Wakefield City of Culture bid could create jobs and investment

It could easily get lost what benefits City of Culture status could bring to the place we live.

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 1:03 pm
Updated Thursday, 24th June 2021, 1:04 pm

It would not just be a seal of approval for the district’s museums and galleries – recent history shows us that the title can bring real change to cities.

Previous cities have that have been crowned City of Culture have benefited significantly from the status.

The potential economic benefits are clear and would range from visitors spending more cash the city to investment in key parts of our district.

The bid launch

Wakefield Council has stated that it sees culture and tourism as a part of our recovery after the pandemic.

When the city hosts large events such as the Rhubarb Festival or Festival of the Moon they tend to be hugely popular and the council is counting on their value.

In this instalment of the event, for 2025, Wakefield will be battling against bids from Bradford, Chelmsford, Cornwall, Lancashire, Medway, and Southampton.

The first city to take up the mantle was Derry-Londonderry in 2013, then followed by Hull in 2017.

The title attracted millions of visitors and drew in significant investments for both cities.

The cultural schemes have had a lasting positive impact on local people, with surveys showing that communities felt prouder and more positive about the place they live after their City of Culture year.

Coventry is this year’s city.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport said city’s status was already providing a blueprint for how culture can be at the heart of social and economic recovery.

This year Coventry expects to see a significant boost in visitor numbers and economic investment with over £110 million in additional investment secured over the 2018-22 period.

The programme aims to attract around 5,000 volunteers and create more than 900 jobs in the city.

Martin Sutherland, chief executive of Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “The impact that winning the UK City of Culture title has on a city is huge.

“Over the last four years in Coventry, we have seen significant investment come into the city as a direct result of being UK City of Culture 2021, leading to an ambitious reimagining of the city’s public realm and cultural infrastructure as well as supporting the extraordinary artists, freelancers, cultural organisations and charities that make this youthful and diverse city so exciting.

“Our year as UK City of Culture has just begun, but we can already sense the long-lasting impact on the city, its business and its communities.”

The bids for the 2025 title will be assessed by an independent panel chaired by Sir Phil Redmond, joined by Claire McColgan, director of Culture Liverpool, as deputy chairwoman.

The panel of 11 members will include representatives for Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England.

It will visit each of the shortlisted cities, to be announced later this year, before each city or town makes a final pitch to become the next UK City of Culture. The winning city or town will be announced in spring 2022.

Prospective bidders will be invited to join a two day workshop in Coventry which will provide further detailed information and advice on the bidding process.

UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “From Derry-Londonderry, to Hull and Coventry, previous winners have shown how the competition can deliver greater cultural participation, drive economic regeneration and boost local pride.”