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Paphos Local News December 2017

Paphos commended as good example of European capital of culture
By Bejay Browne
Paphos is a good example of a European Capital of culture, European Union Culture Commissioner Tibor Navracsics said at the official opening ceremony of the Cultural Capital of Europe and East Asia Forum in Shanghai.

Mayor of Paphos Phedonas Phedonos also addressed the forum on behalf of all the mayors of the European Capitals of Culture.
A spokesman for Paphos municipality said the town was complimented on its approach and implementation of the Cultural Capital title and is being hailed as a good example for future capitals of culture.
“A successful cultural capital is judged according to three main pillars, the cultural programme, the projects and the participation of the local society,” he said.
Phedonos also held a private discussion with the Commissioner within the framework of the forum, he said that Paphos would be invited to Brussels to present the city’s good example to new capitals of cultures.
At the Shanghai event, the mayor also presented the upgrading projects going on in the town and the impact they have had on the local culture and society. A similar presentation was also made by the chairman of Pafos2017 Christos Patsalides.
The forum was attended by mayors and delegations from 14 European cities that have previously held the title or have been selected as future Cultural Capitals.
The European Capital of Culture programme was initially called the European City of Culture and was conceived by Melina Mecouri, in 1983. The programme was launched in 1985 and Athens was the first title-holder. In 1999, it was renamed the European Capital of Culture.
The initiative is designed to highlight the richness and diversity of cultures in Europe, celebrate shared cultural features, increase European citizens’ sense of belonging to a common cultural area and foster the contribution of culture to the development of cities.
Experience has shown that the event is also an excellent opportunity for regenerating cities, raising their international profile, enhancing their local image, breathing new life into a city’s culture and boosting tourism.

Gift of love appeals for gifts for children this Christmas
By Bejay Browne
‘Gift of love Paphos’ which ensures hundreds of children of needy families in the district receive presents at Christmas is underway and is appealing for gifts and food vouchers.
The initiative started five years ago and this year is headed up by volunteer Mikka Heaney, who said she is now collecting gifts for children of all ages, kindly donated by members of the public.
“This year we aim to help around three hundred children through local schools and other organisations. These gifts will go towards the most needs families in the community and will give them a smile on Christmas day,” she said.
Heaney is undertaking the project alone this year and said that volunteers and donors are welcome.
“I couldn’t bear the thought of any children going without a gift this year, it’s not fair on them and they need to know that people are thinking about them and care about them. Its hard work and labour intensive, but it’s important to put a smile on their face, whatever their background or religion,” she said.
Gift of Love embodies the spirit of Christmas and gives gifts to all sorts of families, Cypriot, British, Russian and Syrian, she added.
In addition to the gifts, Heaney is also collecting food vouchers which will ensure these families will get meat, chicken or turkey during the festive season, and also dried and canned goods, such as pasta, rice and tinned tomatoes.
Unlike other years, presents do not need to be placed in shoe boxes which can be hard for the public to find, said Heaney, but can also be placed in bags, sacks, stockings or baskets, she said.
Presents will be checked by volunteers ahead of their distribution in the Paphos district, so they may be donated wrapped or unwrapped and a team of six women from a quad bike group will help this process this year, added Heaney.

All gift of love boxes/bags are filled with a selection of gifts around the value of €10-€15 each.
“Our goal is to provide each of our children with the necessities and a few luxury items such as chocolate or a toy for example,” she noted.
The children’s ages range from 0 to 18 years, however, this year’s vital ages are 2 to 16 years, the 0-2 age group for both boys and girls have already been covered, so donations in this section are not needed, she said.
All sorts of gifts are required, a full list and guidelines are available on the appeals’ Facebook page and are age-related. They include colouring books, crayons, socks, gloves, sleepwear, toiletries, sweets, chocolate, hot water bottles, deodorant, clothes, nail varnish, makeup, calculators, writing pads, pens, small games and jewellery.
The gifts are distributed every December through various networks such as schools and community centres.
“We can all help to make a child feel special this Christmas and I hope our wonderful community helps again this year,” she said.
Details of pick up and drop off points are available at the dedicated Facebook page and include: Revival Fashions in Kissonerga, Chalkies Bar Coral Bay Strip, Baby corner Chlorakas and Style Spas Mesoyi Avenue.
Mikka Heaney: 96 462558
Paphos working with industry professionals to promote sports tourism
By Bejay Browne
Sports training camps have been established in Paphos and are attracting world and Olympic medal holders and there are plans to further expand this market and increase the appeal for foreign athletes, Andreas Demetriades, head of the Paphos chamber of commerce and industry, EVE, told the Paphos Post.

