17th September 2020

Southampton UK City of Culture 2025 bid team, launched their business engagement strategy, announcing their first Premier Partner as Southampton based full-fibre broadband company, toob. The announcement was made at a meeting attended by leading Southampton based companies, who are invited to join as major supporters for Southampton’s ambitious plans to win the coveted title in 2025. Claire Whitaker, Southampton’s UK City of Culture Bid Director said: “We are thrilled to be able to announce our first Premier Partner to join us on our journey as we prepare our bid to become UK City of Culture 2025. Southampton is a diverse port city with an extremely rich cultural identity that has been shaped over the centuries by international trade and the movement of people, making it brim with stories and influence. It is also a city that is in the top 10% of UK cities for deprivation. Bidding to become UK City of Culture 2025 provides us with an excellent opportunity to deliver huge social, cultural, and economic benefits for the city that will last for years to come. We welcome all scales of business to join us in our ambition to transform the city for future generations.”

Nick Parbutt, Founder & CEO, toob, added: “The City of Culture will be a galvanising force that will drive Southampton forward and help it realise its potential. toob is delighted to be able to support the bid and shares the same belief in the future success of the city. Our £50 million investment into the city’s digital infrastructure will provide the communities in Southampton with access to world class connectivity that will be essential for individuals, businesses, and communities to thrive. Culture has the power to inspire, to create a sense of belonging and pull communities together. Increasingly creativity is expressed through a combination of virtual and real experiences and we believe our network can support and enhance this process. We are very proud sponsors of Southampton’s bid.”

Sandy Hopkins, Chief Executive of Southampton City Council said: “Winning the bid will put Southampton on the map, literally and figuratively, bringing regional benefits. It will provide lasting economic impacts and give the city global competitive advantage attracting investment. It will highlight the role of both universities in place-shaping, skills, and job creation. It will establish new businesses and create quality jobs. It will make Southampton a destination city giving the visitor economy an uplift through investment in culture and heritage infrastructure. It will build civic pride and community connections and help residents to start well, live well, and age well. The bid provides us with excellent opportunities that we simply cannot miss.” Cllr Satvir Kaur, Cabinet Member for Culture and Homes said: “I urge all businesses to get aboard our bid to become UK City of Culture 2025. Some may question why now, during COVID-19, but I would challenge that. Now more than ever we must stand together to energise and regenerate, building on our impressive history and cultural offer, and the UK City of Culture 2025 bid allows us the perfect opportunity to do this. Culture changes lives, transforms communities and makes cities like Southampton truly great.”