Coventry is ‘well placed to lift the spirits of the UK’, according to the advisory panel that awarded the city the title of UK City of Culture 2021.
Members of the UK City of Culture judging panel – including Chair Sir Phil Redmond – met online with members of the Coventry City of Trust and Chief Executive of Coventry City Council, Martin Reeves, to review their progress towards delivering the 2021 year, starting in May 2021.
The discussion took place almost three years to the day since it was announced that Coventry had landed the title and the panel was impressed with the progress being made despite the disruption that Covid-19 has caused.
Sir Phil said: “When I visited Coventry the day after we awarded the UK City of Culture 2021 title to Coventry, I urged them to raise the bar set by Hull.
“Having spent time with other panel members on a return visit and hearing the plans Coventry has for the coming year, I can be confident in saying that the bar appears to have been well and truly lifted. Because of the pandemic, the city is well placed to lift the spirits of the UK and stimulate a cultural-led recovery when the country needs it the most.”
The Trust is set to announce more of the programme for 2021 in January having given a taste of what is to come as part of their first programme launch in October this year.
Martin Sutherland, Chief Executive of the Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “The team has worked incredibly hard since Coventry won the title three years ago.
“During the pandemic we’ve continued with the considerable work that goes into pulling together the incredible programme we have promised to the city and to the country. Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 will not only provide a fantastic year celebration but also leave a cultural, social and economic legacy.
“It was a fantastic boost for us to meet with the members of the advisory panel, updating them on our progress and plans and to get such ringing endorsements.
“We are getting very close to our start date now, as momentum continues to build this is a really exciting time for the whole city!”
Cllr George Duggins, Leader of Coventry City Council, said: “There has been a tremendous amount of hard work on our year as UK City of Culture, right from the very start of the bidding process. The pandemic has obviously affected our preparation, but we are still on track to deliver the fantastic year our city and the UK deserves.
“The past year has been hard for everyone, but now with the vaccine and testing we are beginning to see a little light at the end of the tunnel and with our year starting in May it should be perfect timing for a year-long party that will lift spirits and celebrate all the many gifts our city has to offer.
“As well as the packed year of events, we have always said that 2021 will build a legacy for our city that will help local people and organisations and build a better quality of life. All of the improvements we have been working on and all of our plans are taking shape and Coventry is set for an exciting 2021 and a fantastic future.”