Grand Central is all aboard Sunderland’s bid to be City of Culture 2021.
The train operator, which runs daily services from Sunderland to King’s Cross in London, is backing the bid with £21,000 worth of in-kind support.
This will involve co-hosting a day of promotional activity at King’s Cross today.
“We’re thrilled to get the support of such a major player in the transport sector and the city’s main link to the capital. Grand Central has been incredibly supportive, generous and easy to work with,” explained bid director Rebecca Ball.
“We need to spread the word about our bid to those unfortunate enough not to live in Sunderland, and Grand Central’s welcome involvement will certainly help us do that. It won’t quite be a Mackem invasion of King’s Cross on April 4, but Sunderland’s profile within the station that day will be very high.”
Live performances from local artists will take place at King’s Cross at 10.20am, with regular demonstrations on the concourse area throughout the day. The 2021 team will also be manning a stall, handing out brochures and flyers about Sunderland’s bid to become city of culture for 2021.
Grand Central will continue to support and promote the bid after April 4 through the use of on-train branding and promotional material.
Richard McClean, managing director at Grand Central, said: “We are delighted to back Sunderland’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2021. As a company we are closely bound to the communities we serve and always look for opportunities to support them. Sunderland is already a city with a tremendous sense of history and vibrant culture and is shaped by its rich industrial heritage which deserves celebrating.
“Winning the bid would be a catalyst for positive change in the region and would provide an exciting platform for Sunderland. We are thrilled to get on board and back Sunderland in its bid and we are driven to do our bit to promote the achievements of the city in London and along our routes.”
It is estimated that winning this year’s title will benefit Hull’s economy by about £60m, with more than £1bn having already been invested since it was announced the East Yorkshire city had won the competition in 2013. Projections indicate some 1,200 jobs could be created in tourism and culture, that it will bring about a 20% growth in creative industries and that around seven million visitors could contribute to the millions expected to be pumped into the local economy.