Barrybados – The Island Has Been Regenerated

The regeneration of Barry deserves credit. Before we started Barrybados, all we heard was negative remarks about Barry, ‘Bring back Butlins’, ‘Bring back the Lido’, ‘Barry isn’t what it used to be’. Having had more of an active role in watching Barry grow over the past few years, we’ve seen remarkable changes. The island has evolved from an old fashioned resort stuck within the glory of the early 90’s, to a modern, family orientated venue, that is extremely good for day trippers.

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The modern re-development of the Eastern Promenade transformed a neglected area which significantly needed investment. New toilet facilities, a modern typograph climbing wall, which has over 4000 shapes and 1000 novelty climbing holds, new walkways, the wimple and not to mention a new modern café in Bay 5, which ouses prestige.

dsc_1083_1Each year, the council put on a remarkable number of events which have been labelled the Barry Island Weekenders. Having been involved in GlastonBARRY over the years, I know how much organisation and commitment it takes to put on a quality event. But to put events on for 6 or 7 weeks straight, with 1 a week, spanning both the Saturday and Sunday without any major issues, deserves some major credit. Having attended these events over the years, I don’t think there have been any major incidents that spring to mind, besides the weather, even Derek can’t help with that one. If you take the ‘Cinema by the Sea’ as an example, people just turn up to watch two great films each August bank holiday weekend. The production and detail in organisation can take months to plan, and they work hard to ensure there is zero to minimal issues that occur. The Barry Island Weekenders are now part of the summer calendar each year.

Even with all of this, one of the biggest achievements I think can be said over this period to help regenerate Barry is the new owners for the fairground. I for one was sick of seeing that run dun, old, slimy, green, moss ridden log flume that had become one of the biggest eye sores known to Barry. The fairground is in a rebuilding phase and may take several years to get where it wants to be, but I think it’s on the right track, even the Barry Eye is (finally) ready.

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Not only this, as a small business that started out very very small, just 20 mugs in fact, we were put in touch with a company via the council, who pointed us the right direction to get some funding to help us grow and produce the Barrybados products that everyone loves. Without their help, we would be struggling, there would be no Barrybados gift shop and we wouldn’t have been able to bring out half the stuff we have. We’ve had nothing but support since starting Barrybados and I’m sure other local businesses like ourselves will back this up.

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I wrote this blog a few backs, as soon as The Daily Vale asked us, mid-September I recall. But since then, another epic attraction has been added to the Barry calendar in ‘Ice Central’. Personally, I think this is one of the greatest things to happen in Barry for a while. Why should people of the Vale, have to travel to Cardiff for a winter wonderland, why should Cardiff have all the glory when the Vale is more than capable of providing and hosting something on this scale. It’s great to see Mack Events involved also, they have a proven track of providing entertainment and I’m sure they won’t disappoint. It also gives local traders a boost too with an increase in footfall.

It’s easy to criticise, but sometimes I think we need to look at the positives more than negatives. Not everything can be fixed at the same time, it takes time, planning and money. Barry is on the rise again, but without the redevelopment and support for local business, we might still be living on past achievements instead of creating a new legacy for years to come.

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