(Update: May 1st 2020)
We are pleased to update on the progress made on helping to support all event partners/performers & artists since postponing L20.
We have now achieved a positive outcome with 88% of our event partners who were unfortunately affected by the impact of the postponement of Leeds International Festival a few weeks ago and we have covered the costs they had already incurred whilst preparing to deliver their events for us. We continue to work openly and proactively to achieve the same position with a few remaining event partners, but that work is progressing positively as we seek to deliver our pledge to honour all relevant payments.
As a point of clarity the festival did not receive any funding from the Arts Council England.
We are committed to bringing the festival back for the city, though it is currently still postponed due to COVID-19. We will continue to review the national picture around lockdown, official guidelines and advice and look ahead into the year as to when or if it might be possible for the festival to return.
We know how challenging the current situation is and how hard the impact is for us all in such unprecedented times. All our core levy-paying organisations are seeing an enormous disruption to their operations, as is the wider group of sectors across the city, all of whom we work with and support. We have aimed, from the outset of this significant challenge facing us all, to provide positive, helpful advice and guidance to dealing with the situation for anyone needing help and support. We are dedicated to acting in an open, transparent and proactive way at all times and continuing to play our part for the city, in line with our brand values which we are proud of. We aim to do this across everything we do and to help those most in need in this difficult environment. This has been the LeedsBID ethos since we began and has been at the heart of all we have done over the last 5 years.
We have been committed to bringing new opportunities to the arts sector in the city throughout the wide range of projects we have created, help create and/ or delivered. We have had a particular emphasis on connecting sectors who would never previously have been given the opportunity. The art sector working with the business sector is one of the ways we have developed, through extensive and successful collaborations. We have been able to bring completely new works, as added value to the city with significant outcomes. Inspirational animation projects such as the Leeds Letters in the station, A City Less Grey (including Athena Rising on Platform); helping to bring a new spotlight on talented, young and developing artists (many of whom have come out of our local Universities) and engaging them to wider and new audiences; the landmark Leeds International Festival, supported by so many in the city, identified and shaped to bring a new and enhanced profile to the vibrant range of incredible innovators, thinkers and influencers in Leeds and share them with the world. All of these projects have had artists and the art scene in the mix, forever seeking to bring exciting new platforms and opportunities as part of the LeedsBID portfolio. LeedsBID is committed to this sector and all sectors in the city.
Our work over the lockdown period has focused on continuing a range of proactive, helpful and supportive information for businesses and organisations in the city. We are issuing a weekly newsletter, featuring advice and guidance on the latest Government Job Retention scheme, Health & Safety, security, community and voluntary projects, who are all working hard to support and keep the city functioning and building for the future when we move through the current crisis.
Working closely with all those still open in the city centre, such as supermarkets, restaurants offering takeaway to key workers and residents, and including some hotels offering exclusive rates to city centre key workers to help minimise their travel in this difficult circumstances, we continue to bring profile and stories called ‘People helping People’ via our newsletter and social media, to both connect all this wonderful work and bring hope and positivity to as many people as we can. Our City Exchange office remains open as the base for the Street Support team who continue to do an excellent job helping vulnerable people in the city centre.
Our Chief Executive Andrew Cooper is hosting a webinar every two weeks, to offer people the chance of directly discussing any important issues with him affecting their operation and updating directly on the work we are doing.
He is also part of several senior city centre groups being steered by Leeds City Council, starting to look at the future, post-lockdown and how LeedsBID can play an important role in supporting the recovery process. We are engaged in conversations now with major retailers about how shopping may be managed differently; how we can support the public realm and help with cleaning and disinfecting the streets when our Street Ranger team is back on the road. How we can work with other partners, to plan the return of events and animations we had planned during the spring and summer, so they can come back and deliver all the benefits they will deliver for the city in the future.
At this time of national and global crisis, where no ‘guidebook’ exists to help us deal with it, where all of us are feeling the impacts both personally and professionally, LeedsBID will continue to support all of Leeds business and other sectors and help in whatever way we can, living our brand values throughout all our work: to be transformative, to be bold, to be innovative, to be responsible and to be ambitious for the city.