Spirit of 2012 has awarded a grant of £75,000 to Coventry City of Culture Trust to build on the successful work as part of the UK City of Culture – including the Caring City programme – and fund a series of creative commissions.

The grant will continue to engage people in the city who, because of their circumstances, are often excluded from being able to lead or be part of cultural activity.

Funded by Spirit of 2012, Caring City ran throughout the year, reaching hundreds of people with lived experience of poverty, homelessness, loneliness, chronic pain or poor mental health, and refugees and migrants. The people who benefited from Caring Cities faced the biggest challenges to participating in the City of Culture, but, with the programme’s focus on co-creation, gained the most from it.

Now that City of Culture has ended, this grant provide a safeguard, enabling three organisations to continue to deliver activities for previous participants, and engage new participants.

The three organisations are Central England Law Centre, Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre, and Grapevine. All three organisations were host partners, working closely with City of Culture Trust since 2019. This continued funding will help these organisations to build on and embed co-created work with communities in their core activity during the legacy period and beyond.

Commissions with these partners are currently being developed in response to the cost-of-living crisis, particularly over this winter when households are faced with soaring energy bills and added financial strain.

Working in partnership with key cultural and historic venues in and around the city, the first commission will be ‘Cosy Creative Sessions’, providing creative activities for targeted groups, individuals and families alike.

Harnessing learnings from the City of Culture activity to date, the sessions aim to engage over 1,000 people in a high-quality, responsive, and sustained programme of creative activity ranging from upcycling and sewing to visual art and craft. Sessions will provide an accessible space of rest and warmth which is welcoming to all; while offering those most in need access to clothes, food and support, as well support with information about legal rights from services such as Central England Law Centre.

Martin Sutherland, Chief Executive of Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: #

“We are grateful to secure another grant from Spirit of 2012 and be able to support the continued work of three exceptional partners. Together we achieved so much through the City of Culture, and I am delighted that these partnerships can continue into this next phase”.

Ruth Hollis, CEO, Spirit of 2012 said:

“Coventry City of Culture Trust delivered some incredible projects, from the Reform the Norm to the Story of Us, Little Amal to Cardboard Citizens and the Ruff Tuff Community Choir. Participation in activities such as those we saw in Coventry, has a positive impact on people, communities, and places, and we’re delighted to award this grant to the Trust to not only continue this work but to find ways of making these inclusive cultural projects sustainable for many years to come.”

Further information

Coventry City of Culture project page