Annual urban gardening festival keeps on growing
Nine days of Dig the City – Manchester’s urban gardening festival – did wonders for the city centre according to organisers of the festival.
“The legacy of Dig the City will continue for years to come, and the bar has been set high for an equally successful festival next year.” – Cllr Pat Karney
On the opening weekend, retailers experienced a 15 per cent increase in footfall to Manchester city centre compared to the same weekend in 2012, and 32 per cent increase in footfall compared to 2011.
Amongst the retailers to release flourishing figures from the festival period were Selfridges who reported a 32 per cent increase in sales and Oasis who reported a 25 per cent increase.
On King Street, the Dig the City Horticultural Market led to a 152 per cent increase in footfall on the Saturday compared to 2012, and a 114 per cent increase on the Sunday. For the week, footfall on King Street was up 40 per cent year on year.
It was also particularly good news for New Cathedral Street too, with footfall up 24 per cent on last year, and King Street, up 32 per cent during the event.
The festival, the first event delivered by the Heart of Manchester Business Improvement District (BID), an independent not-for-profit company, saw celebrities such as Monty Don, Rachel de Thame and Matt James host talks and workshops alongside experts and events from National Trust, the Womens’ Institute and Manchester Museum.
On the final day of Dig the City (Sunday 11 August) visitors to the city were drawn to the fine food market in Exchange Square and Manchester W.I’s Fete and Dog Show, as footfall was up 20 per cent on this last day alone.
Councillor Pat Karney said: “Dig the City has brought together a number of organisations, partnerships, communities and like-minded people and the positive outcome and support that has blossomed from the festival is incredible, and shows just what can be achieved with a united approach. The legacy of Dig the City will continue for years to come, and the bar has been set high for an equally successful festival next year.”
Thousands of plants, trees and flowers that were used during Dig the City will now be used again in various projects. Those to benefit include Manchester Garden City, Hulme Community Garden Centre, The Booth Centre, Buddleia Art’s ‘Angel Meadows’ Community Project, MacDonald Manchester Hotel & Spa and the Manchester Craft & Design Centre in the Northern Quarter.
The 75 tree forest will be moved from Exchange Square to The Co-op’s new NOMA development site and even the soil and garden waste will be reused – Viridor will be recycling both for compost for Greater Manchester.
Dreamscape Gardens’ Show Garden which featured on New Cathedral Street will be permanently rehoused in Piccadilly Basin as part of the Manchester Garden City scheme, to be looked after by the local gardening group.
With the city centre focus on urban gardening and making the most of our outdoor space, the hope is for Dig the City to keep growing in the years to come. For more information visit www.digthecity.co.uk