Southampton's bid for UK City of Culture 2025

'We March On'

Bargate lit up red with SO25 and Make It SO campaign projections

Southampton City Council, Solent University and the University of Southampton have committed to continue investing in the Southampton 2025 Trust to deliver against an agreed programme putting culture at its heart.

That’s the message from Councillor Satvir Kaur, Leader of Southampton City Council, following the government’s decision (May 31) to select Bradford as UK City of Culture 2025.

“First of all, I want to offer heartfelt congratulations to our colleagues and friends in Bradford on being the winning city and we wish them the very best for 2025,” said Councillor Kaur. She went on: “For us the bidding process has unlocked a scale of ambition, vision and financial commitment that is unprecedented, with over 150 businesses, cultural and community organisations and 11 neighbouring local authorities committed to transforming the city and wider region through culture.

“Drawing on the outstanding collaborative work of the city and our partners, the Southampton 2025 Trust will support the civic strategies of the city and lead on public and private sector fundraising to realise the ambitions and aspirations galvanised during the UK City of Culture bidding process.

“Activities which the Trust will lead on include the development of Southampton as cultural destination and raising the profile of the city supporting place-marketing, festivals and events, attracting inward investment and national and international partnerships, whilst also enabling the growth of the cultural and creative economy.

“During this process we have learnt so much about what’s important for our communities, our sense of pride and identity and what our city can look like in the future. We remain totally committed to an ambitious vision for Southampton and the region with culture at its heart. It is encouraging to know that The Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport have stated that they will work with finalists to identify areas where they can offer support.

“We will now put our energies into taking forward the galvanising work of the Southampton 2025 Trust to address our needs and become that thriving, dynamic place we know that Southampton can be! And we thank the brilliant team at Southampton 2025 Trust for their magnificent work for the city, under its inspiring leader, Claire Whitaker OBE. Our ambition to 'Make it SO!' very much lives on.”

Claire Whitaker OBE, Director of Southampton 2025 Trust said today:

“I want to personally thank the people of Southampton, our friends and neighbours and our myriad of local, regional, national and international partners who have given their unwavering support. We are naturally very disappointed but know that we gave the process everything we could have and that the bid has brought us together like never before. I would like to thank Southampton City Council, Solent University and the University of Southampton for continuing to support the Southampton 2025 Trust and ensuring that culture remains at the centre of our city and wider region.”