Wrexham set to bid for UK City of Culture 2029
Rory Sheehan, local democracy reporter
A cultural trust could be set up to drive Wrexham’s bid to become the UK’s City of Culture in 2029.
Wrexham narrowly missed out to Bradford last year in competition for the 2025 title.
UK City of Culture is a competition run by the UK Government’s Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport every four years.
The next round is expected to open in 2025 for applications for the 2029 title.
A report to Wrexham Council’s environment, business and investment scrutiny committee next week gives an update on the 2029 bid, which suggests setting up a trust so that the board can open a bank account and employ staff, and be independent of the authority.
The report, to be presented by lead member for environment, Rossett Cllr Hugh Jones (Con) says: “In preparation for Wrexham’s bid for the 2029 City of Culture, an interim board was recruited via open application in May 2023.
“There have been three full board meetings to date. However, this board has no legal status at present and neither does the organisation which means it cannot hold a bank account, enter into contracts with others, employ staff or disburse grants.
“The interim board has agreed the vision and mission for the new Cultural Trust, which have guided its deliberations and decision-making in terms of proposed permanent organisational governance structure.”
This will be titled ‘Wrexham Community and Culture Trust/Ymddiriedolaeth Cymunedol a Diwylliannol Wrecsam’ but “a compelling and inclusive public-facing trading name in collaboration with the community of Wrexham” is expected to be developed early next year.
The report says that it is recommended the charitable company remains independent and separate from the council in terms of who is on the board of trustees.
Board of Trustees
It adds: “Joanna Swash, who was appointed interim chair has indicated her willingness to continue as Permanent Chair of the Board of Trustees for a minimum of two years (commencing upon establishment of the Charitable Trust).
“This will provide strong leadership and continuity for the new charity as it moves to appoint an executive team, start developing the new City of Culture bid and deliver cultural development activities in Wrexham.
“It is also proposed that the current interim board be confirmed as the initial board of the charity, subject to their agreement and the development of articles of association setting out the maximum term of their appointment and a staged process for stepping down and renewing the board.”
According to the report, once the charitable trust is established and becomes a legal entity, a public engagement exercise will be carried out by a community engagement committee which will be led by the trust.
This engagement exercise will be informative and will update members of the public, community and businesses on the progression of the Trust and the bid for City of Culture 2029.
Wrexham Council’s environment, business and investment scrutiny committee meets on Tuesday (7 November) to discuss the report.
As well as giving their feedback, councillors will be asked to support the establishment of the proposed trust, and the proposal to name it Wrexham Community and Culture Trust/Ymddiriedolaeth Cymunedol a Diwylliannol Wrecsam.
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