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Monthly meeting on Monday, January 15 at 7pm Foleshill Past and Present site visit to Broad Street Community Hall And presentation by David Fry on The Foleshill We Have Lost Broad Street Windows, Broad Street, Foleshill Free for members, £2 for visitors


Without doubt winning the battle for City of Culture 2021 is a great achievement that we all applaud. However, as we go straight into a build-up period with events and further engagement, we in the Civic Amenity Society need to be better involved with the series of events that will feature plans for the years leading up to 2021. We need to see that the right balance is struck across the spectrum of art, music, sport, heritage, community involvement and all that it means to Coventrians. We won the bid through our successful record of diversity and work achieved by our Positive Youth Foundation (see overleaf). Our task now must be to widen the scope of the culture conversation. There are many aspects but here I will mention just a few. On the heritage front we see impressive strides taken by the Historic Coventry Trust and indeed the new St Mary’s Guildhall management of the Priory Visitor Centre. We now need to look at other assets. Perhaps our best historic asset in the city centre – the St Mary’s Guildhall. Regularly closed during the summer season and closed throughout the winter, we need to see that situation rectified with the provision of proper modern interpretative information and features for visitors and locals alike. This is fundamental to the heritage offer in the centre of our city. While we have a fine music museum, our hugely important watch museum has been largely ignored. It deserves a better profile, indeed a better entrance away from the pub yard! Another historic manufacturer, Coventry’s aircraft industry, remains on the periphery of the city and is largely forgotten about. Yet volunteers at the Midland Air Museum have created and maintained a first class operation that deserves better support. There’s a huge story here of highly skilled precision engineering. Not least the significant work of one pioneer—Sir Frank Whittle (pictured left). Then there is our ground-breaking pedestrianised Precinct. Sadly it has often been left to the whims and fancies of developers from outside the city. It’s a fine heritage asset and needs to be restored much as it was designed by Donald Gibson in the ‘Festival of Britain’ style. It needs to be recognised properly as such.

AN INVITATION On November 28 a score of CovSoc activists came together to discuss the future of the Society. The event was facilitated by Ian Harvey, the Executive

January 2018

While the Godiva Festival is now very much a free popular music event, in its original form it focussed on the history and heritage of our city through its ‘Lives and Times’ project. Perhaps there needs to be a separate event that celebrates our heritage, not only through the efforts of community groups but through the sort of pageantry we saw generations ago I see that Hull has a City Hall, the venue for numerous and varied events ranging from Godiva’s achievement the Classics Orchestral Concert series to pop concerts, comedy, conferences, exhibitions and degree ceremonies. And Coventry? A civic hall has been high on the list of facilities requested by residents for many years. Might we hope to see the Dry Sports Centre fondly known as ‘The Elephant’ converted into a concert venue? A central point that’s identified as a place for collector’s fairs, specialist exhibitions and of course concerts. Notwithstanding this, there does appear to be positive movement to restore and re-use Drapers’ Hall as A new concert venue? a classical music centre. The Society wishes the new trust well and looks forward to this vision become a reality. On the performance front I’m pleased to read about the March Shop Front Festival which will see theatre, music and dance pop up all over Coventry City Centre. But major productions by the Royal Shakespeare Company on screen in iconic locations quite frankly baffles me. We have our own authors and poets to celebrate. Have we forgotten George Eliot, Angela Brazil and Philip Larkin? We need to look back and learn from our past to achieve a more rewarding and brighter future. What better interest for the young people of our city than learning about our wonderful heritage through drama, poetry, story-writing, even re-enactment? Please turn over to read about the published programme. Keith Draper

Director of Civic Voice. We are now planning a follow-up meeting, which will take place on Wednesday January 24 at 6.30 p.m. at the Telegraph Building in Corporation Street. Would you like to get involved in planning the future of the

Coventry Society? Do you have a little time available to help? If so, then please come along to this follow up meeting. To ensure that you are included on the mailing list for this event, please email

More news and views on our website:

