Published: 15:08, 08 March 2021
| Updated: 15:35, 08 March 2021
Young people across Medway are backing the bid to become the UK City of Culture in 2025.
A planning project will give teens aged 14-18 the opportunity to play a key role in shaping how the Towns' bid will develop.
The Youth Creative Planning Group, in collaboration with Art 31 and run by the Institute of Creative and Cultural Industries at the University of Kent, and Theatre 31, which is run by Icon Theatre in Chatham, launched this week.
Members will play a key role in Medway's bid, shape the ideas behind the entry and develop plans for the creative programme rooted in the area's history and stories.
Becoming the City of Culture in 2025 would create jobs and opportunities for young people within the tourism and cultural sectors and put the youth at the centre of life in Medway.
Hull's 2017 City of Culture year saw the creation of 800 jobs, engaged 56,000 children and saw a 34% improvement in the self-esteem of children and young people.
Student engagement officer at Mid-Kent College and co-chairman of the Medway 2025 Youth Engagement Working Group, Maddie Springett, said: "Becoming UK City of Culture in 2025 would really change Medway's reputation, and members of our Youth Creative Planning Group are excited to make Medway a place that they are proud to be from and show off what we're made of to the rest of the nation.
"It's a chance to bring something big to Medway and, with so many amazing schools, colleges, universities and youth community groups on our doorstep, young people are at the heart of making this happen."
Jacob Chilmaid, 17, a member of the Youth Programming Group, said: "Having Medway be the UK's City of Culture in 2025 would be a massive thing for me and I think for anyone within Medway.
"We get a bad reputation and I feel that being City of Culture could help change that. It would bring more colour into Medway and help shine a light on the overlooked talents within our area."
The ambition of the bid and the size and scale of what City of Culture would bring to the area is one of the key reasons young people are backing the bid.
Some of the members also believe the bid could boost Medway's recovery from Covid-19.
Medway resident and founder of Future Chatham, George Atzev, said: "For local young people like myself, the City of Culture title would lay out a whole range of both social and economic opportunities for us.
"The devastating consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic has hit us hard - but the future certainly isn't cancelled.
"Medway City of Culture 2025 ensures that the talent, passion and skills of our local young people is deservedly centre stage."
If you are aged 14-18 and would like to get involved with the Youth Creative Planning Group, click here.