Council to bid for European Youth Capital 2019 title

One Big Weekend during the City of Culture year- If Derry gets the European Youth Capital title in 2019 it could be City of Culture Mark Two,  according to Mayor Elisha McCallion,
One Big Weekend during the City of Culture year- If Derry gets the European Youth Capital title in 2019 it could be City of Culture Mark Two, according to Mayor Elisha McCallion,

Derry & Strabane Council is to make a new bid to become European Youth Capital in 2019.

Mayor of the city and district, Sinn Fein Councillor Elisha McCallion suggested the fresh bid, which could see Derry crowned with the title six years on from narrowly missing out back in 2013.

The council’s Governance and Strategic Planning Committee yesterday gave the go ahead for a concept document to be dawn up in relation to the new bid.

Oonagh McGillion, Director of Legacy with the council told Tuesday evening’s committee meeting at the Guildhall that the former Derry City Council had put forward a bid back in 2010 for 2013 and managed to get down to the final four before losing out.

She said Mayor McCallion has asked officers to explore a fresh bid from the new Derry City and Strabane District Council.

“One of the recommendations that came from the last bid was the fact that the panel were very impressed on how we engaged young people in the development of the One Plan,” Ms McGillion added.

Mayor of Derry and Strabane Elisha McCallion pictured recently with some local young people who will be taking part in the Clipper race.

Mayor of Derry and Strabane Elisha McCallion pictured recently with some local young people who will be taking part in the Clipper race.

She said that hosting the bid was likely to cost in the region of £5.5m, based on previous estimates, while the bid itself would cost around £74,000.

“We would expect a significant proportion of the funding would come from outside sources,” Ms McGillion said.

Bidding is expected to open in September, with the first submissions to be in by Spring 2016. If Derry progresses through this the final round, the complete bid would have to be in by October 2016.

“If the city and district were to be successful that would give us two years,” Ms McGillion said, adding:

As a council we should be shooting for the stars. This should be a City of Culture mark two.

Mayor Elisha McCallion

A new panel was being proposed to take forward Derry and Strabane’s hopes, chaired by the Mayor and involving local organisations, with central input from young people from Derry and Strabane areas and key statutory agencies.

The Northern Ireland Executive will also be engaged at an early stage for endorsement.

A detailed project plan with time lines and budgets is now expected to be drafted by council officers and others

Mayor McCallion said she was delighted that the matter had been brought before the committee.

“This is something I have been working on this past number of weeks and it is something I am very keen to drive forward,” she said.

Colr. McCallion said that she realised the opportunity to bid for the title was one that was too good to miss, and that the bid would be designed largely by young people with youth venues, Apps, social media and social interaction all brought into play..

“This would be a natural way for us to continue the legacy of the City of Culture, whilst giving the recognition to the young people that they deserve,” the Mayor said, adding:

“As a council we should be shooting for the stars. This should be a City of Culture mark two.”

She said the project would need resourcing from the Executive and possibly Europe as well.

UUP Councillor Derek Hussey congratulated the Mayor on bringing the bid back to the table.

He said that “reading between the lines” he understood Derry’s bid for the title back in 2013 had been unsuccessful because it was “running in parallel and tandem with the City of Culture bid”.

Colr. Hussey said a lot of the groundwork would have already been done and urged that the fresh bid reflect the entire region of the new council.

Independent Councillor Dee Quigley said that coming from a youth work background he had no problem supporting the proposal.

SDLP Councillor Martin Reilly added: “We are in a stronger position than we were back in 2010 when we got to the last four.

“This would certainly put the city on then map in 2019. It is something that the city should get behind.”