Plymouth council and university pump £40k into city of culture bid fund
THE first cash has been pumped into Plymouth's bid to be named the UK's next City of Culture.
The Herald revealed earlier this year how city leaders were planning an ambitious swoop for the 2017 accolade.
Plymouth's Culture Board, which is leading the bid, will submit a formal expression of interest to the Government next month.
Plymouth City Council and Plymouth University have each pledged £20,000 to help put forward the case for Plymouth.
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And council leader Tudor Evans yesterday called on the private sector to help the Culture Board match the initial £40,000.
Addressing a full council meeting, Cllr Evans said: "We are incredibly conscious of the financial constraints we face as a city, which is why we will be look closely at any investment decisions with great care as we progress through this process.
"We need to see the nature of the competition.
"However, we are really excited about the opportunities the City of Culture could open up and the difference it could make to people here.
"This means jobs and a lasting profile for the city."
As The Herald reported last month, being named City of Culture could bring a host of prestigious – and money-spinning – events to the city.
Among them could be the Brit Awards, the Turner Prize and the BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony.
Plymouth's rivals for the title have not yet been announced, but are expected to include Leicester, Derby and Aberdeen.
"There's a lot to play for here," Cllr Evans said. "The difference it could make to people here would be enormous.
"It means jobs and a national profile for the city.
"This would propel the city on to the national and international stage.
"It would attract a world-class audience and, more importantly, their spending power."
The Culture Board is due to submit Plymouth's expression of interest to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport early in the New Year.
The deadline for the initial bid is in April, with a shortlist to emerge by July and the winning city announced next autumn. Plymouth Culture Board chairman Adrian Vinken OBE said: "Plymouth already has an embarrassment of cultural riches.
"The Culture Board and our many partners and stakeholders can clearly see the potential of winning the UK City of Culture to help transform the fortunes of this city."
Chamber of Commerce chief executive David Parlby said: "This is a superb opportunity. We must do everything we can to make the best possible bid."
Plymouth University vice-chancellor Professor Wendy Purcell added: "This is not just about venues and headline events but making sure the entire community is involved and creates a lasting legacy."