Manchester’s growing global reputation as the UK’s capital of youth and youth culture has been given a further boost this week with the announcement that it has been shortlisted to become European Youth Capital 2018.
Getting shortlisted for the title is regarded as a major coup and Manchester is the first UK city to ever make it through to the shortlist, despite bids by other UK cities for the prestigious title this year and in previous years.
The city takes it place on the shortlist along with four other leading European cities – Cascais (Portugal), Kecskemet (Hungary), Novi Sad (Serbia), and Perugia (Italy). Both Perugia and Cascais were previously shortlisted for the title in 2017 but lost out to Varna in Bulgaria.
The city’s first time bid to become European Youth Capital 2018 has been supported by a number of high profile organisations across the city. These include both football clubs, Manchester City FC and Manchester United FC, the Contact Theatre, Factory Youth Zone, and Manchester Metropolitan University, as well as voluntary sector organisations and Manchester Youth Council.
The city’s shortlisted bid focuses on four of the European Union’s Youth Strategy fields of action – creativity and culture, employment and entrepreneurship, participation in civil society, and social inclusion.
It is underpinned by statistics that show more than 40 per cent of Manchester’s resident population is aged 25 or under.
Being awarded European Youth Capital provides a platform for the winner to showcase the youth related cultural, social, political and economic life of their city, and to develop new innovative and sustainable ways to increase the active participation of young people in the life of the city, as well as linking policies and actions at a European level.
If Manchester’s bid is successful it will see a two year programme of events and activities in the run up to the year of office in order to get as many people involved as possible.
Young people will be central to the design and delivery of the programme of events and will work in partnership with lead agencies to shape activities and decide on content.
Michelle Saidi, Chair of Manchester Youth Council, said: “Manchester is a brilliant place to live and already provides a wealth of opportunities for young people like me to get involved in the life of the city. Being named European Youth Capital 2018 would give us an amazing opportunity to build on this, to directly involve even more young people in activities, and to show the rest of Europe how we do things in Manchester.”
Councillor Rosa Battle, lead member for young people, Manchester City Council, said: “Manchester is a ‘young’ city. It is already, as we all know, the undisputed UK capital of youth and youth culture. It’s a great place for young people to grow and prepare for their futures.
“We work very hard on championing the rights and opinions of young people and the figures speak for themselves. With more than 40% of Manchester residents under the age of 25, young people have a voice that shouldn’t be ignored and needs to be heard.
“Whether this is recognised or not by the European Youth Capital panel when they make their decision in November, we will continue to do everything we can to support young people and give them a platform, to make sure they have the confidence and skills necessary to take advantage of all the opportunities presented by living in a large European city.”
The next stage of the bidding process will see Manchester and the other short-listed cities make a further more detailed submission to the European Youth Capital jury in October, before the winner is announced at the European Youth Forum Council of Members in November.
To show your support for Manchester’s European Youth Capital 2018 bid send a tweet using the hashtag #eyc2018