PLANS to move ahead with a bid for Worcester to be named City of Culture 2021 have been applauded throughout the city.
In a widely-welcomed move, Worcester City Council’s cabinet gave its backing to plans to work alongside cultural, artistic and businesses to develop the bid at a meeting on Tuesday, April 15.
Speaking on behalf of a range of organisations in the city including the Worcester Festival, The Battle of Worcester Society and the Elgar School of Music, Ben Humphrey said he was delighted by the development.
“The city and county deserves recognition for its place and I am thrilled that the idea of Worcester as the City of Culture is being taken seriously,” he said.
“It is a wonderful step forward in the life of our city and I can think of no better phrase to use than that of one of our mottos, ‘Floreat semper fidelis civitas’ – ‘Let the Faithful City ever flourish’”.
Rachael Savage, artistic director of the Vamos Theatre, which is based at the Worcester Arts Workshop in Sansome Street, has also thrown her support behind the bid.
“We have seen in previous years what a difference the City of Culture title has made to the artistic life of cities such as Liverpool and Londonderry, enhancing people’s quality of life and sense of community,” she said.
“It would be an opportunity for our city to celebrate and improve the visibility of all the fantastic work that goes on here, whilst promoting access to the arts for all.”
Dean of Worcester The Very Reverend Peter Atkinson has also added his support to the plans.
“It will mean that Worcester will be viewed alongside some of the UK’s finest cities, attracting visitors that will boost the local economy,” he said.
Chief executive of Worcester Live – which runs the Swan Theatre and the Huntington Hall – Chris Jaeger described the cabinet’s decision as “wonderful”.
“Worcester is a fast-growing city and there are exciting developments wherever you look,” he said. “This is a chance for the city to come together and to show itself off to the world.”
Executive chairman of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership Peter Pawsey said the bid would be “a catalyst for things to really happen in Worcester”.
“It would massively raise the city and the county’s profile nationally and even internationally, boost the economy, create more events, attract more visitors and just lift the whole area,” he said.
Manager of county-wide dance club Dancefest Rose Beeston has also welcomed the plans, saying it could have benefits for both residents and people further afield.
The bid is expected to be submitted in 2017.