I have joined with other MPs to call for a new ‘Town of Culture’ award to be established to help regenerate local areas. MPs have published an open letter to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport requesting for the matter to be discussed further.
Currently, towns are eligible to apply for the ‘City of Culture’ award, but they struggle to put forward a bid that can compete with the larger cities that also compete for the award. Cities have the resources they need to put forward a bid and towns would be greatly supported if they had their own category.
The letter states:
“Instead of having to compete with big cities once every four years, or lose out completely, we believe there should be a distinctive town of culture award convened by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport every year.”
The letter also asks for devolved administrations to work with the UK Government to create a UK wide Town of Culture award.
For too long our towns have been ignored leaving high streets to decay and communities to feel left behind. As towns have struggled young people have moved away to cities who receive far more in funding and promotion. That is why the UK Government needs to take a fresh look at how they nurture the talent of our towns.
By establishing a “Town of Culture” award we could see the heritage and creativity of our local communities put on display for the rest of the country; attracting visitors and helping to re-instil a sense of pride in our neighbourhoods.
Culture and the arts have immense power to transform communities for the better. DCMS should introduce this programme now, and even better name one of the first ‘Towns of Culture’ to be located in Delyn.