The first formal document to kick-start Coventry’s bid to become UK City of Culture in 2021 has been signed and submitted.
The department for culture, media and sport called for any cities wishing to bid to write a submission of interest by 28 Feb.
And, at a ‘thanksgiving’ event from cllr Lindsley Harvard, lord mayor of Coventry; cllr George Duggins, leader of the council, and cllr Linda Bigham, cabinet member for community development, signed Coventry’s submission in front of a range of supporters and groups at St. Mary’s Guildhall.
The overall bid is being put together by Coventry City of Culture Trust but the submission was required to come from the City Council in the first instance.
Coventry City Council is, alongside The University of Warwick and Coventry University, a Principal Partner of the bid and is providing significant support.
But the majority of the funding has been generated through private individuals and businesses including The Ricoh Arena as Bid Sponsor and Jaguar Land Rover, Friargate, Coventry Building Society, the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Birmingham Airport, Pertemps and CEF (City Electrical Factors) as Bid Development Sponsors.
Further to that, over 60 companies have given financial support as 2021 Club members.
Many of those who have backed the bid were there on the night and heard from David Burbidge, chair of the Coventry City of Culture Trust, and Rashid Bhayat, director of the Positive Youth Foundation (PYF) with Nazareth Yacob, Tayyibah Mota and Louis Lewinson, young people who have worked with PYF.
Rashid said: “We want to win this for Coventry. You only have to listen to the young people in the city who are being inspired by what City of Culture already means to them and what it could mean if we managed to win.”
Nazareth (16) said: “I love meeting new people, and I’m grateful for the different types of people Coventry has allowed me to meet. Through the bid I hope that we can continue celebrating the mix of ethnicities and backgrounds that we have in the city”
David said: “The room was packed with people, the vast majority of whom have backed Coventry’s bid to be UK City of Culture financially – either privately or through their business.
“We recognise that there are constraints on the public purse and that is why we have set out from the start to get the business community right behind our bid – and we are thrilled with just how much support we are getting.
“The City Council have been fantastic too but it’s important that the people of Coventry know that this bid is by everyone and for everyone – including arts and cultural groups, individuals, community groups, business and the two great universities.
“Everyone is pulling together because they can see what this could do for Coventry both in 2021 and in the years beyond.”
Cllr Lindsley Harvard, lord mayor of Coventry said: “The whole city has united behind our bid to be UK City of Culture in 2021.
“The Coventry City of Culture Trust has done a great job and we are looking forward to seeing Coventry win.
“I’d urge everyone in Coventry who hasn't already done so to help get the message out there on social media too @Coventry2021.”