focus on southampton

as a result of holding such status are clear and compelling. Hull held the award in 2017. It reported over £3.4 billion public and private investment in the four years to its year as a city of culture and the legacy continues. Over £300 million was added to tourism, and there was an increase of 1.3 million in visitors. The impact on Hull’s local economy was between £11m - £17m added gross value. These are significant outcomes.

Claire Whitaker OBE, bid director for Southampton City of Culture has a strong and compelling message to business in the city’s region: “Southampton’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2025 provides the perfect context and platform for the whole of the city, its residents, its communities, its visitors and of course its businesses, to come together to create a compelling case to win. The programme we will shape together will transform the profile and the prosperity of Southampton and use the power of culture, as a unifier and a lever, to ensure we reach our full potential. I very much hope you will join us on our journey.”

Mary D’Arcy, executive director communities, culture and homes for Southampton City Council, adds: “As Southampton, the region and the UK begins to unpick and understand the longer-term impacts of Covid-19, we are learning that some of our communities have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, such as our black, asian and minority ethnic communities,

and many in our business communities. Similarly, Covid-19 has profoundly impacted on our formal and informal cultural activity and the ways in which we come together to create cultural opportunities in our community, business and public spaces. But all is not lost, the drive to create and consume culture is strong, and as a result we have innovated, gone online, created digitally in single spaces and then shared those outputs broadly, we have explored lost archives and discovered new histories – so perhaps we are now more than we were before.”

“The need to focus on recovering to a ‘new normal’ and what the future holds, is therefore critical to driving and building upon this innovation to support the economic and cultural vibrancy of the city of Southampton. As such our bid to be the UK City of Culture 2025 becomes ever more

relevant to supporting our collective ambition to live in and build a thriving city, where culture provides the glue that holds us together, and drives the creativity, curiosity and experimentation to support long term aspiration and opportunity for all.”

The bid for the UK City of Culture, the economic and social benefits to be gained in the short and longer term, are akin to a shining light around which businesses of all sizes across all sectors can and should come together to create a thriving city, a destination city, a city of opportunity for generations to come. It will be a jewel in the crown which will have positive outcomes for Southampton, Hampshire and the wider region.

Southampton as a destination city? There is both the desire and the opportunity to make it happen.



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