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Monday, September 16, 2019

City leaders defend Nottingham after German newspaper publishes criticism

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When a German magazine chose to do a special feature about how tough life in Britain is, they settled on Nottingham in an attempt to show just how bleak life is here.

It paints the city as a charred economic wasteland, and argues that ‘hunger is rampant on the island’.

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When describing life in Nottingham, it borrows words from English philosopher Thomas Hobbes, like: “Human life is lonely, poor, disgusting, animal and short.”

The piece focuses on poverty in the city, and the support people receive, arguing life is getting worse for us.

But there’s a major problem with the article, which was printed in news magazine Der Spiegel this week – it spends 2,000 words criticising Nottingham and the UK, but it doesn’t mention a single positive thing about living in our home city.

Of course, we have our problems, like any other city, but we think this is still a great place to live, work and raise a family.

Wollaton Hall photo Robin Macey

So we’ve spoken to some prominent faces around the city about the challenges we face, but also what they love about Nottingham.

We’ve also put together 12 reasons we’re proud of Nottingham.

David Mellen, Labour leader of Nottingham City Council
“There are so many things to be proud of about Nottingham.

“I love the fact small organisations and businesses thrive here. They give quality and character to our city.

“We’ve got a growing economy, we’ve got a lot of people in work, we’ve got centres of excellence in a number of fields, we’ve got two very good universities, we’ve got an excellent transport system.

A NET tram at Nottingham Trent University - single student fares rise for £1.00 to £1.50 on October 1, 2018 Picture: © westbridgfordwire.com
Picture: © westbridgfordwire.com

“Obviously I think the fact that food banks need to exist is a shocking indictment in the fifth richest economy in the world. It is shocking that they are needed. But I think the fact that people who are struggling can find care and caring people is a credit to the city.

“There are a lot of support services for people who are struggling, in a way there would not be in other places.

“People do reach out and help each other here. Any of us could be two or three steps away from needing that support, so having those networks there is no bad thing.”

“The cranes we’ve got up in the city, they’re not just about new buildings, they’re about jobs, and futures, and prospects. We want people in 20 years to say ‘I worked on the Castle, or I worked on the College Hub.’

Nottingham Trent University buildings at jn of Shakespeare St & Goldsmith St - photo Robin Macey
Nottingham Trent University buildings at jn of Shakespeare St & Goldsmith St – photo Robin Macey

“But Nottingham has been hit much harder than most with government cuts, and we’re not on a level playing field with places in the south. Because we’re proud of our city it makes us more determined to fight that.”

Lilian Greenwood, Labour MP for Nottingham South

“Yes we’ve got food banks and people are increasingly relying on them to get by, but the fact is there’s huge support for them, and it’s a community looking after their own, and I think that’s hugely positive.

“Our communities pull together and pull round each other when people face difficulties, whether they’ve lost their job, or they’re going into hospital, or there’s been a burglary or whatever it happens to be. There’s a really strong sense of community.

“Nottingham’s just a really nice place to be. It’s a good size, you can walk from one side to the other and always bump into people.

“It’s really friendly, no-one would think of getting off the bus without saying thank you to the driver. That’s a real contrast to London where people just walk around with their earbuds in.

“It’s a welcoming city, and I think having two universities over a long period has meant people come from across the country and the world and I think we’ve benefitted hugely from that diversity.

“It’s got everything you could possibly want, apart from the seaside, but I think my favourite thing is its slightly rebellious nature.”

“I can say loads of good things about Nottingham, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that there are a lot of people struggling. That doesn’t need to happen and it shouldn’t be happening.”

Alex Broughton, marketing and communications manager at Visit Nottinghamshire

“We are of course disappointed to see that Nottingham has been portrayed in a somewhat negative light in this article.

“Nottingham’s visitor economy is in fact on an upward trajectory and will be further bolstered by the reopening of the Castle in 2020.

“Our website, which showcases everything there is to do and see in Nottinghamshire, has thousands of visitors a month – suggests that there is certainly an appetite for people to visit our region and take advantage of everything that it has to offer.

“Germany is a major market for us in terms of inbound tourism, and we will continue to welcome German visitors to Nottinghamshire in the future.”

Nottingham Trent University

“We’re proud to call Nottingham home. It’s a city of culture, nightlife, sport, and stories – one that’s big on fun, and small on cost. It’s friendly, it’s exciting and has excellent transport links – the perfect place to embrace your independence.

“Our city bustles with students – we’re home to two major universities, attracting over 60,000 students to the city.

“In fact, we have one of the youngest populations of any major UK city. Nottingham is currently the second youngest core city, with more under 30s than any other except Manchester.

“We’ve been awarded a Purple Flag Award for the seventh year in a row, recognising Nottingham as one of the best nights out in the UK.

“Discover bars hidden down alleyways and under pavements, chic cocktail bars and cosy pubs, as well as indie hotspots and nightclubs playing cheesy tunes.”

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