He added that industry professionals and tourism experts are working closely together to promote sports tourism in Paphos but that further infrastructure is needed to keep up with the demand, as some athletes are being turned away.
“We are already struggling to cope with the demand which is spread among all sorts of sports activities, from visitors, individuals and organised groups,” he said.
Although there is some good infrastructure in place, such as Olympic sized swimming pools and sports training grounds, which can accommodate this type of tourism, more needs to be done as facilities are already stretched, stakeholders agree.
“We have already approached the government to request state owned land in Paphos to be rented for a period of ten years which could then be used to accommodate football training and other sports,” said Euripides Loizides, head of the Paphos Hoteliers Association.
Demetriades confirmed that EVE is working closely with local municipalities, the local tourism board and other stakeholders to increase the number of playing fields and other facilities.
Loizides said that unlike the wider tourism sector, sports tourism, once established, is a steady market, where athletes will return year after year for training and holidays. All sorts of athletes are visiting Paphos, he said, including those participating in football, cycling and swimming.
Head of the Paphos regional board of tourism, Nasos Hadjigeorgiou said that the existing infrastructure meets the demands of the most intensive, professional training programmes, and that sports tourism is a multimillion industry for Paphos, and a very important niche market.
Athletic events also act as leverage to ease seasonality and to extend the tourist season, keeping Paphos buoyant as an all year round destination. He said that the top five sports where Paphos should further invest are: golf, cycling, running, swimming and football training.

“Even though infrastructure hasn’t changed much during the last few years, the tourism board has been working closely with and supporting local professionals, which has brought great results,” he said.
Hadjigeorgiou said that joining forces with other authorities and professionals to focus on promoting the region, has resulted in the number of athletes choosing Paphos to train to increase every year.
Such a positive outcome has been helped by Mokapot Productions which was set up in Paphos two years ago by Tony Martin, a 53-year-old former British Army Commando Royal Engineer. Martin has specialised in sporting events and training camps for over 24 years and the company provide, amongst others things, sports training camps and support services.
He has also designed and produced international events in Antarctica, the North Pole, Colorado and Siberia, as well as television programmes including Top Gear Polar Challenge and others.
Mokapot established Xterra, an internationally recognised off-road triathlon in Cyprus, which initially attracted athletes from 17 countries. They are expecting around 40 or so countries to participate in April 2018. They have also joined forces with other stakeholders to bring ‘Ocean Lava’, an international on-road triathlon, to Cyprus in 2018.
“We currently have World Champions, Olympic gold and silver medallists, a full time pro squad in Triathlon and Olympic standard swimmers all training here,” he said.
A number of Paphos hotels such as Almyra, Aliathon, Constantiou brother’s and Louis hotels, as well as others, are already involved in the sports tourism market and have special facilities for athletes such as bike gyms, pools and training gyms.
Hadjigeorgiou said that from 2017, the tourism board, along with hoteliers and sports professionals have implemented a specific action plan to promote the five top level athletic events taking place in Paphos: Gran Fondo cycling, Cyprus marathon, Xterra triathlon, Paphos triathlon, four day challenge, as well as attracting athletes through training camps.

