Wales Office Minister, Baroness Jenny Randerson has praised Swansea Bay’s rich and diverse cultural offering during a visit to the region to discover more about its bid to become UK City of Culture 2017.
Baroness Randerson met with Swansea Council officials helping to spearhead the bid at the Civic Centre in Swansea, before journeying along the coastline to the Mumbles to tour one of its headline tourist attractions.
The Swansea Bay bid encompasses a collective bid from Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Carmarthenshire, and is now shortlisted alongside Dundee, Hull and Leicester in the running to become the UK City of Culture in 2017.
During the meeting at Swansea Council, officials highlighted the efforts being undertaken to promote the cultural attractions of Swansea and the rolling countryside of the Gower Peninsula.
The Gower has recently benefited from £1.3 million of Heritage Lottery funding for the ‘Saving Gower…for all it’s worth’ project. The project will aim to conserve the industrial heritage of the area whilst also safeguarding its natural history by re-establishing coastal walls and by helping people to learn about how issues such as climate change may affect Gower.
As part of her visit to the area, the Minister visited Oystermouth Castle in The Mumbles which has been undergoing £3.1million restoration, also part funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Work undertaken on the Grade I listed 12th century building includes new visitor facilities, an educational space and a 30-foot high glass viewing platform and bridge that leads to Alina’s Chapel which was never previously opened to the public.
Baroness Jenny Randerson said:
I recently visited Derry and was able to see first-hand how the local economy and local people have benefitted from the City of Culture status.
I was very pleased to meet the team representing the Swansea Bay City of Culture 2017 bid today, and I am confident that they will be putting forward the strongest case possible in the race to the title.
” It is important that we highlight the beauty and culture associated with the area, and that local people take every opportunity to lend their backing to the race. The Wales Office is fully supportive of Swansea’s bid for City of Culture status and it will fully engage with the Welsh Government, the bid team, local MPs and the council in its application.
At Oystermouth Castle I was able to see how the Heritage Lottery Fund – who plays a vital role in maintaining and developing cultural traditions in Wales – has helped develop and restore medieval murals, vaults and chambers which visitors can now discover.
The funding that has been invested in this area will ensure that more people will have the opportunity learn and explore this most beautiful and scenic part of the world.
Swansea Bay fully deserves the opportunity to fly the flag for Welsh culture in 2017 and I urge everyone to fully support the bid.
If Swansea Bay’s bid is successful, the programme for 2017 would include a festival for unsigned musicians, a high-tech history laboratory on the historic Hafod Copperworks site, and a children’s pageant of drama, song, dance and design.
Each city will submit its final bid in September and the winner will be announced in November.
Image courtesy of Lynette Bowley.