Nissan on board to help drive Sunderland’s City of Culture hopes

Manufacturing goliath Nissan is backing Sunderland’s 2021 City of Culture bid, adding its name to a swelling list of corporate sponsors supporting the initiative.

Should Sunderland be able to convince judges next month that it is a deserving winner, the city can expect to benefit from a commercial windfall in visitor numbers flocking to the region.

It is estimated that being the UK City of Culture 2017 will deliver £60m to Hull’s economy this year alone.

Sunderland 2021 was formed by a partnership between the MAC Trust, Sunderland City Council and the University of Sunderland, after the city declared its intention to take part in the coveted national competition in 2015.

A small team, assembled in 2016, has since been working on developing a bid, and gaining support from partners in the city and further afield.

Sunderland was shortlisted after submitting its first stage bid in April. Its second stage bid has to be delivered to the panel of judges by September 29, with the city’s rivals for the titles now down to just four: Swansea, Coventry, Stoke and Paisley.

Rebecca Ball, director of Sunderland 2021, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic to have Nissan pledge its support to our City of Culture Bid, and is a huge statement of just how important this bid is, not only to Sunderland, but the whole of the North East. We’re thrilled they’ve got behind us.

“A successful bid could be truly transformational for the city and region. It has the potential to bring in many millions of pounds of investment, that would really spur on the regeneration of our city and establish it as a destination for visitors not only in 2021, but in the run-up and years after.”

Kevin Fitzpatrick, Divisional Vice President at Nissan Sunderland Plant, said: “We are delighted to back Sunderland’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2021.

“It would be great to see a city that gives so much to the world get the recognition it richly deserves.”

Councillor Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council, added: “How fantastic to see Nissan – a huge employer in the city – appreciating the benefits City of Culture status would bring to the whole region and getting behind the team at Sunderland 2021.”

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