There are only 100 days to go until Leeds submits its ambitious bid to become the European Capital of Culture in 2023 – and your support is vital.
A clarion call is today being issued by city leaders for people across the area to do all they can to make the attempt a success.
A successful bid would be truly and uniquely transformative for the whole city, but it’s something that can only be accomplished if we all come together now with a unified sense of purpose and do our bit to make it happen.Coun Judith Blake, the leader of Leeds City Council
Coun Judith Blake, the leader of Leeds City Council, said: “This is an absolutely pivotal moment for the bid, and for Leeds, when we have a fantastic opportunity to show exactly how much becoming European Capital of Culture in 2023 would mean to our city.
“Passion for culture and the arts resonates across our communities and is an integral part of what makes Leeds such an exciting and dynamic place to live and visit.
“What we need now is for as many people as possible to channel that energy and enthusiasm into the bid by pledging their support in whatever way they can.”
The #MakeLeeds2023 campaign – launched to mark the 100 day countdown - is asking residents, businesses and communities in Leeds to back the bid, which will be submitted on October 27, by making an online pledge to actively spread the word.
People are being urged to show their support and share their activities on social media using the hashtag.
Suggestions for pledges include telling 23 family and friends about the bid, sharing details about it with people on social networks or downloading the new Maker’s Manual, which includes creative ideas for how to get involved, from the Leeds 2023 website.
Sharon Watson, chair of the Leeds 2023 Independent Steering Group said: “We’re delighted to launch the #MakeLeeds2023 campaign.
“Our European Capital of Culture bid presents a huge opportunity for Leeds to highlight and shout about its diverse population and reposition Leeds’ image in the UK and Europe.
“We want to ensure our bid is firmly focused on the people of Leeds as our bid is for them. As such, it’s important that we use the bid as a platform to bring people from across the breadth of our city and backgrounds together, promoting well-being and pride in our city.
“With the 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.
“There are numerous events coming up to help rally support for the bid and we hope people get involved and submit their online pledges.”
The push comes in the same week that members of the council’s executive board approved the new Leeds Culture Strategy 2017-2030, which sets out the principles of how culture can be put at the heart of the city’s future.
And to mark the launch, 100 people from Leeds came together at the landmark brewery-turned-gallery, The Tetley, to show their commitment.
The heritage site is in the South Bank – described by city leaders as Europe’s regeneration project – which will double the size of Leeds’ centre and create a new park just in time for hosting duties should the bid be successful.
Coun Blake said: “A successful bid would be truly and uniquely transformative for the whole city, but it’s something that can only be accomplished if we all come together now with a unified sense of purpose and do our bit to make it happen.”
Over the next seven days, the Yorkshire Evening Post is to profile various city leaders making their case for why the bid is so important.
These will include Arthur France and Ian Charles, the founders of Leeds West Indian Carnival; Bramley Baths chief executive Tracy Basu; the chief executive of Aspire, a learning disability social enterprise, Andrew Rawnsley; Amy Letman from Transform Festival; Sir Gary Verity, the chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire; Richard Gregory, the chief executive of Yorkshire Bank; and Leeds Rhinos stalwart Jamie Jones-Buchanan.
For more details about the bid and to download a Maker’s Manual, visit www.leeds2023.co.uk