Southampton sets course for success in its bid to become UK City of Culture 2025 – first major sponsor announced

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17 September 2020

Today Southampton’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2025 took a leap forward with the announcement of toob becoming their first commercial partner. Southampton is the first city to benefit from toob’s full-fibre network, delivering speeds faster than the UK average.

The news was announced at a virtual event, which outlined opportunities about how businesses can support the delivery of the bid and beyond. Although the event was virtual due to COVID-19 restrictions, key note speakers presented from Mayflower Theatre – one of the many jewels in Southampton’s cultural crown.

At the event businesses learnt about Southampton’s bid process to become UK City of Culture 2025 along with the opportunity to invest in the initiative over six years including a year of legacy. Businesses who become partners will be given huge profile in the city and the wider region and will have the opportunity to shape their involvement in line with their business objectives.

UK City of Culture 2025

There is a lot to gain from becoming a UK City of Culture.  When Hull was UK City of Culture in 2017 it added £300 million to their tourism market and up to £17 million gross value added to their local economy. Southampton’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2025, if successful, will look to deliver similarly substantial economic, social and cultural impacts.

Southampton’s UK of City of Culture 2025 bid team would like to hear from businesses of all sizes who are interested in benefiting from the range of partnership opportunities available. Businesses are asked to contact Gemma Nichols, Commercial Director and to visit the website for more information.

The announcement of toob as the first commercial partner for Southampton’s UK City of Culture 2025 bid leads on from previous city commitments such as their partnership with GO! Southampton. The partnership promotes toob as Southampton’s official broadband partner, in line with the business choosing the city as the first to benefit from its full-fibre network.

Claire Whitaker OBE, Southampton’s UK City of Culture Bid Director said; “Southampton is a diverse port city with an extremely rich cultural identity. It has been shaped over the centuries by international trade and the movement of people, making it overflow with stories and potential.  I am looking forward to soon entering our period of consultation and engagement which will span across Southampton, to ensure that the bid programme is shaped by our people and our communities. Bidding to become UK City of Culture 2025 provides us with an excellent opportunity to deliver huge social, cultural and economic benefits for the city that will last for years to come.  I am so proud and privileged to be Director of the bid and I welcome businesses of all sizes to get involved.”

Nick Parbutt, Founder & CEO, toob, said: “The UK City of Culture will be a galvanising force that will drive Southampton forward and help it realise its potential. toob is delighted to be able to support the bid and shares the same belief in the future success of the City. Our £50 million investment into the City’s digital infrastructure will provide the communities in Southampton with access to world class connectivity that will be essential for individuals, businesses and communities to thrive.  Culture has the power to inspire, to create a sense of belonging and pull communities together. Increasingly the creativity process is a combination of virtual and real experiences and we believe our network can support and enhance this process. We are very proud sponsors of Southampton’s bid.”

Sandy Hopkins, Chief Executive of Southampton City Council said; “Winning the bid will put the city of Southampton, and the surrounding Hampshire and Isle of Wight area, on the map, literally and figuratively, bringing with it so many benefits for the people who live and work here.  It will provide lasting economic impacts and give us a global competitive advantage, attracting new investment. It will highlight the role of our universities in place-shaping, skills and job creation.  It will establish new businesses and create quality jobs. It will make Southampton a destination city giving the visitor economy an uplift through investment in all aspects of the city’s infrastructure and experiences.  We are passionate about ensuring that it will build civic pride, community connections, and help residents to start well, live well, and age well.  Our local businesses will also gain much from the success of this bid and it provides excellent opportunities that we simply cannot miss, so please join us on this endeavour.”

Cllr Satvir Kaur, Cabinet Member for Culture and Homes said: “I urge all businesses to get involved and invest in our bid to become UK City of Culture 2025. Now more than ever we must stand together to energise and regenerate, building on our impressive history and cultural offer. The bid will be a key component in our COVID-19 recovery plans. We truly believe in the power of arts and culture, and their ability to changes lives, transforms communities and makes cities like Southampton great.”

Cllr Daniel Fitzhenry, Leader of the Conservative Opposition Group at Southampton City Council said: “We fully support the city’s bid to become the UK City of Culture in 2025 & believe winning this bid will help to unlock the great spirit of our city. Whilst at times challenging, we will work collaboratively with the Labour Group for the benefit of the city so our city can show case all the great history, arts and culture we have”

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