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Stirling’s bid to be crowned UK City of Culture 2025 cost more than £50,000

Stirling’s attempt to be crowned the UK City of Culture 2025 cost more than £50,000 overall.

The city launched its bid to claim the highly sought after crown in August last year.

At that time, we told how the city was among 20 places from across the UK to have put in a bid for the competition run by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in collaboration with the returned administrations.

The winner, to be declared this year, will take on the baton from Coventry as the 2021 UK City of Culture which so far has attracted over £100 million in capital investment to support cultural projects.

Stirling made the long list of candidates, but the bid failed to make the short list, announced in March this year.

The sum spent on the city’s bid for the top culture crown totaled £50,422.15, according to figures obtained by the Stirling Observer via a Freedom of Information (FoI) request.

A grant of £40,000 was received making the cost to the public purse £10,422.

When asked what the costs associated with the bid were, the council revealed that the top three expenses incurred was £21,334 spent on “Bid Project Management”, £11,850 on marketing and communications and £4,950 on the bid launch.

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In addition, £4,925 was spent on “community engagement workshops”, with a further £4,571 spent on the official bid document design and edit.

Photography and videography associated with the bid saw a further £1,600 spent.

The two lowest expenses paid out as part of the bid were for advertising (£652.60) and UK City Bid induction meeting costs (£539.55) – bringing the total cost to £50,422.15.

The council added that a grant was received from DCMS totaling £40,000.



Stirling’s iconic Wallace Monument was the backdrop for the bid launch

A Stirling Council spokesperson said: “Stirling’s UK City of Culture 2025 bid was overseen by a steering group that included key cultural partners and the council.

“The council managed and monitored all finances relating to the bid. The small additional spend came under delegated authority from the council’s Economic Development and Culture budget to give Stirling the best possible chance of success.

“While Stirling narrowly missed out on the final shortlist, reaching that stage of the competition was a fantastic achievement for the people of Stirling and raised the profile of the area to a huge audience.

“The work on the bid will also shape the new cultural strategy for Stirling, which will help unleash the area’s full cultural potential and deliver long-lasting change for our communities by driving economic growth, regeneration and inclusion.”

In Stirling’s bid document, also obtained by the Observer through a FoI request, they pitched to the panel, saying: “All of our communities are guardians of Stirling’s culture from the hyperlocal to internationally recognised.

“Together we will deliver a Year of Culture that is inclusive and diverse, that takes place in accessible spaces, that is responsible for reducing its environmental impact and that provides increased opportunities for those who need them most, driving great economic benefit and social equity across Stirling. Our bid has our people at its heart and we cannot wait to connect our stories, places and ambitions with each other and the rest of the world. Our celebrations are for everybody. Welcome to Stirling.”

It added: “This bid has been created and supported by people who believe that culture can play a part in improving lives; our communities across the area, artists and creatives, Stirling and Scotland’s advocates, heritage, health, education and tourism partners and business and city leaders. We have a brilliant community focussed foundation on which to build a City of Culture and see this bid as the ignition to a fairer, more equal society across the whole of Stirling.”

The document added that a total net budget of £16.5 million was allocated to Stirling’s City of Culture budget from 2022 to 2026, adding: “Allocated funds have been designated to particular program strands for example, children and young people, festivals, dementia-friendly and disability initiatives as well supporting our themes. There will be designated funds for artists, grassroots groups and arts and heritage organizations to develop work as part of the programme.”

In March this year, we told how one bookmaker made Stirling the red hot favorite to scoop the title. However, later that same month it was revealed the city had failed to make the final shortlist.

Bradford, County Durham, Southampton and Wrexham County Borough were shortlisted for the award, with the winner to be announced by the Culture Secretary this month.

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