Warwick Conferences is celebrating a significant win for its home city of Coventry after the city was named ‘UK City of Culture 2021’. Warwick Conferences is the conference, meetings and events venue based at the University of Warwick, a principal partner of Coventry’s bid.
Martin Reeves, Chief Executive of Coventry City Council, said: “Coventry’s UK City of Culture bid is built on robust evidence and shows the scale of the step change that winning the title would bring to such a diverse city.” The win is set to welcome £80 million investment into the region.
The University supported the bid, leading on research and programming, with further significant resources contributed to supporting the marketing, communications, fundraising and education aspects of the submission. This achievement will create opportunities for Warwick Conferences to contribute to the 2021 activity, such as hosting cultural conferences as well as supporting destination and tourism aims.
Richard Harrison, Director of Warwick Conferences, said: “We’re thrilled with this result. Warwick Conferences already plays a significant role in attracting the corporate pound to the city; last year we hosted 17,500 events and saw 178,000 delegates pass through our conference centres and conference park. We feel we’ll have so much more to contribute to the city’s positioning in the UK moving forward and this win will also champion our commitment to the visitor experience and tourism in the city. We’re known for our creative and innovative approach but not many people know that we’re also a charitable organisation and CSR sits at the heart of what we do in so many ways. This includes our commitment to being a good employer, our close work with the soil association and sustainability programmes, as well as the reinvestment of our profits into our local community outreach programmes, campus development and academic research – fitting closely with core themes of the bid itself.”
The 2021 Coventry bid also had a primary focus on the city’s people: “At Warwick Conferences, we take conscientious employment seriously – we directly employ staff from local areas and we pay them the living wage,” says Harrison. “We also work closely with local apprenticeship providers, schools and students at the University itself to support inspiration programmes, pathways to employment and providing personal developmental opportunities. It is our objective to generate further skills, expertise and experience to support the development of the people of Coventry.”
The University of Warwick is one of Coventry’s largest employers. Professor Stuart Croft, Vice Chancellor, said: “We champion social, cultural and economic development in Coventry and we are proud to be a partner for growth. Welcoming over 150,000 delegates to the region during last summer, it is apparent how indispensable the facilities of Warwick Conferences will be in attracting visitors, particularly in the run up to 2021 and beyond. City of Culture is an astounding opportunity. The business tourism this will create will be reflected in our further development of innovative, unique and modern meeting and event spaces on the Warwick campus. We are truly excited to show what value companies will get from bringing business to Coventry.”