We are backing the bid for Coventry as City of Culture 2021

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Coventry is bidding to be the UK City of Culture in 2021 – and here at PET-Xi we are behind this all the way.  This month we have upped our financial support and are now pledging £50k to help our fabulous city take centre stage and show the world all that it has to offer.

As part of the support we’re providing, we’re setting out on a massive programme of school visits to spread the good news about Coventry to its next generation – our school children.

That’s right, we’re going to be telling our young people how lucky they are to call Coventry their home! It’s a place with such potential and by explaining the many opportunities on offer, we know we can persuade our young people to stay and build their lives here, helping to halt the ‘brain drain’.

The second aim of our schools tour is to engender a real sense of pride in our home town. We know from our vast experience in working with young people that when they feel engaged, connected and truly a part of their city, they are less likely to get into trouble.  If they are proud of their city, and feel they really have a purpose and place, then good things follow. In particular we will speak to the 16- and 17-year-olds who will be 21 in ’21.

Raising the aspirations of school children and young people, ensuring every child in the city has the chance to play a part is vital to the bid.  While

everyone in Coventry will benefit if we win, the impact on those who have had a difficult start in life could be huge – not least by ensuring they have more opportunities and better job prospects.

A win will transform our city forever. The young people who are in our schools right now will grow up in a city with more job prospects, a thriving programme of events to enjoy, more places to eat, shop and visit with a bustling city centre. It’s a lot more than a year of cultural celebration – it’s about changing the reputation of a city

As an existing Coventry and Warwickshire Champion I’ve long been involved in promoting our home town and surrounding area. As a development of this work, I’ve now initiated a ‘Young Champions’ sector, where each ‘champion’ brings a young person to meetings with them in order to help that young person begin to create their own rich network and gain confidence and role models.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

It’s vital work that could bring amazing benefits to our city. Hull, the current city of culture, is forecast to make £1bn from the experience. With Coventry being far better placed in the centre of the country and at the heart of the transport network, the independent charity running the bid (The Coventry City of Culture Trust) is now confident that the impact will be even greater here. So much so that it has revised its initial estimate of £80m of economic benefit to the city upwards to well above £1bn.

We are absolutely delighted to be playing our part in supporting the city as it embarks on this exciting journey.

Fleur Sexton

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