The Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport has awarded Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 a £3.5 million grant to help the organising team to strengthen safety measures and create COVID-safe events.

As COVID-19 restrictions lift, the money will also go towards enhanced safety and hygiene, allowing in-person celebrations to go ahead and providing reassurance to audiences. The funding boost will also support a wide range of work, including the use of livestreaming.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “Coventry has demonstrated a remarkable resilience and ability to adapt during these challenging and unprecedented times. Now more than ever, it is vitally important that we bring our communities together through culture, arts and heritage.

“This additional funding will help the city as it begins its exciting year of celebrations for UK City of Culture and I look forward to seeing how the next 12 months will benefit the local area as we build back better from the impact of COVID.”

Martin Sutherland, chief executive of Coventry City of Culture Trust, said:  “This funding will help us to deliver our promises to Coventry and to the visitors we hope to welcome soon, starting with a Summer of Surprises. We are excited to share the extraordinary creativity from Coventry and explore new ways to use digital platforms and broadcast channels to reach new audiences both in person and at home.

“It’s been an incredibly challenging 12 months for the sector; this new funding enables us to support the organisations, artists, freelancers and communities who are so key to delivering  a safe, secure and exciting year for the city.”

The additional £3.5 million grant brings the total Government support for Coventry’s tenure as UK City of Culture to more than £18.5 million.

In addition, Arts Council England has allocated £4.9 million to support Coventry’s success as City of Culture and more than £8.8 million of the Government’s unprecedented £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund has been awarded to 28 organisations in Coventry to help them through the covid-19 pandemic.

UK City of Culture is a competition run by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport every four years. The competition celebrates culture in all its forms across the UK and helps to stimulate economic growth, create jobs in the community and attract inward investment, leading to a lasting legacy of social, cultural and economic change.