THE whole of County Durham will be ‘turbo-charged’ and become an internationally recognised ‘powerhouse’ if it is successful in securing the City of Culture 2025 accolade, according to those nearest to the bid project.

During the start of this year, behind the scenes work has been undertaken to make the whole of the region ‘bid-ready’ ahead of County Durham submitting their finalised ideas to land the City of Culture title in three years’ time.

Just last month, it was revealed that County Durham had been shortlisted for the ‘final four’ places for the cultural award – but still have Bradford, Wrexham, and Southampton to contend with.

Read more: 25 reasons why Durham should be the first countywide winner of UK City of Culture in 2025

In less than three weeks’ time, County Durham will find out if it’s been successful in all its work so far – which will see the winner announced by Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries.

Ahead of the City of Culture 2025 judges visiting the historic city of Durham today (May 9), we look at what benefits County Durham will receive if they land the title in 2025.

Today, the whole of County Durham will be looking to wow the judges – exhibiting the best in historical, architectural, and cultural offerings – hoping to wow the judges along the way.

Darlington and Stockton Times: County Durham has come to a crucial stage in its 2025 City of Culture bid, with judges arriving today (May 9). Picture: NORTHERN ECHO.County Durham has come to a crucial stage in its 2025 City of Culture bid, with judges arriving today (May 9). Picture: NORTHERN ECHO.

Already, Durham County Council has said that securing this title would “unlock a wealth of opportunities for our communities, turbo charge our cultural and economic ambitions and fix an international spotlight firmly on the North East”.

Alongside this, it would attract a reported more than 15 million visitors, inject hundreds of millions of pounds into the local economy and create and safeguard thousands of jobs.

In preparation to ‘pave the way’ for that vision, a multi-billion-pound regeneration programme bringing together public and private sector partners is already underway.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Durham's Lumiere event. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO.Durham's Lumiere event. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO.

Alison Clark, bid director of the City of Culture 2025 submission, has pinpointed exactly what County Durham’s bid is and what people can do to help deliver the major project.

She said: The title of our bid is ‘Into the Light: The past we inherit the future we build.’ This draws on the proud historic motto of the Durham Miners’ Association and places it at the heart of a cultural programme with international appeal. A programme that reframes a county of unequal opportunity as a place of collective energy and opportunities for all.

“As we continue in this crucial final phase, it is more important than ever before that we join together as a county and a region to bring this title home to the North East.”

Darlington and Stockton Times: Beamish Museum is a cultural gem in County Durham. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO.Beamish Museum is a cultural gem in County Durham. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO.

It’s not just the council that is backing the City of Culture bid, though.

City of Durham MP, Mary Kelly Foy, has thrown her “wholehearted support” behind the initiative.

She said: “There is an incredible team working on this bid and they need the support of every MP and councillor to help them over the line – regardless of political allegiances, and I am proud to have worked cross-party with all County Durham MPs to ensure the county is given its best winning chance.”

Darlington and Stockton Times: Raby Castle. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO.Raby Castle. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO.

“I have made representations in Parliament to highlight the unique culture of our beautiful county.”

“We have always been a county of diversity and tolerance, with a distinctive voice and special culture.”

A whole host of well-known names has also drawn on their experiences in Durham and County Durham to ‘back the bid’ in their own little way.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Locomotion in Shildon is another cultural powerhouse in County Durham. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO.Locomotion in Shildon is another cultural powerhouse in County Durham. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO.

In his own words, author Bill Bryson, who acted as the Durham University Chancellor between 2005 and 2011, has encapsulated what County Durham truly means to him.

He said: “I don’t know of any place that offers a greater depth of history, architectural magnificence, and cultural vibrancy in a lovelier setting than County Durham – from its breath-taking coastline and the rolling hills of the Dales to the unforgettable city boasting a World Heritage Site. And it has the friendliest people in the country. What more could you ask for?”

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