Coventry won’t have seen ‘anything like this before’ when it stages UK City of Culture in 2021, a meeting has heard.
The Coventry City of Culture Trust staged the first of three public meetings at the Canley Community Centre where more than 40 local residents went along to find about more about plans for the historic year and the build up to it.
After enjoying a performance by Ascension Dance, they heard from Laura McMillan, Coventry City of Culture Trust’s Director of Operations and Legacy, and Emma Harrabin, the Trust’s Programme Coordinator.
Laura showed a video of Hull’s success as UK City of Culture in 2017 which helped to whet the appetite for Coventry’s year in the spotlight.
She said: “Hull did an amazing job but now it’s Coventry’s and it’s up to all of us to create our own year and make it truly amazing for our city.
“Youth played a massive part in our bidding process but being UK City of Culture will not exclude anyone – it’s about breaking down the barriers between people of all ages.
“The diversity of our population and, also, the barriers to attending and taking part in cultural events and activities were also major elements of what we said would form part of our year.
“It’s not just what happens in 2021 – it’s what happens in the build-up and beyond. It’s fair to say Coventry will not have seen anything like this before.
“We are in the middle of laying the foundations to deliver UK City of Culture so that means a big recruitment programme for a range of positions and meetings with key, national partners to look at the part they will play.
“So we are coming out to people now to say that we understand the heightened levels of excitement and pride in Coventry after this win but to just bear with us for a few more months while we get this phase right.
“We’d urge people to sign up to our newsletter and to follow us on social media to make sure they stay up to date with everything we are doing.”
The first meeting will be followed by an event at Stoke Heath Community Centre, in Burroughs Close, on Thursday, April 12 between 6pm and 7.30pm with the final meeting taking place at Central Hall, in the city centre, on Wednesday, April 18 between 6pm and 7.30pm.
Before taking questions from the audience, Emma said that the team were determined to build on the new found pride in Coventry.
She said: “I was starting to get sick of my old school friends who’d move away asking me why I was ‘still in Cov’.
“On the back of the result in December, the city has started to believe in itself. It’s not just a case of delivering a great year in 2021 and nothing changes, we wanted Coventry to be changed forever.”
There are still a few places available for the meetings at Stoke Heath Community Centre on April 12 and Central Hall on April 18. For more information or to book a place, visit www.coventry2021.co.uk/publicmeeting or if you don’t have access to a computer, you can book your place by calling the 2021 HQ office on 02476 998 221.
Pictured: Laura McMillan and Emma Harrabin (centre) with members of Ascension Dance