Before becoming City Hosts, Ian and Jayne were strangers. Not only have they met each other during the process, they’ve got involved with so many events and shifts, all whilst representing people with disabilities. Here, they tell us why they signed up to the City Host programme and what they’ve gained so far.
What inspired you to sign up to be City Hosts?
Ian: It’s a unique opportunity that won’t be repeated – an opportunity to integrate into communities, represent people with disabilities and ensure that Coventry UK City of Culture is all inclusive and equal. I’ve lived in the City since 1985 and have welcomed the change I have seen over the years. I have a very positive outlook and am always engaging with people in the city centre.
Jayne: I was born in Walsgrave hospital and I'm proud of this city and wanted to help show it off to the world. I do a lot of volunteering with Girl Guides, so thought why not try this too!
What have you gained from your experience as City Hosts so far?
Ian: The experience has been incredible. Lockdowns personally for me were mentally and physically demanding with little help even though I live in CV1, it’s like we were forgotten. Being a City Host uses my people skills to motivate and mentor people. It has been a great platform to get to know certain luminaries of the City like Lady Godiva and to have wonderful feedback that I inspire others. And of course, unexpectedly I met my best friend and soul mate.
Being a City Host has given us opportunities to represent disabled persons by being invited to join the Council’s Disability Equality Action Partnership to ensure engagement long after the dust settles. Finally, to say I was a City Host means so much to me.
What would you say to anyone thinking about becoming a City Host?