A powerful display of support for the Coventry Partnership kicked off its second annual conference in December.
Joe Greenwell, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Jaguar and Land Rover, was a surprise guest at the event.
Joe’s welcome appearance at the conference came just two months after his return to Coventry in the top role at Jaguar, having previously been a familiar figure on the local regeneration scene whilst Director of Communications and Public Affairs at the company.
Joe had been actively involved in numerous community support projects and chaired the Foleshill Business Forum, part of the UK Business in the Community programme focusing on urban regeneration.
He told the 140 delegates at the Partnership conference that in the short time he had been away from the city, an ‘amazing’ amount had happened, with many more developments coming to fruition. “That is fantastic progress and an excellent basis for the discussions you are having today.”
Joe said that, having been involved in the forum, he understood the aims of the Partnership. “It is about delivering real change which makes a real difference to people.”
He told delegates he had been briefed on the Partnership’s progress and was impressed by what was emerging from its theme groups.
He also made this pledge to the Partnership on behalf of Jaguar. “We will continue to support, wherever possible, and provide whatever practical assistance and leadership we can with other members of the business community.”
The “Coventry Inspires” conference was held to mark the formal launch of the city’s new Community Plan which sets out the priorities and targets the Partnership is working to achieve.
Top Government official, Jon Bright, was the keynote speaker and gave delegates an insight into how the Government sees partnership working making a difference.
Mr Bright, Head of the Neighbourhood Renewal Implementation Division of the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit, told the conference that case studies produced by the Partnership illustrated how the city was tackling what the Prime Minister referred to as ‘liveability’ issues which was about communities that were clean, safe and well managed.
Mr Bright said prioritising such issues created the foundation for more comprehensive, wider renewal. “If we don’t do this, I don’t think residents and communities will seriously believe we will reduce the gap in areas in terms of mortality, employment or educational achievement.”
The conference finished with a clear message from Stella Manzie, Secretary of the Partnership and Chief Executive of Coventry City Council, that the Partnership had to be about action, not mere words. She praised the strong motivation that partners had shown to work together effectively but also called for organisations not to be ‘too precious’ about ideas. “As long as the outcome is right, it doesn’t matter,” she said. “The success of the Coventry Partnership is the success of every organisation in Coventry.”
Delegates drawn from the public, voluntary and business sectors across Coventry attended the conference. Apart from hearing from the speakers, they also participated in workshops, based on the eight themes of the Community Plan and heard about a series of initiatives that the Partnership’s theme groups will be undertaking in the coming months to deliver tangible improvements in services for Coventry people.
Everyone attending the conference was also asked to make a pledge of support on behalf of their organisation or company to help the Partnership achieve the aims of the Community Plan.
Partnership Chair, Janice Nichols, who chaired the conference, said: “The Community Plan is very ambitious and we need everyone’s help to turn it from words on a page to things that make a genuine difference to people.”
The conference also saw the launch of eight case studies illustrating good examples of partnership working, a leaflet summarising the Community Plan and a business card-sized promotion card promoting the Partnership and its contact details. If you would like copies of these, contact David Galliers, Coventry Partnership Development Manager, on 024 7653 9149 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also view the speakers’ presentations on the Partnership website. www.coventrypartnership.com