I was really hoping to start this week’s column with the words, ‘we did it!’, and use the ensuing 500 words to gush about how we won UK City of Culture 2021. Sadly, it wasn’t to be, and instead we pat Coventry on the back and wish them well as winners of the title.
I sat there watching The One Show last Thursday like a kid at Christmas waiting for Santa to come, hoping that the name inside the envelope would be Sunderland, and that it would be us that would claim the funding that could benefit so many people and projects in our city.
I firmly believe that the title of UK City of Culture 2021 would have heightened the sense of pride in the city, but as we wave goodbye to the title and all that comes with it, all is certainly not lost!
If you read my column regularly, then you’ll know that I’m frequently up on my soap box, praising the city and all of the great people and things that go on here … and this won’t change, however, I do believe that we need something new and positive to focus on and celebrate.
Losing out on the City of Culture title, has certainly made me wonder what we will now focus on when it comes to injecting more pride and positivity into Sunderland, and in my opinion the first step is to celebrate the things that are happening within the city, such as successful small businesses, people who go the extra mile to help the community and exciting events.
We may not have won the big title of City of Culture but we still have events such as the Tall Ships to look forward to, which will no doubt bring extra trade and new faces to the city.
Just two weeks ago Pixie Lott performed in Keel Square and turned on our Christmas lights, and we have a vast amount of redevelopment going on in the city centre, from the new fire station to the Vaux site.
We also have lots to get excited about in the business community. In fact, just last week I was at The National Fitness Awards and was over the moon to see Club Zest, on Sea Road, pick up Ladies Only Gym of the Year 2017. I’d like to wish Holly, Jennie and the team at Zest a massive congratulations and say a big well done for putting Sunderland on the map at a national event.
And the positivity doesn’t end there as I’m certain that exciting things will still come out of being shortlisted for City of Culture. So much hard work, energy and dedication went into the bid … this won’t be the end.
Great things happen here in Sunderland. Coventry may have scooped this title, but there are plenty more opportunities for our wonderful city to shine!