City of Sunderland

The City of Sunderland from St Peter's Campus at the University of Sunderland

'We can win this together'

Business leaders across the North East are being urged to back Sunderland’s City of Culture 2021 Bid which could see tens of millions of pounds injected into the city.

Sunderland is going up against the likes of Stoke-on-Trent, Coventry and Paisley in a bid to be named the UK City of Culture 2021.

The UK City of Culture programme was introduced by the UK Government to build on the success of Liverpool being named the European Capital of Culture back in 2008.

The contest runs every four years and creates a national cultural event spread over a year that draws the eyes of the nation on to one particular city or area. 

Hull won the City of Culture contest for 2017 and it is estimated that a total of £32m will be spent across the City throughout the year.

Now, as Sunderland gears up for the Sunderland City of Culture 2021 campaign, business leaders from across the region are urging fellow businesses to get involved.

Graeme Thompson, University of Sunderland pro vice-chancellor and chair of the Sunderland 2021 steering group, said: "Sunderland is the only city in the North East bidding for the 2021 title and if we were to be successful it would have significant benefit across the region.

“As we have seen from what's happened in Hull further down the Yorkshire coast, winning UK City of Culture unlocks millions of pounds worth of investment and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors.

"I am delighted our campaign has already attracted significant support from across the region. The North East Cultural Partnership – which represents local authorities and cultural venues from Teesside to the Borders – has backed the bid along with the Newcastle Gateshead Initiative.

"The university is delighted to be partnering the City Council and the Sunderland Music Arts and Culture Trust in making the bid on behalf of the city. We're out in force next week at the House of Commons to raise the profile of our bid in London.”

Rebecca Ball, director of Sunderland 2021, said: “We need people and businesses to lend their collective voice to the campaign to make Sunderland the next City of Culture.

“We need as much visible support as possible, so the more people and businesses across the region who download and use the 2021 twibbon on their social media; the more places that display our posters and the more businesses who back us financially or through in-kind support, the better at this crucial stage.”