Swansea City of Culture 2021: Back the Bid

Swansea City: UK City of Culture 2021

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Swansea’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021

I’m not too sure how many people really know about the bid for Swansea to become the UK City of Culture. Despite a portfolio of marketing and local press coverage, I don’t think I’ve done enough to support this BID. So here is my contribution however small it may be.

Swansea is my home city, at least when I explain to people where I’m from, when I’m outside of Wales. And it’s certainly on the map for much of the UK for various reasons. The top one has to be the DVLA but, quite often, the Mumbles is mentioned. Bonnie Tyler and Catherine Zeta Jones being great ambassadors of the day, are also up there when I mention Swansea.

Of course Swansea has some breathtaking scenery. Especially our coastline, now recognised as The UK’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Various other awards and accolades are attached and it’s now appearing on bucket lists for many people. And with good reason.

How many times have you heard, “we don’t always appreciate what’s on our doorstep”? I’m not sure how much truth is in that. However, as residents, maybe we’re not shouting it out as much as we should. It can be all too easy to get caught up in what we see, as what’s wrong or needs improvement.

Neath, let’s support Swansea’s bid

Winning the bid would be a big deal for Swansea. But it’s also a big deal for the south west Wales region, especially when there’s so much more on the horizon for the city. Swansea’s success is the region’s success and I’d certainly like to see my hometown get creative in supporting this BID. It’s no secret I’ve been bit of a fan of Rob Stewart‘s leadership of the city of Swansea over the last three years. Even if just for the optimism and passion he has for a city he so clearly loves. His leadership doesn’t come across like a job, but more of a mission. And he’s always recognising his team around him; that goes a long way in my book.

So, I’m asking my hometown and its borough that also has spectacular scenery, walks and heritage to help me pull our socks up. Let’s capitalise on, and share, the success of our neighbouring city. We’ve got the talents and we’ve got the assets to complement the Swansea2021 bid. That has so much potential to boost our local economies, too.

Neath Port Talbot has it fair share of talent, too

We have our ambassadors, too, here at Neath Port Talbot.  Okay, this is where we steal Bonnie Tyler back, as a Skewen girl! Skewen is claimed by both Neath and Port Talbot in different ways. Even the area dialling code is a Swansea one, just to add to any confusion. Michael Sheen is one of the standout ambassadors who isn’t just from Port Talbot but tirelessly champions the area. You never know where, or when, he’ll casually turn up supporting various good causes for his town and its people.

Katherine Jenkins, Paul Potts, one of my favourites, Ruth Madoc, best known for her role for Gladys Pugh, in Hi-Di-Hi. Her career has stood the test of time with no signs of retirement coming anytime soon. Ruth still plays to theatres across the country. I can’t not give a mention to Captain Beany either. But nothing would please me more on a personal level than to see the late Andrew Vicari recognised for his achievements on the world stage with his distinctive style of art. I know many others will share this view. And others would like other mentioned legends past, not mentioned in this article. I’ll leave you add those in the comments section below.

Putting Swansea and the surrounding areas on the map

Collaborative working is a necessity in all of this, along with pooling our talents. We need to avoid a repeat of the scenario in the press this week, where a major event was cancelled at the Swansea Bay Studios. The cancellation was hailed a success by 80 complainants and their representative. Personally I believe they would have had genuine concerns. But the whole event should have been managed better. The neighbouring community should have been more engaged to feel a part of this event. It was only for one night in October, after all. Another missed opportunity to put Swansea on the map for the right reasons. Maybe Swansea Bay Studios and partners would consider a working group with further engagement with local residents, building good relationships that can produce visible mutual benefits.

Anyway lets leave this artcle on a high. Last night I attended Proms in the Park in Singleton Park. And what a fantastic evening despite the weather. But that only went to show how hardy we are here in Wales. The sky was grey, but the park was a wash with colour, glamour glitz and a few eccentrics. All making the event as diverse as the city that hosted it. And to think, only a few years ago I’d be raving in the same park. Oh how times have changed-ish.

This is why I’m backing Swansea2021 and I hope you do to. If you support the bid, remember to share this article with: #Swansea 2021.

Read more: Should Wales have an English language national anthem?

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