Final stretch for city’s culture bid

Rebecca Ball, director at Sunderland 2021.
Rebecca Ball, director at Sunderland 2021.
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Sunderland’s Bid to become UK City of Culture 2021 is on the final stretch, with the deadline for the submission now only days away.

Sunderland 2021, the team behind the city’s attempt to secure the coveted cultural crown, have only two weeks to compile their written Bid, before it is submitted on April 28.

Sunderland Software Centre.

Sunderland Software Centre.

The document, which has been created following months of public consultation and research, has to be sent with no fanfare or ceremony, by a simple email, which will trigger the start of the race to become City of Culture.

Sunderland is up against bids from Coventry, Hereford, Paisley, Perth, Portsmouth, St Davids, Stoke, Swansea, Warrington and Wells, with judges selecting a shortlist by summer.

Rebecca Ball, director at Sunderland 2021, said: “The countdown has well and truly started, and we are working hard to create the strongest bid we possibly can; a bid that has been shaped by the people of Sunderland following months of engagement and consultation.

“We’re really excited by the way the bid is shaping up, and we believe we have a strong chance to win this. We do need the whole city behind us as we move into the final stages of the round one bidding, and the whole region for that matter. And I think, with a groundswell of support, we can do it.”

There are still lots of ways to get behind the Bid:

1. Keep spreading the word – Talk about the bid and what it means for the city to your friends, family and colleagues. Download the Sunderland 2021 Fact Sheet that should provide you will all of the information you need.

2. Sport your twibbon– We currently have 906 Twibbons online. We are aiming to get to well over 1,000 by the bid submission. Help us reach that target! It just takes a few minutes to set and you can download the link

3. Social media –We need your help to get our social media numbers up as high as possible. If you haven’t yet – please give us a follow on Facebook and Twitter at @Sunderland2021... trust us, you’ll love it!

4. Get sharing - Share your creative endeavours or good news about Sunderland using the hashtag #Sunderland2021.

The City of Culture competition comes to a close at the end of this year, when judges will select their winner, a place that will play host to a year-long cultural celebration.

City of Culture status can deliver a multi-million-pound boost for the successful city. This year, Hull celebrates being the UK’s City of Culture, and it is estimated that the title will deliver £60 million to Hull’s economy this year alone.

The city has already seen a £1billion boost in investment since winning the title in 2013.


Some of Sunderland’s brightest business brains are being helped to switch off – just for a moment – with the launch of mindfulness sessions at one of the city’s software hubs.

Tenants at Sunderland Software Centre are being given the chance to take part in mindfulness sessions, which help to promote improved mental wellbeing and increased emotional control.

The sessions are being delivered by trained mindfulness practitioner Joe Clancy, and are one of a number of activities and sessions that come as a benefit of being based in the council-operated business centre.

The six-week programme, running on Tuesdays and Thursdays, was organised to help relieve the stress on busy executives, following a successful taster programme which ran over four weeks last year.

Louise Bradford, who’s company Creo Communications is based in the centre, said that she and her team found the taster sessions a great way of helping to combat the stresses and strains of work.

She said: “My colleagues and I took part in the taster sessions, and I have to be honest and say that while we all went into it with an open mind, we weren’t convinced that we would see any value in it.

“The sessions were great. It’s too easy when things are busy to just keep your head down and work through lunch or to pack in as many hours as possible, but these sessions really brought home the value of giving your mind the chance to switch off from work. Taking a break from the daily grind – even for 30 minutes – meant I was able to refocus and get more done, even taking into account the down time to attend the session.”

Tenants at the centre have had the choice of taking part in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) – two-hour long activities - as well as Frantic World classes, which are shorter sessions, that promote a healthy work-life balance.

Joe, who is a development coach at Sunderland City Council, said: “Mindfulness helps people to move their mind away from the stresses and strains of day-to-day life, and allows them to pay more attention to the present moment and their own thoughts and feelings. The benefits that brings, personally, professionally and emotionally are significant, so we’re delighted to be able to bring this programme to the busy business people at Sunderland Software Centre.”

To find out more about Sunderland Software Centre as a base for business, visit, email or call +44 (0) 191 561 1194.