Stringing along to boost World Cup

Some of the children with their bunting. Picture: DAVE COX

Hands up if you're having fun? Picture: DAVE COX

Three cheers for the World Cup. Picture: DAVE COX

First published in News Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , @SwindonAdver007

TWO of the town centre’s busiest streets have been decked out in colour as part of an initiative to ensure people have a safe and enjoyable World Cup.

Swindon Community Safety Partnership (CSP) has joined forces with a number of local schools and youth groups to decorate World Cup-themed bunting.

The bunting, which spans 350m, hangs in the heart of the town’s night-time economy in Fleet Street and Bridge Street, and features flags from each of the World Cup nations.

The display was put together by schools and youth groups including Kingsdown School, Even Swindon Primary School, Ruskin Junior School, Swindon Women’s Aid, BIOS youth group, Wiltshire Police cadets, Wichelstowe Scout and Brownie group and the Autism Centre.

It is hoped the colourful appearance of the area will promote a friendly, carnival atmosphere and encourage people to respect each other and their surroundings.

The bunting display is the latest in a number of initiatives aimed at reducing potential crime and anti-social behaviour during the World Cup.

Last month, Swindon CSP handed out yellow cards at Swindon Town’s final home match of the season against Rotherham. The cards remind people of the need to behave responsibly during the tournament, particularly in licensed premises across the borough.

As well as listing England’s Group D fixtures, the card warns that anyone committing offences in pubs and clubs could face a two-year ban from licensed premises and Swindon town centre.

Swindon CSP, Wiltshire Police and inSwindon have also put together a plan, supported by Swindon Town Football Club, to address issues such as violence and excess drinking during the World Cup.

A poster campaign and using taxi marshals to ensure fans get home safely during England games are just some of the initiatives that will be used by partner agencies over the coming weeks.

Coun Emma Faramarzi, cabinet member for housing and public safety, said: “We want everyone to enjoy this summer’s World Cup, and I hope people will act in the well natured and responsible way that brings out the best of everyone during these fantastic events.

“The bunting the young people have produced is terrific and really brightens up the town centre. We hope it will add to a friendly, party atmosphere for all football fans during the World Cup’s celebration of football.”

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