City of Culture 2025: Your messages of support for Wakefield as district prepares to enter bid
With just days to go until the deadline for Wakefield's entry into the City of Culture competition, dozens of the district's biggest names and businesses have offered their support to the bid.
These are some of the best messages of support from businesses, residents and community groups across the Wakefield district.
Want to add a message of support to the list? Send an email to [email protected] with the subject line "City of Culture 2025" and we'll feature your comments in future editions.
Kevin Garbutt represents art-based social enterprise Be More Blueberry, which comprises a group of artists who live and work in a supported living establishment in Featherstone.
He said: "We would like to add our support to to the City of Culture bid.
"Having seen the effect that being a City of Culture brought to Hull (I was a student there, back in the day) and particularly the Art gallery there, it brought a real vibe to the city, which could be replicated here."
Production Park, a specialist live events centre in South Kirkby, has also backed the bid, with CEO Lee Brooks promising that securing the title would give everyone "something that they can get behind".Karen Sadler, of the Wakefield Green Party, said: "Wakefield Green Party would like to support Wakefield Council's bid for the City of Culture 2025.
"There are strong links in Wakefield with culture, sustainability, the environment and individual wellbeing. The opportunities that will be afforded by the title will have huge benefits for our people and places now and for future generations."
And the founders of Wakefield-based hospitality group Host & Home have also shown their support.
In a statement, Noel Roberts, Callum Trout and Nathan Birkinshaw said: "Host & Home is a well loved independent hospitality group, that operates five venues within Wakefield City Centre.
"We chose to firmly plant our roots in Wakefield as life long residents, we wholeheartedly love the city and the town centre, its people and its culture and are excited to create more bars for locals to enjoy and call home.
"Seeing it grow over the last twenty years being in business in the town, we have seen the highs and lows and believe that we’re on the trajectory to rightly hold the title of City Of Culture!
"We can’t wait to see what the future holds, and this is just the beginning."
The founders of creative hub Tileyard North have proudly backed the bid, and said they believe it could help Wakefield "become cooler than Leeds".
And plenty of individuals have also offered their support to the bid.
Ralph Crouch said: "Big news. Would be so good for Wakefield!
"Let’s not just think of attractions available now, but build on creating new events -whether art or inspiration, fun or local business - for children, for adults, for families, for Wakefield.
"Let’s set up volunteers to help manage events. I’ve seen so many great events at Hull City of Culture!"
Artist Tony Wade said: 'I'm an artist and I have worked with communities across Wakefield on cultural projects for over 35 years.
"This district has so much to offer and a successful City of Culture bid will bring those communities together in a celebration of what makes this place so special!"
Margaret Holwell said: "I am so pleased to support the City of Culture bid for 2025. Wakefield and the surrounding towns and areas has always had a strong cultural and historical heritage. It is good that this is recognised in the enthusiasm for this bid.
"Many times I have been further afield from Wakefield and people I have spoken to had no idea of what we had in Wakefield. This has recently been more acknowledged because of the Hepworth, the Sculpture Park and the Rhubarb Triangle all of which have attracted publicity for Wakefield.
"We have a chapel of ease on Kirkgate Bridge, one of only four chantries in the country.
"I could go on but so much has been already said and done in support of the bid but I would urge all the citizens of Wakefield and district to be proud of ourselves and get behind this bid to make it work for all our benefit."
In a letter of support, Graham Howarth, the chair of Wakefield BID, said: "The UK City of Culture 2025 bid brings innovative solutions that harness the already thriving cultural offer of Wakefield. Culture is pivotal in placemaking and shaping; it is an exciting and essential element in recovery and reinvention and brings immense societal benefits.
"City businesses consistently say a top priority for Wakefield must be ‘developing the city’s identity and branding to attract more visitors.’ So, creating a sense of identity around which people can start to take pride is a key topic of discussion in our own extensive research and consultation.
"Wakefield BID will work in tandem with the UK City of Culture 2025 bid, fulfilling members’ interests, driving footfall, and boosting the hospitality industry. We fully support the mission to diversify the culture and leisure economy, expose more residents to the arts, market the city centre as a top UK destination, and animate and celebrate the strengths and characteristics of Wakefield.
"Wakefield BID supports the development and implementation of initiatives that improve the public realm and positively change perceptions of the city centre, locally, regionally and nationally. The UK City of Culture 2025 bid will make Wakefield a more welcoming and vibrant place for our customers and shape an exciting future for our city."