Shaftesbury Chamber of Commerce is spending ‘a four figure sum’ on bunting to enhance the appearance of our town centre. And as the Chamber chairman explains, the traders and business organisation has been keen to source from a local supplier and to avoid decorations that use plastics.
The chairman of the Chamber of Commerce is pleased that his committee has agreed to buy bunting. “It is all part of the visitor experience. If you go down to any seaside town on the Dorset coast there’s bunting fluttering in the wind, and it just makes everyone cheer up,” said David Perry, adding, “It’s not for any particular event, it’s just to make the town spectacularly jolly during the summer.”
The bunting will decorate the town centre from the start of the tourism season, David said. “It will go up in May, June and July, so it covers the Fringe and Food Festival and then we’ll probably take it down and put it up later in the summer. If we leave it all through the summer, it’ll just become visual noise and people just won’t notice it, but I think it has more impact if you take it down and put it back up again.”
David says the Chamber has commissioned enough bespoke bunting to add colour from Teddybear Corner to Cranbornes. “The 500 metres that we’ve committed to should cover from The Commons right down to Angel Square. I’ve asked the Town Council to take it to their committee and we have talked to the Tourist Information Centre to see whether they want to add some more lengths of bunting,” said David. “I felt that was more positive than looking for part-funding for 1,000 meters of bunting because it means that whatever happens, we’re going to have 500 metres of bunting up this summer.”
David would like to take the bunting further, if the town’s other organisations will fund an extended display. “If we can get another 500 meters of bunting we can do the commercial end of Bell Street, we can go down the commercial end of Salisbury Street, we can go up Coppice Street for a bit and maybe along Mustons Lane and Angel Lane.”
David thinks that stretching bunting between residential properties might present a challenge. “One of the caveats of that is that we have to have anchor points above the height of a bus. Putting it on private housing might be a bit of a barrier.”
David says the Chamber is funding the bunting from its own reserves, for the benefit of the town. And the committee was insistent that they were not going to buy plastic materials. “It’ll cost four figures. We could have got it cheaper but that would include plastics and we don’t like plastics. What we’re doing is getting good, high quality and sustainable bunting made locally by Decor by Georgie in Salisbury Street. We all need to work towards a plastic free world and plastic-free towns are a starter,” said David.
“I use lovely canvas cotton fabrics that they used to use hundreds of years ago,” said bunting maker, Georgie Faulkner-Bryant. “People worry about fading, ripping and tearing but if they’re made nicely then they will last.” And Georgie says that the bunting will be waterproof. “It’s like hanging washing on the line. If they get wet, they dry because they are hung up.”
The Chamber understands that the bunting will last for at least four years. “It can last longer if it is looked after. We’re just up the road to help them with packing and cleaning and storing,” Georgie said.
Georgie is proposing bunting of different sizes, to make an impact. “When people get bunting mass-produced from factories, they’ll just do the quickest job possible. But we like to put a bit of thought and design into it. In the past, I’ve made alternated flags and people have loved it. They love the effect,” she said.
The colour scheme is bright and vibrant and has been carefully considered. “When we came up with a design, we had to think about the fact that it would be up for a long time and how it would sit together, so I’m really excited about decorating the town and seeing what people think of it,” said Georgie.
“There are small gold and big pinky-red triangles, which reflect the colours of Shaftesbury Fringe, because it’ll go up around the Fringe time. It also reflects the colours of the Chamber’s ‘Indy Shaftesbury’ campaign and there’s a sort of a gentle nod towards the Dorset flag, which is red and yellow,” David said.
It’s a big job but Georgie says she can easily handle it. “For the last twelve years, I’ve made bunting for people all over the UK, Ireland and Europe,” said Georgie. “We’ve had some huge jobs. We’ve made thousands of metres of bunting for different companies and different events and festivals. I have a lovely team of people that I can call on and we can put it together in about four weeks.”