COVENTRY has made the UK City of Culture 2021 shortlist and is now in a five-way race to win the title.
The 11 bidding cities have been whittled down by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – and Coventry is joined by Paisley, Sunderland, Stoke and Swansea on the candidate city shortlist.
Coventry City of Culture Trust, the organisation behind the city’s bid to be UK City of Culture in 2021, must now put together a final bid document to present to a panel of judges later this year.
With 40 million people within two hours of Coventry, the city – which was once the capital of England – has made significant contributions to the world.
From theatre to music, film and sport – organisers are showcasing all elements of the city’s potential.
Laura McMillan, manager of Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “We are delighted to be on the five-city shortlist, and that has made us even hungrier for the title in 2021.
“We know what a great year Coventry could put on, what a great impact it would make on all of our communities and the huge social, cultural and economic benefits it would bring.
“It’s estimated that tourism alone would be boosted by £80 million, but there is much more to winning than the economy.
“We want to see a step-change in culture, health and community cohesion across Coventry.
“The time is right for Coventry.
“We have the people in place, we have very strong local and regional support, and now it is up to us to create a compelling final bid and to show that we have the whole of the region behind us.”
The bid has already been supported by more than 80 businesses, and the majority of funding has come from the private sector after initial support from Coventry City Council and the two universities.
David Burbidge, Chairman of the Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “A huge amount of hard work has already gone into the bid from a whole range of people and organisations across the city and region.
“But we are not done yet.
“We have seen the impact on Hull and other northern cities such as Glasgow and Liverpool when they were European Capital of Culture, and we believe that this is a massive opportunity for Coventry.”
Council leader George Duggins added: “This is great news for Coventry, and testament to the quality of our bid in highlighting the many strengths our city has to offer.
“The bid also highlighted our spirit, determination and commitment to partnership working and I have been hugely impressed by the way business, the public sector, volunteers and voluntary groups have come together during the process so far.”
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.
Visit @Coventry2021 on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to show your support to Coventry’s bid.