Sun­der­land fails in City of Cul­ture bid


The Chronicle - - News - By KATIE DICKINSON Re­porter katie.dickinson@trin­i­tymir­ @KatieJDick­in­son

SUN­DER­LAND missed out on be­com­ing the UK City of Cul­ture in 2021 – but Wear­siders re­main proud of their cam­paign.

The city’s hopes were dashed af­ter a live an­nounce­ment on the BBC’s The One Show on Thurs­day evening in an edi­tion broad­cast live from pre­vi­ous win­ning city Hull.

The win­ner, Coventry, was re­vealed by arts and cul­ture min­is­ter John Glen.

Sun­der­land was also up against Swansea, Pais­ley and Stoke-on-Trent.

De­spite dis­ap­point­ment at miss­ing out on the cov­eted ti­tle, Sun­der­land’s cul­tural lead­ers vowed to still push ahead with a pro­gramme of ‘ma­jor cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties.’

Re­becca Ball, Sun­der­land 2021 di­rec­tor, said: “Nat­u­rally we are dis­ap­pointed, but also very proud.

“We de­vel­oped an ex­cit­ing and com­pelling bid, shaped by hours of feed­back from peo­ple from the city and be­yond and we want to re­as­sure peo­ple that all that hard work and valu­able con­tri­bu­tions will be used to shape our cul­tural fu­ture.

“Our bid re­ally got to grips with what Sun­der­land is about now, and what peo­ple want it to be in the fu­ture. It was packed with ideas, thor­oughly de­served to be on the short­list and there is a huge amount of sup­port and mo­men­tum to make many of them hap­pen de­spite not win­ning the ti­tle.”

She added: “We’d like to thank all of the peo­ple and busi­nesses that have lent sup­port through­out the process. It’s been re­ally over­whelm­ing to see so many peo­ple get be­hind the city and we thank them whole­heart­edly. We still believe that this is the start of some­thing spe­cial for Sun­der­land.

“Our warm­est con­grat­u­la­tions go to Coventry – and com­mis­er­a­tions to Stoke, Pais­ley and Swansea. It’s a brave thing to throw your hat in the ring and I am proud that Sun­der­land was among those that did.”

Keith Mer­rin, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of Sun­der­land Cul­ture, and part of the bid­ding team, said: “This is cer­tainly not the end. Over the com­ing months, we will be mak­ing an­nounce­ments about some of the great things that will come out of our bid and we are de­ter­mined that we will carry on with the fan­tas­tic work we have started and sup­port the cul­tural re­nais­sance we are see­ing in this won­der­ful city.

“There will be a last­ing legacy from the bid­ding process. Sun­der­land Cul­ture, formed by the part­ners re­spon­si­ble for mount­ing the city’s 2021 bid, to man­age Sun­der­land’s cul­tural venues and pro­gramme, has al­ready suc­cess­fully raised more than £3.5m that will be pumped into de­vel­op­ing Sun­der­land’s cul­tural scene.”

There was plenty of sup­port for the bid team on so­cial me­dia fol­low­ing the news. Pro­fes­sor of Language and Cul­ture at Univer­sity of Sun­der­land An­gela Smith tweeted: “#Sun­der­land2021 not of­fi­cially the win­ner, but has shown it is a gen­uine city of cul­ture. So proud of ev­ery­one in­volved.”

While James Rams­botham, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of North East Eng­land Cham­ber of Com­merce, said: “You made ev­ery­one across the North East feel so proud and you did so much to show off Sun­der­land as the re­ally fab­u­lous place we know it to be. You could not have done any more and we praise you.”

Sun­der­land was short­listed for the 2021 edi­tion of the com­pe­ti­tion in July and the judges vis­ited early in Novem­ber. Among the high­lights showed off by the re­gion were the Na­tional Glass Cen­tre, the coast, Keel Square and the emerg­ing cul­tural quar­ter – where cul­tural lead­ers were gath­ered at the newly-ren­o­vated Fire Sta­tion – Mow­bray Park and Sun­der­land Mu­seum and Win­ter Gar­dens.

The judges also vis­ited city sub­urbs and boarded a bus for a trip through nearby pit vil­lages.

The bid has been backed by lo­cal and re­gional busi­nesses, coun­cils, MPs, col­leges, uni­ver­si­ties, celebri­ties and very many res­i­dents of the city. The bid team had es­ti­mated that de­liv­ery of the 2021 pro­gramme be­tween next year and 2021 would cost about £17.5 m.

The over­all bud­get for the whole project would be around £107m. This would in­clude cap­i­tal in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ments worth £30m and a ca­pac­ity and devel­op­ment of venue pro­gramme worth £14m.

Derry/Lon­don­derry was the first City of Cul­ture in 2013 and Hull fol­lowed this year with a pro­gramme that has boosted the city’s pro­file and brought economic ben­e­fits.

Our bid re­ally got to grips with what Sun­der­land is about now, and what peo­ple want it to be in the fu­ture Re­becca Ball

Peo­ple in Sun­der­land pledge their sup­port for the City of Cul­ture 2021 bid

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