New Christmas decorations for Paphos
By Bejay Browne
Paphos will be awash with new Christmas decorations this year which will reflect the ‘new face’ of the city, according to the municipality.
The council has awarded the tender for new lights and decorations to a Greek company, totalling one 130,000 euros, according to Paphos councillor, Andreas Chrysanthou.
“The old decorations are unusable and the new ones, from the proposal that I have seen, will give us some decent Christmas decorations that will last us at least six years,” he said.
Chrysanthou noted that the decorations will be placed in central areas of Paphos and consist mostly of items crafted using LED lighting.
“There will be Christmas trees, street decorations and high level decorations across the streets,” he said.
A municipality spokeswoman added that although finances are ‘tight’ it is important to boost the new appearance of Paphos and the old decorations were mostly broken and unusable.
“The plan is to buy new items every year and it’s impossible to purchase everything in one go, as it would need a budget of at least half a million euros,” she said.
The new decorations will adorn Kennedy square, the commercial town centre, Debenhams roundabout, Poseidon’s Avenue, and another roundabout into the town.
The town’s main large Christmas tree will be placed in nearby Kennedy Square outside, as the area outside Paphos town hall will hold the Pafos2017 capital of culture closing ceremony.

Revamped charity shop making thousands for Paphos dogs
By Bejay Browne
Paws dog shelter shop in Chlorakas has fast established itself as the number one charity and second-hand furniture shop on the island, through the efforts of one Paphos woman who has galvanised staff and turned fortunes around in a matter of months.

The shop, on a main road in Chlorakas, Paphos, also boasts a newly opened 400m2 basement which sells good quality second-hand furniture and a double shop frontage.
Stephanie Driscoll, 55, is a fully qualified nurse, who retired to Paphos from the UK with husband Michael in 2012. The animal lover – her first memory is rescuing a bee trapped in a spider’s web at the age of four– aims to raise 120 thousand euros a year through sales at the shop, all of which will go towards helping the 150 or so unwanted and stray dogs at Paws dog shelter in Achaelia.
“The shelter team do a superb job and they are all very special people. I want to work hard at the shop to ensure that they never have to worry about paying a vet’s bill, or funding airline flights for those being rehomed abroad,” she told the Paphos Post.
Founded in January 1985, Paws dog shelter aims to rehome as many shelter dogs as possible and offer them a better quality of life, said Matthew Harris, one of the shelter managers.
“It will cost us around 200 thousand euros to operate the shelter this year and since Stephanie has taken over the shop and it’s working so well, it is allowing us to do things we couldn’t before, such as fixing up dogs with bad physical injuries,” he said.
Funds raised go to feeding the dogs and vets’ bills. Every dog has blood tests on arrival to check they are healthy and are then either spayed or neutered. They are made ready to either travel abroad to be rehomed or stay in the shelter.
Driscoll and her husband live in Chlorakas with a number of rescued animals – three dogs, five cats and two rabbits. The animal lover started helping out at the charity shop in 2014 when it was far smaller.
“I realised that they needed investment and expansion, so we donated some money and a number of local tradespeople worked at the shop to extend it, and now it’s double the size,” she said.
Harris said that Driscoll’s vision for the store, which was previously barely breaking even, and the dedication of volunteers are helping ease the lives of hundreds of Paphos’ dogs.
This year, the shop manager, who is paid by the charity but pours all of her wages back into the shop, along with staff created an art gallery selling pictures and paintings, a bedding and lighting area and a huge furniture outlet on the lower level. The store also sells clothing for adults and children, books, white goods, kitchen equipment and bric a brac.
Driscoll has already hit her 10,000 euros a month target once, and come close to it on a number of other occasions, and said the shop’s success is due to a concerted team effort from volunteers, only selling good quality, clean and quality stock, and the ability to deliver goods swiftly, in many instances, on the same day.
Younger volunteers have also stared working at the shop, which has helped to inject a different dynamic, she said, although volunteers of all ages are still required.
Driscoll also spends time heavily promoting new stock on social media, utilising the shop and shelter’s Facebook pages, as it is important to keep items moving.
With Christmas approaching, staff have opened a Christmas showroom upstairs and at the end of November, husband Michael will open a Christmas grotto, complete with Father Christmas.
Many of the shelter’s dogs find new homes in Germany, through the work of the facility’s sister charity, Zypern Hunde and this year’s figures could hit 200 rehomings with them, said Harris.
Dogs remain at the shelter for around one to three years on average before they find homes and the shelter does not euthanise any healthy dogs.
“Last year we rehomed 300 of the 370 dogs that came to us, including our longest resident, 16-year-old Betty Boo, who has been with us for 13 years. She went to a new home in Germany,” he said.
Paws charity shop, Chlorakas Paphos- 97 826876
Paws Dog Shelter – 99 683775

Largest Paphos Park created by new tree planting
By Bejay Browne
A tree planting event took place in Paphos in November, creating the largest park in the centre of Paphos, according to a municipality spokesman.

