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Stirling bids to become UK City of Culture

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Stirling has officially launched its bid to become the UK City of Culture 2025.

As reported by Brig in November, Stirling was the only Scottish city to be nominated on the longlist, with seven other cities also competing for the prize.

Now Stirling have backed efforts to make it happen.

Stirling is joined by, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Bradford, Cornwall, County Durham, Derby, Southampton, and Wrexham County Borough.

All cities that made the longlist received £40,000 to support the development of bidding proposals.

To mark the occasion the National Wallace Monument was illuminated in a display.

The projection included lines from a collective poem submitted by Stirling residents.

If successful, Stirling would become the first Scottish winner since the prize was established in 2009.

Derry-Londonderry was the first UK City of Culture in 2013 followed by Hull, in 2017. Coventry was the most recent winner of the prize, claiming the title in 2021.

Stirling Council Depute Leader and a member of the City of Culture Bid Steering Group, Chris Kane, said: “The fantastic support Stirling’s bid has already received from businesses, individuals and communities gives us renewed impetus on this exciting journey.

Securing UK City of Culture status is proven to attract substantial investment so a successful bid from Stirling would provide a major economic boost, not just for the local area but the whole of Scotland as we recover from the pandemic.”

Councillor Kane added: “This will also help us achieve our ambition of putting culture at the heart of Stirling’s regeneration and growth, harnessing the creative spirit and dynamism that flows through our communities.

A huge thanks to everyone who has signed up so far on Stirling2025.com. Please continue to spread the word far and wide about this fantastic opportunity for Stirling and Scotland.”

200 businesses across Scotland have already backed the bid including the University of Stirling.

The University is joined by several local businesses, who all expect to benefit if the bid is successful. Businesses can pledge their support at stirling2025.com or through the Your Stirling website.

Kevin Moore, Director of the Stirling Arcade, said: “The prospect of Stirling being awarded UK City of Culture 2025 is hugely exciting and offers major opportunities for businesses. We are proud to back Stirling’s bid.

Stirling is a thriving city, where rich history and heritage meets world-class research, innovation and creativity – but there is so much more we can do.

Securing UK City of Culture will promote Stirling and all it has to offer to an even wider audience, delivering significant benefits to the businesses and people of this area and across Scotland as we recover from the pandemic.

We need the support of more businesses, organisations and individuals to help us make this a success for Stirling and Scotland, so please sign up.”

If successful, the award could have a positive effect in the area. 2017 UK City of Culture Hull benefitted significantly from the prize.

A report by the University of Hull found that visitor numbers increased by 10 per cent compared to 2016 and 22 per cent from 2015.  

Additionally, jobs in the visitor economy grew by over 27 per cent between 2012 and 2017.

Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, Dr Liz Cameron, echoed the excitement surrounding the bid.

She said: “We are delighted to support Stirling’s bid for UK City of Culture status. Securing this status would be a major boost for local businesses and the economy as well as more widely across Scotland.”

2022 is also a special year for the city as it marks 20 years since Stirling was awarded city status by Queen Elizabeth II as part of her Golden Jubilee.

The winning city will be announced in May 2022.

Feature Image Credit: Forth Valley College

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