City of Culture bid can help Sunderland progress

Being named UK City of Culture 2021 would help Sunderland progress as a city, one of its community champions believes.

Gavin Elliott, 47, was born in Seaham, but now lives in Fulwell, and has always held an affinity for Sunderland.

Gavin Elliott is a community champion for Sunderland's bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

Gavin Elliott is a community champion for Sunderland's bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

He believes that winning the bid is the next stage in the city’s development.

“I am quite optimistic in that, I think back to 1992 when we got city status, and within 10 years we had our first major development.

“This is the next phase of what being a city is about.

"Adding that wider cultural experience, because we have got a lot going on, but it’s in little pockets.

"It’s never yet been brought together into something long-term sustainable,” he says.

With three children, Gavin feels the bid is important not just for his future – but for theirs.

He wants future generations to thrive within the city, rather than feeling they must leave for better opportunities.

For Gavin, winning the bid would bring together the physical redevelopment occurring throughout the city into a coordinated process of cultural progression.

Sunderland is up against Coventry, Paisley, Swansea and Stoke as it bids to be named UK City of Culture.

A successful bid would put the city firmly into the cultural spotlight, attracting millions of pounds into the local economy through investment in the arts and an increase in visitors and jobs.

It would kick-start a four-year period of growth, innovation and creativity and culminate in a year of exciting cultural and artistic events.

Final second-round bids must be submitted by September 29, and the successful city will be announced in Hull, the current UK City of Culture, in December.