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LOCATION - Grange Farm School

DATE – 5th March 2020

PRESENT – John Archer – Chairman, Ellen Booth – Producer (South West) Coventry City of Culture Trust, Mick Fitzpatrick – Treasurer, Sheila Weare – Minutes Secretary.
Plus 31 members of the Association.
WELCOME – John A welcomed members and introduced guest speaker Ellen Booth.
APOLOGIES – Councillor Mattie Heaven, Anant Patel, Councillor Tim Sawdon.
MINUTES – The minutes of the meeting on 6th February 2020 were accepted.
MATTERS ARISING – Wainbody Street Clean on Styvechale Grange – This is confirmed as Sunday, 15th March 2020 at 10.00 a.m, please meet at Hexworthy Avenue shops. Bags and litter pickers will be provided, please bring protective gloves and wear thick shoes. Large amounts of litter have been reported on the A45 and A46. Inconsiderate parking – if this is still a problem on our streets, note the registration numbers of offending vehicles and inform John A. It is hoped to obtain ‘polite notices’ to leave on the windscreens of offending vehicles.
ELLEN BOOTH – Ellen is one of four Area Producers for City of Culture Trust (a separate organisation from Coventry City Council). The four areas are divided into Wards. Ellen defined culture as any way an individual discerns what they think culture means to them and is passionate about whatever that may be. The structure of the Trust comprises a Producing Team, Collaborative Team, Caring Team and Dynamic Team, each with their own remit, but all with local communities at the heart of everything they do. They seek to deliver a programme of work in 2021 that involves citizens, celebrates cultures and creates civic pride. She gave a few examples of the communities the Trust is connecting with. Since April 2019, staff levels at the Trust have risen to 60. We are promised a year of events with an opening ceremony in which we can all participate. A programme of events will be available later in the year. A funding scheme has been set up with Heart of England to which community groups can apply. There is a ‘Great Places’ project to produce a book of trails for visitors and the Trust will also support the Heritage Open Days. The City of Culture Trust is to have a new brand and new website. They are working closely with BBC Coventry and Warwickshire and commercial radio. Ellen invited SGRA members to sign up to receive their online newsletter. John B referred to a recent negative article about Coventry in The Times. Ellen was asked if Coventry would be ready for City of Culture and she assured the meeting that it would be! Ellen had visited Hull and witnessed the huge impact City of Culture has had there and is sure Coventry will retain a lasting legacy. The disruption being caused by city centre building work will get worse before it gets better, but the projects will be pushed on by the Council. The Trust’s leadership programme has now closed and will support new leaders to take City of Culture into the future. Many SGRA members thought being awarded City of Culture 2021 was a great opportunity for us to be ambitious for our city. The regeneration of the Burges, the Sherbourne river project, Charterhouse and the return of the Coventry Cross were discussed. John B expressed concern that hotel accommodation for the anticipated number of visitors would be inadequate.
Ellen assured the meeting that our historical heritage would be well represented. The proposed closure of Ikea had not been anticipated. Information regarding City of Culture progress has perhaps not been readily apparent. The meeting thanked Ellen for her very informative talk.
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