Don’t let it ever be said that Medway doesn’t like to try and punch above it’s weight. Despite not being a city and having hardly any culture, councillors of all colours have thrown their weight behind a campaign for Medway to become the UK City of Culture in 2025. There seems to be a lot of mixed messages about what this actually means, so we decided to ask every councillor the following question:
If Medway wins it’s 2025 City of Culture bid, what benefits would this bring to residents of your ward and the wider area?
As usual, we told all of them that we would publish their responses unedited. You can find them below in the order they were received.
Many people in my Ward are both involved in or enjoy the local arts and cultural scene. There is some fantastic music, comedy and poetry coming form grassroots and a successful bid would help to support this creative community more formally than Medway council des now.As a wider economic benefit, it’s really important to develop and support the creative community and grow the potential for job opportunities by providing more venues, facilities and equipment too.
Cllr Teresa Murray, Labour, Rochester East
The UK City of Culture is a title awarded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport every four years to a city in the United Kingdom, with the winner hosting a year-long programme of cultural events and celebrations. We Labour and Co-operative Councillors would have supported a bid for 2021 for Medway.For my ward in Luton and Wayfield Chatham I would welcome economic growth to generate more income for the local economy, new infrastructure, great exposure, and a sense of pride in our own community. Culture is continually becoming more related to countries´ development, and consequently, the event is ever more prestigious and would be great for Medway as well as a whole.When Medway wins we can expect a major boost in tourism and investment as we host a spectacular year of events as well as a build-up period and legacy programme. We in Medway are a diverse, modern city which will allow us to revitalise the role culture can play in bringing all our communities together with greater emphasis on mental health, wellbeing and social inclusion.
Medway has a great history of triumphing against adversity, of coming together with a fierce sense of pride. We love our city with its great literacy history with Charles Dickens and a great military history too. Maybe winning City of Culture in 2025 will transform our city forever. The young people that are in our schools right now will grow up in a city with more job prospects, a thriving programme of events to enjoy, more places to eat, shop and visit with a bustling creative culture. It can be a lot more than a year of cultural celebration it’s about changing the reputation of Medway FOREVER.
Cllr Joanne Howcroft-Scott, Labour, Luton and Wayfield
The economic rewards of being awarded the Title ‘City of Culture’, I believe are fully understood.
Medway has quite a diverse cultural community and by winning this award it demonstrates that, we, as Medway residents, recognize and celebrate the diversity that exists in people of different backgrounds, and valuing their contribution to Medway. Therefore, we potentially would see a boost, both socially and culturally. Additionally, there are other far reaching benefits, making a positive effect, for instance, levels of confidence and pride, creating a sense of well-being, that would spread throughout the community.
Just as important, we have an opportunity to showcase Medway, encouraging people to live and work in here, creating a bigger pool of talent, which is a win-win situation for both residents and employers. Such a pool of talent would provide Medway with an edge, to help it progress in a huge and competitive environment.
Cllr Gary Etheridge, Conservative, Strood Rural
Chatham Central is a wonderful place which would both have many things to both add to and benefit from a Medway City of Culture. It has more than 10,000 fantastic individuals each of whom call Medway home, each of whom have a part to play in a successful bid.
Chatham Central includes the home Charles Dickens lived in during his childhood, Chatham Town FC a brilliant community focused football club, great places for leisure like the Alexandra Pub and the Old Fire Station, the iconic cone wearer Thomas Waghorn and so much more.
One thing I hope we would see with the City of Culture is improved accessibility at Chatham Train Station.
Cllr Vince Maple, Medway Labour Leader, Chatham Central