You might have seen FOR Cardiff’s ambassadors roaming the streets of Cardiff and wondered what they’re up to in recent months. Emily Newsham had a chat with the executive director of FOR Cardiff, Adrian Fields, to find out.
What is the purpose of FOR Cardiff?
For Cardiff is a business improvement district; it’s a defined geographical area within the city centre which works with businesses to agree to a range of projects that will help improve the trading environment. We want to make the city more welcoming and vibrant, to get businesses to help influence things that they want or don’t want. It’s funded through a levy, which the businesses pay each.
Has FOR Cardiff been successful, and if so, why?
We’re only 16 months into our tenure and we’ve done a lot in that time. We make sure businesses maximise all opportunities. Street ambassadors liaise with businesses and tell them what’s going on. We help fund the street pastors to make sure people feel safe at night, and we’re doing initiatives with the police.
You’ve recently announced the permanent extension of your deep cleansing programme across the city, which helps businesses and streets maintain a spick-and-span look – what has been the most rewarding part of this process?
The visual before-and-after, and the feedback we’ve had so far from the businesses and the public, has been really good because they’ve wanted us to address that issue. Businesses have been pleased with what we’ve done – we keep listening to them and acting upon what they want us to do.
Can you tell us what other projects you have planned for Cardiff?
We’re looking to do a sort of oasis in the city centre, where people can go and listen to some live music or spoken word in the area opposite St Davids Hall. We’re doing a project to improve superfast broadband in the Castle Quarter, as well as offering training for businesses, and the Give Differently campaign, which addresses the issue of homelessness, which has had a lot of social media interest.
What would be the best advice you would give to people to keep the streets of Cardiff clean?
Don’t litter, use the bins. If businesses have an issue, let us know. It would be perfect if people didn’t drop chewing gum. We’re quite realistic – that’s will always happen, but we want to stop that.
If you could go to one unique place in Wales that not many people know about, where would it be, and why?
The arcades within Cardiff, it’s our little gem, that not enough people know about. I think once people are there they’d be really impressed with what we’ve got to offer.