L/R: Learning Labs facilitator Adam Dent (Advent Communications), Louise Bennett, David Burbidge
The UK’s City of Culture 2021 is forecasted to create at least 2,000 extra jobs in Coventry, according to the Coventry City of Culture Trust.
David Burbidge CBE DL, the chairman of the Coventry City of Culture Trust, was speaking at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s #CWRocks trade expo at the Ricoh Arena where he told the audience how business had played a key role in securing the title.
He said the Trust would expand its own team to 45 and that the city could expect to see employment rise significantly before, during and after the event.
David said: “The support we had from the business community in this region was a very significant part of our bid and I believe it helped to set us apart from other cities.
“I must thank Louise Bennett and the team at the Chamber for their backing which came very early in the campaign.
“It was a big contribution in its own right but it also acted as a catalyst for other businesses – especially SMEs – to come on board.
“Being UK City of Culture will lead to a huge amount of investment in the city – the title is a trigger for investment and we’ve already seen positive news on that front.
“It is also a trigger for new jobs and the forecast, based on what happened in Hull and other many other factors, is 2,000.
“I think that’s rather conservative and believe it could be many more.
“There is no question that it changed Hull profoundly and, as a city, it set the benchmark very high.
“We want it to have an even bigger impact in Coventry and want to raise the bar even higher.”
Coventry was crowned the UK's City of Culture for 2021 live on the BBC back in December, beating off stiff competition from Paisley, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland and Swansea.
The decision was made after an independent panel of culture experts, chaired by television producer and screenwriter Phil Redmond, visited each of the five candidate cities before recommending Coventry as the winner.
The city’s bid impressed the judges with its focus on youth, diversity and the scale of impact not only in Coventry but across the UK as a whole.
Coventry will take the title from Hull 2017, which has used the City of Culture to transform its reputation as a destination for arts and culture both at home and abroad.
Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, added: “Just a few months on from that emotional night at the Belgrade Theatre when we found out Coventry had won UK City of Culture, we are already beginning to see a change in the way the city – and the wider region – is talked about.
“The business community played a major part in the bidding process and will be a key partner in the build-up and delivery of the year itself.”