Coventry City of Culture gets £3.5m for Covid-safe events

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Coventry Moves, by Nigel Jamieson, Justine Themen and six young creatives

image copyrightCoventry City of Culture Trust

Coventry City of Culture will receive millions of pounds from the government to produce a Covid-safe festival.

The £3.5m will be spent on “enhanced safety and hygiene methods” as well as supporting live-streaming of events for people to enjoy at home.

Last week, organisers announced its signature event – originally billed for 15 May – was put back three weeks.

The pandemic, which delayed the start of the festival, has demanded a “flexible” programme, organisers said.

Coventry skyline with Whittle Arch on Millennium square and the cathedral, seen from the glass bridge

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“Coventry has demonstrated a remarkable resilience and ability to adapt during these challenging and unprecedented times,” Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said, as the funding was announced.

“This additional funding will help the city as it begins its exciting year of celebrations for UK City of Culture and I look forward to seeing how the next 12 months will benefit the local area.”

The signature event, Coventry Moves, is now due to take place on 5 June. However, the cultural programme will still officially start on 15 May with a “celebratory moment enjoyed from home”.

Stage three of the government’s plans to lift lockdown restrictions in England, whereby groups of up to 30 people will be able to meet outdoors, will happen from 17 May at the earliest.

“It’s been an incredibly challenging 12 months for the sector,” said Coventry City of Culture Trust’s chief executive Martin Sutherland.

“This new funding enables us to support the organisations, artists, freelancers and communities who are so key to delivering a safe, secure and exciting year for the city.

“We are excited to share the extraordinary creativity from Coventry and explore new ways to use digital platforms and broadcast channels to reach new audiences both in person and at home.”

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