Craigavon and Banbridge lend a hand in Armagh city of culture bid

A Northern Ireland council is putting together a submission to be considered for the UK City of Culture 2025.

Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 1:34 pm
Crowds gather at dusk to view the Museum of the Moon the scale representation of the moon on The Mall, Armagh in July 2019.  Credit:
Crowds gather at dusk to view the Museum of the Moon the scale representation of the moon on The Mall, Armagh in July 2019. Credit:

ABC Council have launched a joint bid for the award for Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon and next month will put forward a submission of interest next month.

Organised by the UK Government Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport every four years, this process invites places from across the UK to bid for the title by setting out their vision for culture-led regeneration.

Following a full council meeting on Monday night, members unanimously agreed the bid will focus on the historical city of Armagh, and also showcase the all-embracing heritage, culture and creativity right across the borough.

Armagh is home to the Planetarium, Market Place Theatre, and the tree-lined Mall in the heart of the city which boasts two cathedrals.

Banbridge chips in with the FE McWilliam Gallery and Bronte Homeland while Craigavon boosts the cultural offering in the council area with Oxford Island Nature Reserve and its lakeside regeneration.

Council will now take the lead to submit the Expression of Interest in July 2021 with an update report to be brought back to the Economic Development and Regeneration Committee in September.

Welcoming council’s decision, Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough, Alderman Glenn Barr said: “I’m delighted to announce that we will put forward an expression of interest for the UK City of Culture 2025, and I want to thank my fellow members for giving this their full support.

“This is a unique opportunity that would see a major boost in tourism and catalyst for future growth, providing a powerful stimulant for recovery, attracting investment and driving forward positive economic potential.

“We are proud of our borough – our city, towns and villages, and our people who take great pride in the place we live. We want to celebrate and showcase our unique heritage and culture and this would give us the perfect platform.”

The first UK City of Culture was awarded to Londonderry in 2013, Hull in 2017 and Coventry in 2021

Council is seeking funding support from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport of up to £40,000 to help develop the application along with key stakeholders.

The selection process involves a panel of 11 members, including representatives for Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England, visiting each of the shortlisted places to be announced later this year, before each applicant makes a final pitch to become the next UK City of Culture.

The winning area will be announced in May 2022.

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