SOUTHAMPTON’S UK City of Culture bid could not have come at a more relevant time - in one respect at least

And that is to do with the fact it is likely be one of the most important factors in the city’s recovery from the pandemic.

Previous winners of the title have benefitted from huge economic investment, most notably in recent times Hull.

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.

It also attracted as much as £676 million investment into the city.

So the bid for Southampton 2025 aligns very closely with the Love Local campaign and the aim partners like the city’s two universities, GO! Southampton and the wider business community.

When bid director, Claire Whitaker OBE, was appointed to the role last year things looked very different.

The world has changed and economic recovery on local, regional, national and global levels has become crucial.

And while not everyone may not yet realise it, the UK City of Culture initiative can play a significant role in Southampton’s future prosperity.

Claire said she was delighted with the extensive and positive response from the business community.

And success for the bid was vital for Southampton at the outset of the process, it has become many times more important in light of current events.

Success for 2025 would now be a long term game-changer for the city’s economic prosperity and its regeneration.

Claire added: “We are very much thinking that winning the bid will be part of our recovery from Covid-19.

“It will bring an attention and spotlight to the city that will in turn bring investment and jobs.

“We are really building that in to all we are doing.

“The culture programme will deliver real benefits to help Southampton move forward and have a more prosperous and vibrant future.”