County Durham has a longstanding commitment to culture-led regeneration and, following the shortlisting of the county’s UK City of Culture 2025 bid, its importance to economic prosperity has never been more evident. Amy Harhoff, corporate director for regeneration, economy and growth at Durham County Council, explains more.
County Durham is now a step closer to being named UK City of Culture 2025, which, if successful, would make us the first ever county to achieve UK City of Culture status.
Securing the title would bring colossal social and economic benefits for the county, creating further opportunities for residents as well as ensuring solid foundations for our young people. The current title holder Coventry, which was successful in 2021, has so far attracted more than £100m in capital investment to support its cultural projects.
The economic benefits of becoming UK City of Culture would spread beyond County Durham to the wider region, with the status significantly supporting levelling up aspirations and acting as a catalyst for further government and private sector investment across the North East.
It’s impact on our own economy would also be long lasting, extending far beyond 2025. This includes the creation of an additional 2,500 jobs in Durham’s creative industries and an extra 200 creative enterprises in the county by 2029; directly supporting almost 1,000 businesses and organisations; and creating a £41.5 million spend with at least 50 per cent of contracts going to local suppliers.
More than 15 million additional visitors are likely to be brought to the region, many of whom would stay overnight, helping to boost the visitor spend by £700 million and supporting the creation a further 1,800 jobs in the tourism sector.