Plymouth culture bid is music to the ears of charity director
MUSIC can provide the confidence boost Plymouth needs to run for City of Culture 2017, according to the director of an award-winning charity.
Plymouth Music Zone (PMZ), based in Devonport, helps people of all ages to develop emotional and physical wellbeing through musical workshops.
The charity works on improving confidence, self-esteem and pride - and development director Debbie Geraghty says the whole city could do with a much-needed pick-me-up.
She said: "I am from Glasgow, and I remember back in 1990 when Glasgow was the first UK city to be European City of Culture. When we got it I remember everyone was laughing saying 'There's no way we deserve it.' But 20 years on when they did the report they found it had an extraordinary impact, because they took a risk in driving creative interest and culture as a way of restoring the city. Now Glasgow is one of the creative powerhouses of the nation.
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"I can see parallels with Plymouth. Everybody wants Plymouth to be City of Culture but we are slightly apologetic about it, not knowing if we should go for it.
"There is a real lack of confidence and self-belief. I think we should make Glasgow our inspiration and believe in ourselves."
The initial bid for the 2017 prize, which must be submitted to the Government by the end of April, will take in all aspects of culture in the city - but Debbie says music should form a key part of the process.
"We work with people who are in challenging circumstances who might have low confidence," she said.
"We use music to help them feel good about themselves and re-discover their self belief.
"I think music is important for so many people. It allows people to express who they are and it's a way of bringing people together.
"Music can transcend language barriers, people who might be non-verbal and all sorts of other issues."
Pippa Waller, one of the organisers of the Freedom Fields Festival, said: "Plymouth is actually already really good at this. City of Culture status will allow us to celebrate these activities and more with not just the UK but the world and bring more tourism into a city that is stuffed with history and surrounded by a unique natural landscape."
To read all the latest on the Herald's campaign to back the bid, visit www.thisisplymouth.co.uk/cityofculture