One Week on: Coventry Named UK City of Culture 2021

After last week being named the UK 2021 City of Culture, Coventry locals are in high spirits. The successful bid was announced live on The One Show last Thursday by Arts and Cultural Minister John Glen, and provoked celebrations in Coventry City Centre, where the Coventry 2021 bid team are based (Far Gosford Street).

The announcement meant that Coventry will now receive a £3m Heritage Lottery Fund grant, that will go towards funding many cultural activities throughout the city in the future. The bid team have promised that winning the City of Culture 2021 “will transform your city forever. The young people that are in our schools right now will grow up in a city with more job prospects, a thriving programme of events to enjoy, more places to eat, shop and visit with a bustling city centre. It’s a lot more than a year of cultural celebration, it’s about changing the reputation of the city.”

It is believed that the success of the bid will boost economic growth for Coventry, as well as attracting inward investment and tourism. Along with the arrival of a brand new water park in late 2018, as well as the plans to regenerate areas in the city centre including Shelton Square and City Arcade, Coventry could soon be unrecognisable compared to it’s current state.

“The bid has helped to highlight what is happening in the city and that has to be good news. Coventry’s heritage of being a city of invention, of diversity and of moving people in so many ways over the years is rightly being celebrated and landing the top prize has really boosted our image. It is such a huge honour and we hope that it’s only the beginning of more good news for Coventry”, says Louise Bennett, Chief Excecutive of Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber of Commerce was one of the bid development sponsors.

The announcement of Coventry as the City of Culture was quite a shock, with many odds-makers expecting Paisley to be named as the winner. Swansea’s bid had also received global attention, with citizens of Swanseas in the US, Canada and Australia all sending messages of support for their namesake’s bid. But Ms. Bennett believes that there was only ever one winner. “Over recent weeks and months, we have really seen the efforts gather momentum as the community came together. Winning the award will certainly be a great boost to the city and leave a very positive legacy.”

The bid was sponsored by various local and national companies such as CEF, Jaguar Land Rover and Pertemps. Alison Hart, PR and Communications Excecutive for Pertemps, explained why they backed the bid in the first place: “We were a Gold Bid Development Sponsor of the City of Culture bid and want to help the city in their aspirations as much as possible, going forward after being successful in the City of Culture award too. As a Midlands-based company, Pertemps is committed to supporting the the city of Coventry and any organisation that works toward its triumph. The Pertemps Head Office is based in Meriden, 15 minutes away from Coventry City Centre, so naturally as a business we care about our local area and want it to prosper.”


Vikash Patel

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