Updated: Friday, 22nd November 2019 @ 2:37pm

Manchester youth to set European benchmark as city shortlisted for award

Manchester youth to set European benchmark as city shortlisted for award

| By Frankie Tobi

Manchester have been shortlisted for the distinguished European Youth Capital award, becoming the first UK city to make the list.

The prestigious accolade places Manchester firmly on the map and is welcome news, given that previous bids made by other UK cities have failed to make it to this stage.

This year, the four other shortlisted cities for the European Youth Capital 2018 are Cascais (Portugal), Kecskemet (Hungary), Novi Sad (Serbia) and Perugia (Italy).

The final decision will be announced in November and it is clear that Manchester faces fierce competition.

The title will be familiar to both Perugia and Cascais, who were both candidates for the 2017 title, before being beaten by Varna in Bulgaria.

Chair of the Manchester Youth Council, Michelle Saidi, 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.”

With tens of thousands of new students descending on the city over the past few weeks, it will be of no surprise to residents that a staggering 40% of Manchester’s population is aged 25 or under.

Officially Europe’s biggest student population, Manchester is home to approximately 80,000 students.

The judging criteria for the European Young Capital 2018 focuses on four main areas: creativity and culture, employment and entrepreneurship, participation in civil society, and social inclusion.

Already attracting many people to the city with its legendary music scene, Manchester’s past year has seen the rise and rise of its cultural portfolio.

The £15million renovation of The Whitworth Gallery earlier this year won the 2015 award for museum of the year.

With the opening of HOME in May, the city now has an almost unrivalled dedication to the arts, putting it firmly in line with international competitors.

The campaign to make Manchester EYC 2018 is being shown support across the city and online with the hashtag #eyc2018.

Additionally, numerous high profile organisations are backing the bid including Manchester City and Manchester United, the Contact Theatre, Factory Youth Zone, and Manchester Metropolitan University.

Councillor Rosa Battle from Manchester City Council, lead member for young people, described the city as the ‘undisputed UK capital of youth and youth culture.’

Ms Battle said: “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 35, 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 winner of European Youth Capital 2018 will be announced in November, but people can show their support by using the hashtag #eyc2018 on Twitter.

Image courtesy of Fransisco Osorio, with thanks.