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Sent to Coventry?

26 July 2017
Jan Malatesta

‘Sent to Coventry’ is an expression I’ve often been quoted, when telling of my birthplace. The phrase originates from the 17th century (SAY WHAT?) It saw an increase in everyday use after the blitz of November 1940, when the city was desecrated or ‘coventrated’, a term coined by the Nazi’s.

Luckily for me, I didn’t witness the initial devastation the Second World War ravaged on the city.  However, I have been witness to a lot of changes, both good and bad. Just as others have written before me, I have seen the demise of the manufacturing industry, only to see it rise again lately. Yet I think that it is time we start to shake off this negative perception many still hold for the city, because there are lots of great things happening for us to shout loud and be proud about. Let me tell you, it ain’t a ghost town any longer…

Let’s start with the physical growth – the population was around 300,000 when I was born and now it’s over 350,000 and boasts one of the youngest populations in the country. And I say boast because that is what I believe in – a young population to steer Cov into the future!

Not only do we have 2 renowned  universities (although we sometimes have to point out to strangers that The University of Warwick is actually located within Cov), our network links and position in the Midlands has attracted new employers, offering opportunities of employment and apprenticeships to our people. We have become a student city, which I for one believe has made the city a safer and more enjoyable place to visit.  The diversity of the students has seen the local eateries expand with a wide range of cuisines to sample – not that this does my waistline any justice…

AND THERE’S MORE…

What sets Coventry apart from many other cities? Well, besides the beautiful new and old Cathedrals, the fantastic free festivals, the theatres, the local Warwickshire countryside, the food in Far Gosford Street and FarGo Village; Coventry welcomes people from all over the world.

Our city, one of Peace & Reconciliation, is a welcoming one.  Migrants have sought work and refuge, and have been supported warmly by local communities. We have been proactive in settling many Syrians from the current crisis, along with other nationalities that have needed to seek refuge.  I work at the Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre, and I am so proud when my clients tell me how inviting and friendly Coventry is, relaying many a story about how people go out of their way to help them.

2-Tone may have led the way, but it’s our locals who have on the whole followed…

Sent to Coventry? No I’m second generation and was made in Coventry! And like the phoenix, may its upward rise continue…

By Jan Malatesta, proud Coventrian

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