Hello there. Hope you’re feeling well today.There is apparently a National Lottery “Great Place” scheme which gives money areas to rebrand and publicise itself to the world out there. Barry in South Wales has apparently received such money.
It posed an interesting question in my head. Does Barry actually need a rebrand? And I think the answer is slightly. Very slightly.
Regular readers may remember that one of my first posts on Barry Town was chatting about a comment made by Cardiff Labour Councillor Russell Goodway who said that Barry Town lacked a purpose (he incidentally lives in the area!). It gives a perception that Barry Town is just….well…there. I suspect Cardiff Labour Council just thinks Barry is there for day trips and a commuting town for people who can’t afford the cost of living in the capital.
But I like Barry. No one will ever compare it with Paris or Milan or even Bari (sorry couldn’t resist) but it strikes me as having a happy-go-lucky charm and obviously more livelier than it’s urban pair of slippers equivalent in nearby Penarth.
Having lived near the urban tragedy that is Bridgend Town I can tell you that Barry’s problems are small in comparison.
There is I suspect the need to emphasise that there is a difference between what Barry Town and Barry Island have to offer. If you don’t know the area (and before I moved to Wales I did this) there is a good chance you’d confuse the two. The Island (not really an island) is the seaside part with all you would expect from such a place.
The town seems drab in comparison. But if you look under the surface it has the ability to surprise. Barry High Street (which I’ve written about previously) was an absolute revelation to me. I haven’t seen this line-up of mainly independent and quirky shops for decades. Really it should become a heritage site it’s that unique.
(A quick digression. When my daughter was about two there was a programme on Ceebies called Doodle Do hosted by Welsh comedian Chris Corcoran. In this particular episode I watched with her he told a story of a guy called Barry who got shipwrecked. One of the first things he did according to Mr Corcoran was to name the place Barry Island.
Well I laughed. My daughter however turned to me with a confused look on her face. As if to say why is Dad laughing at a programme for me?)
So perhaps there is a need to emphasise the differences and qualities the Island and the Town has. As well as keeping the free car parking in the area (Unlike Bridgend Town for example. One of areas I’d argue which has damaged it so severely).
Nowhere is perfect and Barry does have issues. But in terms of branding and promoting itself other than a bit of sprucing up and a lick of paint here and there (both physically and metaphorically) my view is that Barry should be proud at what it is.
Barrybados with hidden gems.
Until the next time