Children and young people are vital to Southampton becoming the UK City of Culture 2025.

That’s the message from bid Director Claire Whitaker OBE as the city waits to hear if it has made the long list, to be announced in the next few days.

Claire said: “With a record number of cities in the running, all eyes are currently on what makes Southampton unique – and we are focused on ensuring our children and young people have the skills and opportunities to thrive which we believe will help us win."

Southampton has a relatively young population, with the number of children in the city growing by nearly three times the national average in the last decade.

This number is predicted to increase further, with those aged 0-14 set to grow by a further 4.1% by 2025.

“Children and young people are not only shaping our bid, but also the future of our wonderful city. There are so many Southampton-based organisations committed to improving the opportunities for and skills of young people currently working across the city," added Claire.

"We want to ensure Southampton is a place which supports its creative sector and becomes somewhere our talented young creative people want to base their careers.”

Such organisations include internationally recognised Artswork, which has been empowering young people for more than 30-years.

Their next project will enable hundreds of local young people to become 'Changemakers' in the city, using creative workshops to devise initiatives that will reduce the impact of violence on their lives.

Southampton City Football Club also plays its part, boasting a varied youth programme including Saint Works, an employability project for 16–25-year-olds not in education, employment, or formal training, while its Saints Community Champions scheme works to engage with ids who find it difficult in a traditional school environment.

Other organisations dedicated to benefitting the lives of young people include:

• African Activities CIC

• Artful Scribe’s Junior Writers Club

• Branch Up are Saturday

• City Eye

• Libraries Plus

• Light UP Class

• Mayflower Young Company

• Regeneration

• Southampton City Council Cultural Services Learning Team

• Southampton Music Hub

• SoCo Music Project

• Southampton’s Violence Reduction Unit

• Theatre for Life CIC

• Youth Options

• Zoielogic

Claire said: “We have shown our commitment to nurturing the future of the city’s young people, by introducing Our Time, a talent bursary programme for 18- 25s.

"We are thrilled to share that the winners have been announced and have received investment to support their creative practice.”

For more on the ‘Our Time’ winners, visit:

To find out more about Southampton’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2025 see