How Coventry 2021 continues to support the city during the coronavirus crisis

The Coventry City of Culture Trust has pledged support for organisations and individuals to get through the hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Coventry City of Culture Trust has said this week it is “determined to support [its] partners working in the voluntary and charity sector” through the financially hardships caused by the coronavirus crisis.

The trust announced the Coventry 2021 Coronavirus Resilience Fund a few weeks ago, intended to support parts of the arts and cultural sector who are facing urgent pressures caused by loss of work related to the coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement, the trust’s chief executive, Martin Sutherland, explained that since the announced, they 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”, Mr Sutherland said in a statement.

The trust highlighted that, according to the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, the voluntary and charity sector is facing £4 billion of losses in the next quarter, as a direct result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Mr Sutherland insisted that “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, the Coventry City of Culture Trust has taken a number of steps and confirmed £100,000 of support.

From developing new artistic commissioning opportunities with Shoot Festival, the Belgrade Theatre and Sitting Rooms of Culture, to working with their four host organisations to provide tailored support, especially relating to helping organisations plan and develop new online spaces.

The trust is also leading 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.

Plus committed £46,000 to support 92 local residents who applied for their Leadership Programme, giving them the opportunity to develop new ideas and projects during this unprecedented time.

With much talk of legacy and what impact City of Culture will have on the city after 2021, with is an opportune example of the benefit to local organisations and people.

To see the trust, with the purpose of developing activities and events for a year-long celebration, using its platform to support local organisations and people during such challenging times is a testament to benefits still to come, adaptability of the project and aptitude of the people behind it.

While the suitability of the trust’s current project plans will require some reconsideration in light of the unexpected, with the postponement of its apprenticeship and volunteering programme, this should not put a damper on what will be a great year ahead.

If you are a charity or community group in Coventry and want to offer support to people during these times, reach out to Coventry City Council’s Community Resilience Team at community.resilience@coventry.gov.uk.