COVENTRY City Council says the city is set to receive £8.5million from Arts Council England to invest ahead of hosting UK City of Culture in 2021.
Projects to benefit will include refurbishing the Belgrade Theatre auditorium, Coventry Cathedral improvements and plans for St Mary’s Guildhall, Draper’s Hall and the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum.
The council says the £8.51million grant, originally announced in the government’s Autumn Budget last year, will also be used to boost Coventry’s arts and culture scene.
The government investment, managed by Arts Council England, brings total grant funding for the city centre and ‘creating a legacy ahead of 2021’ to £55million, under a so-called City Readiness Programme.
Council leader George Duggins said: “As I said when this funding was announced last year, this is truly fantastic news for our city.
“It will help to ensure that some of our most loved buildings benefit from a cash boost which will enable them to thrive for many years to come.
“By establishing creative centres, we will ensure that we provide opportunities to the fantastic up-and-coming talent we have within our city. And provide a legacy that will last long after our year in the spotlight.
“Our reign as the UK City of Culture has always been about more than those 12 months, it’s about investing in our future and creating a meaningful legacy for our communities.
“These are really exciting times for Coventry and I’m very excited about all that is planned.”
The government’s arts minister Rebecca Pow said: “We have seen the truly transformative effect that City of Culture had on Hull in 2017 and Coventry has already embraced this prestigious title. The city is demonstrating how the arts and heritage can bring people and communities together and this government funding will allow the city to invest in an exciting and inclusive programme for 2021.”
Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England, said: “This marks a significant milestone in the run up to Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture in 2021. It will be exciting to see this investment transform the city centre and many of its major venues and facilities. In the longer term it will also help bring Coventry’s communities together as they celebrate their city and will secure Coventry’s place on an international platform.”
Funding plans will go to the council’s cabinet on August 27 and then to a full council meeting on September 3 for approval.