Business Boost | 22 March 2018 - by Ian Midgley

Business urged to keep culture momentum going

Hull has made great strides but much more work still needs to be done to capitalise on its City of Culture success, according to one 2017 boss.

Speaking at KCOM’s Business Boost event Phil Batty, 2017’s director of public engagement and legacy, said Hull was in danger of suffering “a hangover” from the City of Culture celebrations, but needed to push on now more than ever to maintain its momentum.

He said he felt Hull was now experiencing the same moment of doubt it suffered before 2017 began, when the £25m public realm regeneration work was underway and little public progress was being made towards staging City of Culture events.

He said: “There is a little bit of a hangover. We are in that same slump where we were before 2017 when all orange barriers were up, it seemed ages since we’d won the title and people were asking ‘what was that all about?’

“But we will get through it. There a sense now that we need to maintain momentum – but that we need to find a new ‘normal’. We need to find a world where we can sleep but also engage with arts and culture.

“We have made real progress though. That new normal is a world away from where we started in 2013.”

Among the highlights revealed by the recent Cultural Transformations report, which has provided early insights into the impact of 2017, are that 5.3m people visited Hull during City of Culture year and the value of tourism to the city topped the £300m mark for the first time.

The City of Culture factor also fed through to Hull’s culture and visitor economy, which has seen a growth of 800 more jobs since 2013. One in four businesses also reported taking on more staff in 2017 with more than half of businesses believing City of Culture had contributed to increased turnover.

Phil said the City of Culture Company had worked effectively with major Hull companies such as KCOM to raise funds and also valuable employee engagement throughout 2017, but now urged businesses to keep investing in culture and in the legacy of 2017, arguing that it helps create a happier, healthier and more prosperous city.

He also urged business leaders and entrepreneurs to visit www.hull.ac.uk/cppi to read the Cultural Transformations report and use to it build business cases for continued investment in arts and culture.

Alan Worthing, KCOM’s director of business, said: “We’re delighted to have welcomed Phil to our Business Boost event today and to hear his insights into what was a truly amazing year for Hull.

“The initial impact results show that culture has already had a profound effect in helping to transform Hull into a better place to live, work and do business and - as a company that has been at the heart of Hull since 1904 - we hope to play an important part in ensuring the City of Culture legacy continues its important work for many more years to come.”

KCOM free Business Boost events are held every three months at the KCOM Stadium. For more details on business events happening in Hull and East Yorkshire, plus business advice and news visit heybusiness.kcom.com/insight/business-boost