BUSINESS leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire have praised the decision to start Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture in May 2021 to ensure the ‘biggest impact socially, culturally and economically.’
The Coventry City of Culture Trust announced it will be running the year from May 2021 to May 2022 due to the Covid-19 crisis, allowing a fuller programme of public events.
It also announced the first details of a mass city-wide celebration of music, performance and dance which will form a key element of the city’s year-long party.
Steve Hughes, chief executive of Coventry Building Society, a major partner of Coventry UK City of Culture 2021, said: “This is both a huge investment in Coventry and a huge opportunity for our city. I fully support starting in May as it gives us the chance to come together and properly celebrate the ambition, innovation and diversity of this great city.”
Coventry University Vice-Chancellor Professor John Latham CBE said: “Coventry’s year as the UK City of Culture will provide a significant boost to the city’s economic and social recovery from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and will hopefully mark a turning point for the city, the region and the UK.
“The delayed start is a wise decision as it is vital that a full programme of events can be accessed by as many people as possible.”
Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Starting in May allows the team, the city and the region to make up for some of the lost time due to the Coronavirus crisis to ensure it has the biggest impact socially, culturally and economically.
“Culture, leisure, tourism and hospitality have been some of the hardest hit sectors within our economy so Coventry UK City of Culture 2021, immediately followed by the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham 2022, will be a much-needed boost for the region.”
Nick Abell, interim chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), said: “With everything that has happened over the last few months during Covid-19, it will provide the area with a springboard to improve our economy and showcase the incredibly talented people we have working hard to produce projects.”
Craig Wilcockson, group people and strategy director at Orbit, said: “I am delighted that despite this time of uncertainty, Coventry UK City of Culture 2021’s impressive programme of events will be going ahead from May next year. Coventry is renowned for rebuilding itself and we look forward to seeing the city come back to life.”
Fleur Sexton DL, MD at PET-Xi Training said: “This is a vital part of our reset and recovery as a community and we are committed to it heart and soul.”
Jat Purewal from Whiteley Brooks Engineering said: “Moving the start date is a sensible measure to take so that business, visitors, residents and contributors can all make the most of the opportunities that being UK City of Culture brings.”
Nicola Cormell, Centre Manager for the Lower Precinct Shopping Centre said: “This will be an exciting time to look forward to for the people and businesses of Coventry and the region.”
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