Businesses across Staffordshire are coming together to back Stoke-on-Trent’s bid to become UK City of Culture for 2021.
Stoke-on-Trent officially handed in its submission of interest to become UK City of Culture 2021 this week and businesses from across the county have jumped on board to back the campaign.
The latest organisation to back the bid, which is being spearheaded by Staffordshire University, is Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent’s Local Enterprise Partnership.
The LEP, which is a partnership between the private and public sector that aims to promote economic growth and jobs across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire and which distributes government funding into the area, formally backed the bid at a meeting held earlier this month.
LEP Board members were in unanimous agreement to support the bid which will now see the group made up from across a number of sectors use all means at their disposal to support Stoke-on-Trent through the culture competition.
Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership chairman David Frost CBE said: “We are delighted to back Stoke-on-Trent’s bid to become UK City of Culture in 2021.
“Stoke-on-Trent is a creative and innovative city that is building on its proud history as a cradle of the industrial revolution and world centre for ceramics and applying those talents in advanced manufacturing and new markets. Its art and design heritage, vibrant culture and high ambitions for the future are well worth celebrating.
“Winning the UK City of Culture title would bring a major boost to the Stoke-on-Trent and wider Staffordshire economy and attract national and international interest. This is a wonderful opportunity to get the message across that this is a great area to live, work and invest.”
Abi Brown, deputy leader for Stoke-on-Trent City Council and chair for the bid, said: “Winning the competition would be a catalyst for positive change in the entire region. As well as showcasing elements of the city and the wider region’s unique identity and image, it will help to attract investment and businesses into the area.
“This in turn will create much needed jobs for local people by developing not only the creative sector but the wider economy. Having the official backing of the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Local Enterprise Partnership to help us win the bid is another step towards making our ambitions a reality.”
LEP board member Jonathan Dale, who leads on business growth and innovation said: “The UK City of Culture bid is a great opportunity to celebrate Stoke-on-Trent’s strengths in creativity and innovation and the city’s positive, can-do attitude. And winning the title will bring lasting benefits in raising our area’s profile, attracting more visitors, and attracting outside investors.”
Staffordshire University is helping drive Stoke’s City of Culture bid. Prof Ieuan Ellis, pro vice-chancellor for partnerships and region, said: “Staffordshire University is fully backing Stoke-on-Trent’s bid to become UK City of Culture in 2021 which offers unprecedented opportunities for our city and its communities.
“As the ‘Connected University’ with a strong regional focus, our academic community of students, staff and alumni are very excited by this fabulous opportunity in applying their talents to shape the future cultural vision for our city. A successful bid is a huge injection of confidence in the region and we aim to learn from other successful bids, to build on the area’s great strengths and be at the forefront of a new cultural and digital revolution.”
Stoke’s City of Culture bid will see the city go up against Cardiff, Coventry, Sunderland, Paisley, Hereford and Perth.
For more information and to find out how you can get involved, visit the official Stoke 2021 website.