Coventry's culture bid flies past business target

Jason Aldridge (front, centre) with Michael Mogan (front, right) with members of the Coventry and Warwickshire Aerospace Forum.

Coventry's culture bid flies past business target

A cluster of aerospace companies have helped Coventry’s City of Culture bid to fly past one of its funding targets.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Aerospace Forum (CWAF) – a collective of 13 businesses from across the area with a combined annual turnover of more than £65 million – has joined Coventry City of Culture Trust’s 2021 Club.

The decision by CWAF means the 2021 Club has now reached 100 members – meaning the businesses backing the bid has taken off in a bigger way than the City of Culture team first hoped.

The Coventry City of Culture Trust had initially targeted 50 members of the club, which was designed to allow small and medium-sized companies to show financial support for Coventry’s efforts to land the title in 2021.

But, after reaching 50, the Trust – which submitted Coventry’s final bid document to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) in September – decided they would aim for 100 ahead of the final decision being announced in Hull this December.

Jason Aldridge, CWAF chairman and managing director of Arrowsmith Engineering, said: “As a group, we are absolutely delighted to be backing Coventry’s bid to be UK City of Culture. We believe it would have an incredible impact on the city, the wider area and all of the businesses based here.

“The fact that we have helped the Coventry City of Culture Trust reach 100 members of the 2021 Club makes it even more special for us as a group and we are proud to be contributing in this way.

“It’s fitting, in my view, that a group associated with manufacturing is the 100th member because of the city’s rich heritage in this sector.”

“The aerospace sector plays a very big part in the overall economic success of Coventry and Warwickshire and the members of CWAF do everything they can to promote the industry.

“And it’s in all of our interests, as we aim to grow individually and collectively, that Coventry takes this opportunity to put itself firmly on the map as a place of culture and interest.

“It will help to attract people to the region as visitors but, also, for companies such as ours, it will help to attract skilled staff who want to work in our sector right here in this area.

“We are all right behind Coventry ahead of the final decision in December.”

Michael Mogan, fundraising director of the Coventry City of Culture Trust, met members of CWAF at the Midland Air Museum close to Coventry Airport to thank them for their backing, as well as other recent 2021 Club members – The Jade Studio, Study Inn, Harrabin Construction and Fraikin Ltd.

He said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have CWAF on board and it is wonderful news that we have passed the 100-mark for the 2021 Club.

“Coventry and Warwickshire is a centre for invention and reinvention and that is underlined by the amazing work that the members of CWAF undertake each and every day.

“The level of business support we have received for the bid underlines the backing that Coventry has to be UK City of Culture in 2021.”

CWAF is supported by Coventry City Council’s Business Support Team through the European Regional Development Fund Business Support Programme.