Capital of Culture 2008
16 October 2001

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The Highland Capital, Inverness Begins Bid for Capital Of Culture 2008

Two young members of the Inverness Highland Capital of Culture 2008 Bid Group are heading for Brussels this week on a charm offensive.  Annie Marrs (17) from Millburn Academy and Judith Riddell (15) from Tain Royal Academy will be meeting key European figures in the European Parliament and also during Highlands and Islands Day at Scotland House to promote the Highland cause.  Joining them on Wednesday will be Bid Co-ordinator Bryan Beattie and youth worker, Leanne Sutherland, from Alness. They will also meet up with five students from the National School of Excellence for Traditional Music, Plockton, who are also acting as ambassadors for the Highlands in Brussels.  Annie said of the bid: "I think this will be totally fab for the Highlands and benefit us all."

The Highland Council Convener David Green said: "At the heart of our bid will lie a commitment to the next generation building for the future.  Young people are the cornerstone of a strong Inverness and the Highlands in the future. I am delighted that Annie and Judith, members of Youth Voice the Highlands democratic parliament for young people are joining us in Brussels to spread the word. Their enthusiasm for the potential of the Capital of Culture is infectious and instructive."

Sandy Cumming, chief executive of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said: "It is important that Inverness Highland 2008 now raises its profile in the bid to become the Capital of Culture and events in the European Parliament and Scotland House this week will help achieve this. I am encouraged that young people in the Highlands and Islands are taking such an active part in these proceedings as they will play a major part in how the area develops economically and socially in the years to come." 

Bryan Beattie will be heading from Brussels to Rotterdam which with Porto is this years Capital of Culture to attend a weekend conference on culture. He said: "We are determined to put together the best possible bid and it is essential that we do our homework to identify the key areas for action."  The Highland Council spearheaded the idea to bid for the Capital of Culture in 2008 but has been supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the Scottish Executive. Together they have helped create a new company - Inverness Highland 2008 which will submit the bid by March next year.

Inverness Highland 2008 will be the only Scottish bid and will be considered alongside 12 others from the UK.  Bryan said: "Tremendous support and goodwill has already been received from cultural organisations throughout the city, the Highlands, and indeed from the national cultural agencies.  "We believe strongly in the benefits that can come from the designation as European Capital of Culture. The obvious economic benefits that will come from a year round series of high-profile events attracting visitors from around

"The social benefits that will come from a greatly improved cultural infrastructure whether that be an extended Eden Court Theatre, a national football academy, a major new art gallery, or an enhanced Highland Folk Park.  "And perhaps one of the greatest intangible benefits the confidence and self-belief engendered in people who have been entrusted to be not just the UK cultural flagship but the European flagship, for a whole year."