Northern Ireland-based nightlife advocacy group Free The Night have launched their first piece of research on the night time economy entitled ‘Transforming Nightlife in Northern Ireland’.
Spearheaded by a group of passionate volunteers, and led by renowned DJ Holly Lester and human rights advocate Boyd Sleator, Free The Night is a non-profit organisation advocating for a safe, progressive and culturally rich environment for nightlife in Northern Ireland.
The report made after a nationwide survey to better understand overall experiences and perceptions of nightlife in Northern Ireland which has lead to the call for progressive licensing policies, improved public safety at night, better night time transport infrastructure, the importance of late-night culture and more. The research was funded by Resident Advisor.
The report is supported by further data, case studies from around the world and freedom of information requests, 13 recommendations have been identified to assist government, councils and other policymakers in creating a more progressive and thriving night time environment for Northern Ireland.
The group hopes that the research and recommendations will be a catalyst for further changes in an upcoming licensing review panel, due to be set up by the NI Assembly later this year. The review will examine the impact of licensing including areas such as economic impact, hospitality and tourism post-pandemic, the impact of additional operating hours/drinking-up time, policing and public health and a review of the surrender principle.
‘Whilst this is only the beginning for us in terms of developing research on Northern Irish nightlife, I think this body of work is a brilliant place to start for anyone who is interested in better nightlife for Northern Ireland, whether that’s as a user, worker, stakeholder or policymaker. We hope that this document will help bring about some serious change in the coming years ’Holly Lester, DJ and Free The Night co-founder
1. Recognise Nightlife Is Culture and an Important Tool for Building Communities
2. Value All Night Time Workers
3. Create Inclusive, Up-To-date Definitions in Nightlife Legislation
4. Improve Nightlife Infrastructure
5. Diversify Socialising Options in the Late Evening and Night
6. Practise a Holistic Approach to Nightlife Regulation
7. Review the Surrender Principle With Transparency
8. Introduce New Licence Categories
9. Devolve Alcohol and Entertainment Licensing to Councils
10. Consider the Importance of Community Health
11. Promote Effective Safety and Monitoring Initiatives at Night
12. Commit to Improving and Sustaining Nightlife in All Sectors and Industries
13. Support and Fund Pilot Schemes and Events to Better Understand Nightlife
The research is now available to read on the Free The Night website.