Decision day as Southampton bids to become UK City of Culture 2025

Claire Whitaker OBE, Southampton UK City of Culture Bid Director (2nd right) & Cllr Satvir Kaur (3rd right) & musicians Tyrone (left) and Warbz (right) & dancer and artistic director Zoie Golding (2nd left) & chef Shelina Permalloo (3rd left). Credit: Matt Alexander/PA Archive/PA Images

The city of Southampton will discover on Tuesday, May 31, whether it has won its bid to be named UK City of Culture 2025.

The city is up against Bradford in Yorkshire, Wrexham in North Wales and County Durham in the North East.

The winner of the bid will be announced in Coventry, where the title is currently held, on Tuesday evening.

The bid, which is backed by more than 100 organisations and Southampton City Council, celebrates the diversity and culture of the city.

If successful, it is hoped that the status will boost the local economy significantly and allow local businesses to flourish.

On May 13, Southampton welcomed the panel of judges for the UK City of Culture 2025.

They were given a warm welcome by the bidding committee, who were tasked with convincing the judges that the city would be a worthy winner.

The panel were greeted at God's House Tower and given a short presentation to help them get their bearings, before they were taken for a boat tour to see the city from another angle.

Why is the bid happening now?

Following on from the pandemic, civic chiefs are hopeful that the status will encourage new businesses to invest and encourage existing ones to grow.

In 2021, the council described the city's culture as an engine, which would transform communities and enrich lives.

Previous winners of the status have seen their local economies grow by hundreds of millions of pounds.

If the bid is successful, it is likely Southampton would see similar growth.

The waterfront city hopes to win the bid to boost Southampton's economy. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Who is involved in the bid?

There are more than 100 local organisations involved, and some well known faces from the region.

Singer, Craig David, who was born in the city has thrown his support behind the bid. He rose to fame in the late '90s, with his debut album, Born To Do It, based around his experiences growing up in Southampton.

Masterchef Champion, Shelina Permalloo, was born in Southampton to Mauritian parents and has shown her support for the bid.

The chef has spoken proudly about her links to the city in the past when speaking to the media.

She now runs a restaurant in the city and says the bid will allow everyone to harness their creativity.

Lawrie McMenemy MBE is another key supporter, he said: "This city has done everything right to deserve it."

A legend amongst Southampton fans, Sir Lawrie led Southampton FC to victory against Man United in the 1976 FA Cup final.