Katie Bulmer-Cooke: Keeping ‘Negative Nigels’ at bay during Sunderland UK City of Culture 2021 bid

Sunderland has submitted its final bid to be crowned UK City of Culture 2021.
Sunderland has submitted its final bid to be crowned UK City of Culture 2021.

After a lot of preparation, excitement, and I’m sure a lot of hard work, it was great to hear that on Friday the final submission for Sunderland’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2021 was made.

This is a huge project and I’m keeping everything crossed that we win.

I feel like I say this a lot, but it is true, we really do have so much to be proud of.

Speaking of things to be proud of, I think at some time or another we have all (including me) taken our beach for granted.

We forget how lucky we are to live by the sea and how wonderful it is the have a stroll along the seafront or a walk along the beach, and not only that, the area is seeing such huge redevelopment.

There are new eateries popping up, new housing, and it really feels like the area has had a facelift … and it’s important that we look after it.

So with that in mind, on Saturday I got involved with the Sun FM and Siglion Big Community Spruce Up, which is an initiative to get people from the city looking after the city … keeping it tidy, clean and easy on the eye.

Of course there are many other ways you can spend your Saturday, and litter picking on the beach may not be at the top of everyone’s list, but sometimes you have to roll up your sleeves and do your bit, and it was great to see so many people doing exactly that, so a huge high five to everyone who got involved.

I feel like for some years there was a feeling that people weren’t proud of Sunderland and we often felt that we lived in Newcastle’s shadow, but now I truly feel like that vibe is changing.

Increasingly I hear people talk about the great experiences they have had in our city, from eating out to simply getting out for a walk.

More people from the city are paying compliments to the city, especially around the redevelopment of certain areas of Sunderland.

Yes we still have work to do, but there is definitely a sense of pride returning.

I really hope we become City of Culture 2021, for many reasons, such as increasing investment and development in Sunderland, but most of all I hope we win because it will no doubt take that growing feeling of pride to the next level.

There will always be people who don’t get on board, who like to moan and generally be a ‘Negative Nigel’, but let’s ensure that such people become a minority and that it won’t be long before we are all singing from the same song sheet and praising our city and the people who are working hard to make Sunderland the best it can be.