Dozens of local students and environmentalists took part in the event, which saw the planting of five hundred and twenty five new trees, the cost of which was covered entirely by sponsorship from telecommunications company, Cyta.
“The park was created opposite the monument of Makarios and the soil was carefully prepared before to increase the chance of the tree surviving and also saves more than 70% of water,” he said.
Speaking at the ceremony, Paphos Mayor Phedonas Phedonos expressed his joy and satisfaction at the presence of young student volunteers, stressing that their contribution clearly sends the message that today’s and tomorrow’s citizens of Paphos appreciate the environment, care their town ​​and seek a better quality of life.
“Through this new intervention, we want to create a vibrant culture nucleus and an environmental reference point. We want to offer the residents of the region a place of relaxation and sociability, good entertainment and natural beauty,” he said.
He also made special mention of the renovation and transformation of the Turkish Cypriot building, known as the “Ahmet Rashid House”, which is included in the site, and aims to establish it for innovative enterprises, noting that this initiative is part of a new era for Paphos, that of modern technology, and a “smart and green city”, and sustainable actions and sustainable development.
The building will be fully renovated, at an estimated cost of around 300,000 euros which will come from European funding.
The event was also welcomed by head of Cyta for the region, Costas Mantis, and the representative of the Environment Commissioner, Ioanna Panagiotou.
The park, which will be home not only to trees but also flowers and shrubs, will also include a playground, a small refreshment area, a walkway and a cycle path.

Holidaymaker raising funds for ‘Paphos cat lady’
By Bejay Browne
A British holidaymaker has started a fundraising page to help a Paphos cat lover raise much needed funds for her animal welfare work.
Jay Swann, a 31 year old GP from Edinburgh, is on her first trip to Cyprus and told the Paphos Post that she was so moved after meeting 73-year-old Gaynor Georgiou, affectionately known as the ‘cat lady’ of Paphos, that she wanted to do something to help.
“Her plight and a lifetime of selfless work greatly touched me and I set up a Go Fund Me page to raise money to help her feed and care for the stray cats of Paphos,” Swann said
The GP has grown up with cats and lives with two rescues. After reading about Georgiou in the press, Swann and her partner Matthew found Georgiou on her daily feeding rounds in Paphos old town and handed over some cat food.

Georgiou said: “It’s wonderful that they came and found me, and also that they are helping to raise funds to feed the cats, I am really desperate and I have been struggling this year, even two euros will help.”
Swann said that although the pair gave Georgiou a small donation, some tins and a bag of dry food, they realised that far more needs to be done.
Georgiou spends hundreds of euros of her own money on the cats but is reliant on donations for the animals – she looks after around 160 cats, which amounts to at least 20kg of food every three days. She has been doing this for the last 27 years.
The GP’s initial goal is to raise £250 but she said she is also concerned as Georgiou also needs some real long term help.
When possible, the 73-year-old catches the stray cats and kittens and takes them to Paphiakos and CCP animal welfare charity’s free spaying and neutering programme.
Georgiou’s task has been made more difficult as people have started to dump unwanted cats and kittens at one of her popular feeding areas.
“They are dumping their unwanted pets, many have already been spayed and are very friendly, it’s really sad,” she said.
Georgiou said the cats are her life and apart from them, she only has a sister, who is in a coma in the UK. She recently managed to get four friends to feed the cats so she could take a short trip to the UK to visit her sister in hospital.
“This has been a terrible year for me and I only have my cats. They have taken possession of me and I would never walk away from them, but I really do need some help.”
If you would like to help Gaynor: or call: 99 778962



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