Spirit of 2012 supports Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 with £1 million grant


Spirit of 2012 – the London 2012 legacy fund – has awarded a major £1 million grant to Coventry City of Culture Trust to facilitate a programme of cultural activities that Working with community organisations across the city.

The grant will continue the work of the Caring City team within the Trust, which since Spring 2019 has embedded associate producers into four community organisations to develop and deliver community arts projects with more than 80,000 participants and audience members in 2021.

Those projects will aim to increase individual wellbeing; empower people to contribute creatively to their communities; reduce isolation; and cultivate civic pride and belonging.

The four organisations include Central England Law Centre, which provides free legal advice and representation to people who are socially excluded and often marginalised, including people who experience homelessness, and Positive Youth Foundation which works with young people from a range of backgrounds, including those who have experience of the criminal justice system and those who are not in education, employment or training.

They also include Grapevine, which works with over-65s, care home residents, people experiencing isolation and loneliness (especially those with learning difficulties and disability), and men with lived experience of mental ill health; and the Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre, which works with asylum seekers, refugees and migrants.

The award follows a 12-month pilot, funded by Spirit of 2012, where producers have been collaborating with community organisations and service users to develop arts and cultural programmes in the lead-up to Coventry City of Culture 2021.

Whilst the application was submitted before the pandemic, and is the result of more than a year’s working with the Coventry City of Culture Trust team, the proposals have since been shaped and adapted to the needs of the community in the current situation.

Ruth Hollis, Chief Executive of Spirit of 2012, said: “We are delighted to award this grant to Coventry City of Culture Trust, building on the successful Caring City pilot we funded in 2019. Our focus is on creating happier people and happier places, in this instance, in the fantastic city of Coventry in 2021. But this grant will work even harder for us. It will help us learn how to create lasting community connections and civic pride from events, building on our work with Hull.

“This is just one very timely example of how, with the right approach, large-scale events can have a long-lasting positive impact for communities. In awarding the grant, and confirming our on-going relationship with the City of Culture Trust team, the Spirit of 2012 Directors are confident this project will contribute to delivering a proud legacy for Coventry.”

Martin Sutherland, Chief Executive of Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “We are incredibly grateful for this support from Spirit of 2012 and proud to be continuing our partnership with them.

“This funding directly supports our work with four fantastic partners  and their communities across the City, enabling us to deliver our promise to leave a lasting and positive impact”.