The #MakeLeeds2023 campaign, which includes an exciting programme of events designed to generate further momentum, is asking residents, businesses and communities to make an online pledge to actively spread the word…writes Sharon Watson
With less than 100 days to go until the October 27 deadline for the city to make its initial submission, the race is on for the city to prepare a show stopping bid for the international culture prize that will celebrate cultures across the whole city.
Importantly our bid belongs to the people of Leeds, as being named European Capital of Culture in 2023 will benefit us all. And that is why the Leeds 2023 bid team is calling on the people of the city to support our European Capital of Culture bid by coming together and pledging their support.
The #MakeLeeds2023 campaign, which includes an exciting programme of events designed to generate further momentum, is asking residents, businesses and communities to make an online pledge to actively spread the word.
People can pledge their support by visiting Leeds’ bid website – www.leeds2023.co.uk – and by using the hashtag #MakeLeeds2023 on social media.
As we launch this call to action, it’s worth reminding readers of Asian Lite why Leeds is bidding to become European Capital of Culture for 2023. Our bid presents a huge opportunity for Leeds to highlight and shout about its diverse population and reposition Leeds’ image in the UK and Europe.
Put simply, our bid will benefit the whole city. Evidence shows that the competition can have a transformational effect for the people of the host city, ranging from community cohesion to increased opportunities for employment and the regeneration of communities.
The bid provides an opportunity for Leeds to celebrate its relationship with Europe and our distinctive diversity. Our lives have been enriched by the thousands of Europeans who have made this city their home, bringing their cultural identity from food to music, dance, art and design here.
Finally, one cannot underestimate the legacy benefits that a successful bid would bring. Both Glasgow in 1990 and Liverpool in 2008 saw enormous economic and social boosts from their hosting of the title which still endure today. Indeed, Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture 2008 is estimated to have resulted in an economic impact of £750m and opinion surveys show an 85% increase in satisfaction from the residents when asked if they like living in the city.
In conclusion, in Leeds we believe in a future where our culture in all its forms is valued and experienced by the broadest set of people, and for it to be central to the city’s identity and to its future – both economically and socially.
With Leeds’ current population representing 140 ethnic groups and 170 languages, we firmly believe that a successful bid will create a lasting legacy, not only by implementing positive change by bringing these communities together and celebrating our diversity but also by attracting national and international funding and events to the city, providing a step change in tourism and a catalyst for growth and development.
We are ready to launch our bid for the title on a European stage, showcasing and celebrating the outstanding cultural contribution that Leeds has made to the world. And with your help we can make this happen.
For further information and pledge your support, visit www.leeds2023.co.uk/shout.
(Sharon Watson is the Independent Chair of European Capital of Culture Leeds 2023 Independent Steering Group)