Work has started to prepare to put o hat is des ri ed as the greatest sho that Co e tr has e er see o er the e t o ths! Co e tr ’s progra e ill i lude a Street of Culture progra e o-produ i g ork i lo al o u ities. The first uild-up e e t ill e the UK’s first Shop Fro t Theatre Festi al, Mar h - a d the it ill ele rate the th a i ersar of its Cathedral ith a ajor e lighti g o issio . A . ile Ri g Road poe is set to o e of the digital e trepie es of alo g ith ajor produ tio s the RSC a d the s ree i g of the e tire orks of Shakespeare i i o i lo atio s. A artist-led festi al alled Mo e ts of Sile ce ill reate o e ts of sile e a d eaut a d refle t o the it ’s 7 - ear-old Carthusia o aster Charterhouse a d pla o the th of ei g Se t to Co e try. Buildi g o the su ess of 9 - ear-Old I dia Photographer Masterji’s e hi itio , the it ill de elop a proje t Tale of T o Streets that looks at t o of the ost di erse streets i Britai through the e es of photographers.

The Positive Youth Foundation first became involved with the RSC when they were putting together their new exhibition The Plays The Thing in the Swan Theatre, exploring the heritage of 100 years of theatre making. Five young people from Coventry were invited to engage in a programme that looked at the collections of props and costumes that belong to the RSC archives. The young people then took part in the national Kids In Museums – Teen Takeover Day, becoming the curators of the exhibition. The progra e, ei g fo ussed arou d heritage a d ot dra a perfor a es, ea t that the ou g people ere reall pushed out of their o fort zo es a d e ouraged to lear e thi gs, del i g i to ti es go e . The sessio s e a led the to eet staff that ork ithi the o pa , re og isi g all of the differe t roles eeded to ork ithi a theatre. No i to its se o d Postal address: le of reIMAGINE, this 77 Craven Street, Coventry ti e ith a e group CV5 8DT of ou g people, the Chairman’s tel: 024 7640 2030 fo us is arou d sou d. Email: E plori g the i pa t If Twitter is your thing, you can usi a d Sou d FX follow us at!/CovSoc ha e o perfor a es We also have our own page on a d tr i g their ha ds at Facebook. reati g their o You can also follow us there at effe ts, read to pla i the S a Theatre. CoventrySociety


At the heart of the bidding process for the City of Culture 2021 was the Positive Youth Foundation. Founded by Rashid Bhayat six years ago, it’s a not-for-profit network providing critical support for young people. With an address in Hillfields it runs everything from youth centres through to targeted interventions. Quoting from its website Rashid Bhayat, its CEO said: “It is absolutely vital that high-quality youth work is delivered across the city and the Coventry Youth Partnership provides that. Coventry City Council is unable to run the service due to cuts in national funding. “Even though it is a non-statutory service, Coventry City Council recognised its importance and has been instrumental in the creation of the Partnership, which is an exciting new way of delivering this crucial work. “I was born and bred in the city and left education early. But people believed in me and gave me a chance. I started my first organisation when I was 17 and then moved in to a national role within a few years. This learning will ensure robust support mechanisms for a range of agencies.

Rashid Bha at seated to the right of Da id Bur idge, Chair a of the Cit of Culture Trust, ith ou g people fro Positi e Youth Fou datio “In 2011, I set up Positive Youth Foundation as an independent charity and over the past six years, we have shown that the way we work with young people in Coventry works. “Right now, we work intensively with around 2,500 young people and, through the new partnership, it will rise to 5,000. Each and every young person in the city deserves a chance in life and a safe place to go – this partnership of 20 agencies will help to provide that. Together, we will work to ensure that no young person is left behind” The partners include organisations delivering specialist services, creative programmes, sport and mentoring services. “This is recognition of the importance of youth work and the positive benefits it has on individuals and on the city as a whole. “Young people need mentors and role models. They need safe places to go and adults they can talk to regardless of their circumstances. Our partners are committed to making this work. “Coventry Youth Partnership offers an exciting opportunity for the city to get this right and to develop a generation of people who are proud of their city and benefit from the range of support it has given them. It provides a platform to celebrate young people, and for anyone interested in supporting our future generations to get involved through collaborative working.”

Coventry Society Newsletter - January 2018  
Coventry Society Newsletter - January 2018  

The January 2018 edition of the Coventry Society newsletter. The Coventry Society is the civic amenity society for the city of Coventry, UK.