17th Oct, 2021

Be part of Coventry's City of Culture scheme by becoming a community connector

TEN MORE community-minded people, groups and organisations who have an idea for a creative product they want to develop are being urged to come forward and apply for funding as part of the latest UK City of Culture scheme.

Coventry City of Culture Trust and 64 Million Artists have launched the second phase of the Community Connectors programme which sees budgets of up to £4,000 available for each successful project.

They are looking for individual community members, or those from grassroots organisations and community groups from Wyken, Longford, Bablake, Upper Stoke, Cheylesmore, Binley and Willenhall, Sherbourne, Westwood, Whoberley and Woodlands.

Projects can be anything from creating a piece of art to represent and celebrate the community or putting on a community event or festival to improving and using community spaces.

Eight C were appointed in the first phase of the programme in February covering the City Centre, Earlsdon, Finham and Styvechale, Foleshill, Henley Green, Holbrooks, North West Coventry and Stoke Aldermoor. They have been receiving specialist training, mentoring and networking, delivered by 64 Million Artists, to help them develop their ideas and skills.

Boyanka Bobeva, Emilie Jones, Kelly Walsh, Kevin Conway, Kieran Joseph, Mel Gregory, Priya Gondalia and Theo Ioannou have since been busy working towards creating their own artistic community projects.

These included improving the Foleshill Community Centre garden to supply more vegetables for the members of its Social Supermarket and making a short film ‘Sanctuary of our City’ as an artistic platform for women who are refugees, asylum seekers or migrants in Coventry. Another saw a one-day festival staged to celebrate Bulgarian culture, food and traditions by and for people from Coventry.

Chenine Bhathena, creative director of Coventry City of Culture Trust, said everyone was delighted to be expanding the Community Connectors programme in partnerships with the National Lottery Community Fund.

“We know that the people of Coventry care deeply about their local communities, their heritage and cultural lives of the friends and families and that there are plenty more people who have ideas to help celebrate and support their neighbours and area of the city.”

She added it was a fantastic opportunity for people living in the designated areas to really be part of the City of Culture celebrations.

Chris Rolls, from 64 Million Artists, said: “Coventry is full of people passionate about creativity, culture and community.

“The Community Connectors programme aims to take individuals and groups with ideas and help them flourish. It is a privilege to work with them.”

Emilie Jones, the Community Connector for Finham and Styvechale, said: “Being a Community Connector has been a wonderful experience.

“I feel proud to have represented my area and the city that I love during this special year.

“I was fortunate to meet so many inspiring people during my project and am hugely grateful to everyone who contributed towards the final film.”

She added her self-confidence had increased significantly and she was now taking on a variety of larger-scale projects and events.

She has also worked together on other events with people she met through the Community Connectors scheme and urged anyone who had a project they wanted to develop to apply.

Visit coventry2021.co.uk/community-connectors for more on the scheme, including a video from the connectors themselves.

Community Connectors is part of the Love Coventry programme, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, and aims to take Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 to neighbourhoods and streets right across the city.

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