WITH ITS rich history, beautiful scenery, and vast number of attractions, there are many reasons why Southampton should be crowned the next City of Culture.

But for Bid Director Claire Whitaker OBE it is important to show why Southampton needs to claim the crown.

The City of Culture expert panel visit Southampton today ahead of making their decision - which could see the city attract millions of pounds worth of investment.

READ MORE: All the famous faces backing Southampton's City of Culture bid

This, according to Claire, could really enhance the city’s “diversity and community spirit.”

She said: “We want to show the judges all the amazing things in Southampton, such as art galleries, the cultural quarter and all the places you would expect us to take them.

Daily Echo: Claire Whitaker OBEClaire Whitaker OBE

“But we also want the expert panel to experience why Southampton needs the City of Culture.

“We are going to be taking them out into the community to show how it can really involve the whole city.

“The diversity and community spirit will be really enhanced by the City of Culture.”

According to Claire, Southampton’s bid for the crown is all about creating opportunities, especially for the younger generation.

She said: “We are very aware that we are in a world that is emerging from Covid and we want to create opportunities for all.

“In particular for our young people, who have had such a difficult time over the past few years. We want to really showcase that in our bid.

READ NEXT: Here's why YOU think Southampton should be UK City of Culture 2025

“The opportunities the City of Culture brings to children and young people will enable a future they never would have dreamed of.

“We also want to show that Southampton has a breadth of diversity.

“For example, the way the Polish community has responded to the crisis in Ukraine and how the community came together during Covid.”

The expert panel will be travelling across the city today to find out from residents why Southampton should be named the City of Culture.

Claire said: “The city has come together for this.

“It has been amazing and the enthusiasm for the bid has been fantastic. It has spurred me and the team on to do the best we can.”

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