A statement from Martin Sutherland, Chief Executive of Coventry City of Culture Trust:
“Since Coventry City of Culture Trust announced our coronavirus pledges, we have seen rapid change. We have continued to refocus our resources and activities to strengthen the local sector, support individuals who have been directly impacted by the pandemic, encourage new relationships to be formed between communities and continue to work with local businesses.
We remain determined to support partners working in the voluntary and charity sector which, according to the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, is facing £4bn of losses in the next quarter, as a direct result of the coronavirus outbreak. The work of these organisations during the COVID-19 crisis, is more vital than ever. To support these charities and social enterprises, including arts organisations, we have:
- Developed new artistic commissioning opportunities with Shoot Festival, the Belgrade Theatre and Sitting Rooms of Culture
- With our four host organisations, we have been flexible in the way we have been working with them, to provide the support that is most useful to them. This work is ongoing, and so far, we have:
- Produced and distributed 400 creative packs – art materials for vulnerable people that would regularly meet for creative activities so they can continue this learning and participate in creative challenges taking place online.
- Supported Grapevine to move planned activity to online spaces, including Dads Dads Dads Family Disco and New Vibes DJ sets.
- Moved elements of Positive Youth Foundation’s Changing Trax programme online to support young people across the city.
- Supported Central England Law Centre’s communications strategy to help them reach vulnerable people with relevant, accurate advice and guidance during these uncertain times.
- Led on a range of commissioning opportunities including a new music and visual art project supporting 30 artists based in CV-postcodes which will launch this week.
- Confirmed £100k of support to cultural organisations across the city to allow them to continue to operate and plan for 2021.
- Supported City of Culture team members to join the City Councils’ Operation Shield volunteer programme to provide assistance to communities across the city.
Our sector is built on the work of thousands of small organisations and freelancers, and protecting this ecology is crucial during this crisis. Complementing national funding programmes we have:
- Created a £60,000 Coventry 2021 Coronavirus Resilience Fund with the first £10k of grants being awarded this week. This funding will go directly to individuals and organisations based and working in the cultural sector in Coventry and Warwickshire who have been impacted by loss of earnings because of the pandemic.
- Committed £46,000 to support 92 local residents who applied for our Leadership Programme. This will give these future cultural leaders the opportunity to develop new ideas and projects during this unprecedented time.
- Honoured all existing employment and freelance contracts, and continued to bring in new freelance support as planned.
- Continued with our ongoing recruitment to build a skilled team to deliver a fantastic UK City of Culture in 2021.
- Through chairing the West Midlands Combined Authority’s Cultural Leadership Board, supported the collating of evidence and development of plans, to help government and funders make smart decisions that will support the cultural sector to recover.
We have also been determining how suitable our current project plans are. We have now postponed the launch of our apprenticeship programme until the beginning of June and will now launch our volunteering programme later in the year.
We have also taken the decision to cancel our test event this summer. While this is disappointing news, we have been able to redistribute resources allocated to this and to the Godiva Festival to additional local artistic commissioning opportunities, which we will announce in the coming weeks.
If you are a charity or community group in Coventry and want to offer support to people during these times please contact Coventry City Council’s Community Resilience Team at email@example.com. For all other enquiries about City of Culture contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Caption: Martin Sutherland, photo credit Ahsen Sayeed