A record 20 places from across the UK have put in a bid to become the UK City of Culture 2025, including Torbay and Exeter’s joint bid.
The winner will be announced next year and will be at the centre of the UK’s cultural spotlight in 2025.
There is already a prospect of the competition having its very own version of the 'Scone Wars' - in terms of whether you correctly put the cream on first, as we do here in Devon or the incorrect approach of jam first - given Cornwall is one of the other 19 bids!
Throughout the history of this competition the winning cities have always benefited from financial support to ensure the programme’s success and lasting legacy.
Coventry has received over £15.5 million from the Government to directly support its year as UK City of Culture.
Winning this title is not just about showcasing our cultural offer and Bay for a year, but leaving a golden cultural legacy in our Bay for years to come.
Over recent months I have been involved with work to relocate not only those who worked with UK forces, but also their families.
This has already seen many given the chance to resettle here in the UK.
As I write, in Kabul our military is working 24/7 to evacuate remaining UK nationals and those who have worked to support the UK mission there.
An air bridgehead between Kabul and Dubai has been established to allow for transfer to civilian aircraft and a simplified process for those who worked with us to be identified, security checked, then offered a space on a flight is already in place, with the UK ambassador to Afghanistan having remained at his post to assist with this.
One constraint on resettlement over recent months has been the rate at which local authorities\communities have stepped forward to offer actual places, vital in terms of moving families to avoid lengthy periods in a hotel or homelessness and to ensure appropriate support after they arrive.
The Government has therefore asked all areas of our nation, including Torbay, to consider taking a proportionate number equivalent to their size, with funding attached to each person resettled to assist with this.
Our Bay has always welcomed into our community those who have served our nation having finished their military service.
There are Afghans currently being evacuated to the UK who will have served alongside our forces, putting their life on the line given the prospect of Taliban revenge attacks.
We should therefore do our bit in this effort to help them, even if the number of places in our Bay will be small compared to what larger communities may offer.
I have restarted face-to-face advice surgeries but telephone appointments can still be arranged if preferred.
Sadly, my surgeries must remain by appointment only at this stage.
Surgeries are for urgent personal matters, such as welfare, immigration, housing, problems accessing support and benefits.
For an appointment, you can either email me at email@example.com or leave a message on 01803 214989.
You can also drop into my office at 5-7 East Street, Torquay TQ2 5SD between 10am and 1pm Monday to Friday. Please note you may have to wait outside if others attend at the same time.
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