People Power could secure Culture status
If all the cities vying to become the City of Culture rely
purely on the usual formula of a dedicated committee waffling away and getting
cosy with the judges, how will they stand out from the rest?
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The difference between winning or losing could be a combined
positive attitude and publicity with outside the box thinking. This is where
the people of Plymouth could make a big difference if indeed they feel that we
could be the best of the bunch.
Firstly, set up a volunteer group with a title similar to "Friends
of the Hoe".
The Herald could call for volunteers from within the
community who poccess a variety of skills and might be recently retired but
still fit and healthy, the unemployed and local businesses.
Focusing purely on the Hoe which is the best focal point of
the city, identify all the areas that are in need of repair and then set about putting
them right. Take energy from those who endured the Blitz and then struggled
to rebuild the city.
Retired or unemployed skilled labourers and engineers. Fit
people seeking work or who might benefit from some physical exercise and fresh
Plant businesses with temporarily redundant cranes and machinery
due to the economic downturn. Student apprentices requiring hands on
Council to supply health and safety officer, appropriate
engineer as team leader and insurance. Issue free parking passes to all
Apart from personal satisfaction and pride in their city,
there could be many advantages for those who volunteer. Job seekers would have
a chance to work alongside local participating businesses which could result in
work or at the very least, elevate their chances of employment by adding
participation in the project to their CV's. Local businesses involved could
gain media coverage by placing advertising boards on site. The list of benefits
are endless despite working for free without the satisfaction of both
regenerating the foreshore and the ultimate prize of becoming the City of
An initiative of this scale would undoubtedly attract free
national media attention and ooze positivity which would both enhance the
chances of success AND promote Plymouth as the place to visit.
Could it work?
That depends on how badly the council and the people of
Plymouth want their city to elevate itself above the rest. The Hoe has all the
ingredients in place to knock spots off the competition and just needs a
concerted amount effort to make sure it does.