Claire Allen has lived in Guernsey for more than ten years, having moved to the island with her Guernsey born husband. she is best known for being Festival Director of the Guernsey Literary Festival.
Whilst living here she has set up her own marketing and events company called Ripple and enjoys organising local events. She loves island life and bringing her family up here, but told Express what five things she would change about Guernsey.
1) Increase funding for arts and sports in Guernsey
Guernsey is blessed with some stunningly beautiful scenery for sporting activities such as running and swimming and we should embrace the opportunity to host more international events here. I did an “Otillo” style swim/run race last year which is becoming an increasingly popular sport internationally and could be a good new tourism opportunity for Guernsey. This involved swimming and running up the entire West coast on a glorious October day, tied to a friend! Similarly, events like the Guernsey Literary Festival offer the opportunity for increased cultural tourism to our island. More funding in sports and arts activities in Guernsey would also increase the wellbeing of the people of Guernsey as well as encouraging leaders and innovators to invest in the island. A trip to the harbour or airport at the weekend demonstrates just how large the sporting tourism is locally and how important it is for the economy.
Pictured: Guernsey triathlon swimmers at Vazon
2) Stop complaining that Guernsey is boring
People often complain there is nothing to do in Guernsey but it’s simply not true. I expect we have more clubs, restaurants, cafes and sports pitches to choose from per square metre than anywhere else on the planet! We are also blessed to live in such a beautiful island where swimming in the sea, walking on the cliffs and watching the sun set at Cobo are all free activities! We also have very low crime rates making Guernsey one of the safest places to live and the ideal place to raise children. I know we don’t have international art galleries and museums, but actually we do have a thriving local arts scene.
Pictured: Free entertainment; sunset at Cobo
3) Reduce plastic waste
In France, they have banned plastic bags and in the Netherlands, they have recently opened the first plastic-free supermarket aisles. I would like to see these initiatives introduced in Guernsey. Some supermarkets in the Channel Islands have vowed to reduce plastic from their own brand produce in the next five years, but I’d like to see all of them make this pledge. I’d also like to see a ban of plastic straws in restaurants and bars.
4) Reduce the cost of living
The biggest issue for Guernsey I think is the cost of living. I understand that most things need to be shipped in (and that costs money), which increases the price of goods. However, living in Guernsey goes beyond anything I’ve experienced before. The primary driver is the cost of housing, with approximately 4% of the cost price going on various fees. I find little government support for first time buyers and essential workers.
5) Improve connectivity
I would like to see improved connections to Jersey and France for short breaks. The current ferry schedule is not enough for Guernsey. We live on a small island, and connectivity is vital for business, leisure and sporting fixtures. We used to be able to do day returns by ferry to Jersey, and now this is barely feasible. I’d also like to see the Channel Islands work more closely together on their tourism and strategic business offerings as well as their government pledges.
Pictured: Jersey and Guernsey
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