. More than 20 leading retailers joined in the Dig the City spirit by creating garden party inspired windows, with House of Fraser winning Best in Show for its display.

Jane Sharrocks, chair of The Heart of Manchester BID said: "We're delighted with Dig the City, building on the success of previous years by offering a remarkable range of things to do, events that appealed to everyone from families to young professionals. Shops across the city centre have been reporting increased footfall with thousands of people coming into Manchester to enjoy the festival. Dig the City is a unique partnership bringing retailers together with community groups and key partners like the BBC and National Trust to deliver something that's truly unique to Manchester."

Anne Latham, general manager, House of Fraser said, "Dig the City has been a great boost for our staff, customers and the city centre itself. Like many retailers, we enjoyed the creative challenge developing garden inspired windows. It's been brilliant to see so many families coming into the city to shop, see the gardens and enjoy the free events."

Sue Jeffries' gold medal winning garden will be rehomed in the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital and the 50 Shades of Green Garden will be made into an outdoor garden in Wythenshawe supplying edible produce for their food education project. The Coronation Street inspired garden will relocate to a resident alleyway in Whalley Range and the Incredible Edible garden will return to Salford. Hulme Community Garden Centre's award winning gold garden will relocate in Hulme as part of a bigger crowd funded 15,000 regeneration project. Plants used to dress the festival have been donated to Manchester Cathedral's Victoria St legacy garden.

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