Warwickshire’s backing for Coventry’s bid to be UK City of Culture in 2021 was celebrated at an event at Warwick Castle, where the county heard how it can benefit if the city is successful.
The event was organised by Coventry City of Culture Trust – the organisation behind Coventry’s bid for the prestigious title – to thank Warwickshire County Council and the local district and borough councils for their support.
Around 150 delegates attended the event which heard about the potential “ripple effect” for the region’s economy and tourism as well as how it could bring cultural and social benefits to a region.
Businesses from across the county were also encouraged to pledge their support in order to help Coventry – which is up against Paisley, Stoke, Sunderland and Swansea – seal victory.
Speaking at the event, Cllr Izzi Seccombe OBE, Leader of Warwickshire County Council and board member of the Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Warwickshire is 100 per cent behind Coventry's bid. We know that cultural investment can help transform communities and economies and we are already seeing the positive impact it is having on people’s lives, local businesses and tourism in Hull and the surrounding areas.
“Warwickshire County Council and the district and borough councils are supporting this bid every step of the way - and we have all given financial support, to fund a report on the profile of visitors and the economic impact that this could have on the whole county.
“The message to businesses and organisations in Warwickshire is clear - we will all benefit from Coventry’s win. So, on behalf of all the districts and boroughs in Warwickshire and all our regional partners; we are all supporting you Coventry.”
Claire McColgan, of Culture Liverpool, spoke about the benefits that Liverpool and the surrounding region had seen from being European Capital of Culture and how other areas had taken the initiative to attract visitors during the year.
She said: “When Liverpool was European Capital of Culture the whole region won. If Coventry wins, the whole region are winners too and the benefits expected can be substantial.”
The audience was entertained by music from Positive Youth Foundation’s Changing Trax musicians and also heard from Laura McMillan and David Burbidge, of Coventry City of Culture Trust.
Laura said: “It’s great to see the region is right behind us. We feel the time is right for Coventry – the city really needs to win this title and, if we do, it would bring major benefits to the city, the county and the wider region.
“This is not just about economic benefits, we want to change the future for the people of the region, especially the young.”
As well as Warwickshire County Council, Warwick District Council, Rugby Borough Council, Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council, North Warwickshire Borough Council, Stratford-on-Avon District Council and Solihull Borough Council are all backing the back.
Coventry City Council, The University of Warwick, and Coventry University are Principal Partners of the bid and are providing significant support. The Ricoh Arena is Bid Sponsor while Jaguar Land Rover, Adient, Friargate, Coventry Building Society, the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Birmingham Airport, PET-Xi, SCC, Pertemps, CEF (City Electrical Factors) and Listers are also Bid Development Sponsors.
Pictured: Julie Taylor (North Warwickshire Borough Council), Cllr Stephen Cross (Mayor of Warwick), Cllr Izzi Seccombe (Warwickshire County Council), David Burbidge, Laura McMillan (both Coventry City of Culture Trust), Ian Powell (Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council), Cllr Michael Stokes (Rugby Borough Council).