Monthly Archives: June 2018
West Midlands works as one to bring Channel 4 to the region
The campaign to convince Channel 4 (C4) to choose the West Midlands for its new national HQ reached fever pitch today (Wednesday 27/6) with the formal presentation to the broadcaster.
The West Midlands pitch team was a mixture of political leaders and industry experts, who worked as one to highlight the multiple reasons and benefits that make the region such an attractive proposition to the broadcaster.
The formal pitch was part of C4’s tour across the nation as it visits the shortlisted cities to assess the viability of each bid. The delegation from C4 included: Alex Mahon, chief executive; Jonathan Allan, chief commercial officer; Sophie Jones, head of corporate relations; Kathryn Barry, HR business partner; Gill Wilson, consultant/former head of features; Will Fox, project manager – Nations and Regions.
As part of the pitch, the West Midlands assembled a cast of creative talent, which included: Adil Ray (writer/actor/director); Steven Knight (screenwriter/film director); Debbie Isitt, creator of film franchise Nativity; and local poet Casey Bailey.
The formal bid from West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) featured: Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands; Dawn Baxendale, Chief Executive, Birmingham City Council; and Martin Reeves, Chief Executive, Coventry City Council. The leaders of Birmingham and Coventry City Councils were also on hand to lend their support to the bid.
Cllr Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “A wealth of knowledge and creativity, combined with one of the youngest and most diverse populations in Europe, make Birmingham a perfect fit for Channel 4.
“There’s never been a better time to come to the West Midlands. Our thriving region is undergoing an exciting cultural renaissance and we have the digital skills, talent and energy needed to make the move a huge success.”
Cllr George Duggins, Leader of Coventry City Council, said: “We were delighted to meet the Channel 4 team and show them what a great site the West Midlands would be for a new headquarters.
“We believe we are the perfect choice, with our central position, first class transport links and strong cultural scene, and we put across a very strong case for why they should join us and be part of our exciting future.
“Coventry won the title of UK City of Culture 2021 by working with partners and other organisations to show the potential of our young, skilled and diverse population and how our city is growing and changing for the future.
“Those same strengths make us the perfect choice for Channel 4 and I believe that we put across a very strong argument and showed them how relocating to the region would not just help the West Midlands, but help Channel 4 and create something special for both of us.”
The Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street said: “The prize of Channel 4’s National HQ is a huge one for the region. Today we brought together everybody who has been working with us from the political and industry to really press the case to the leadership team at Channel 4.
“Because our region has put the hard work into this over the last few years and because everybody has got right behind this bid, we have honed our case, gathered support and have every right to feel confident.”
The WMCA bid highlights the many strengths of the West Midlands under the strapline of ‘Get Closer’, including: the region’s unparalleled connectedness to talent, ideas and resources, its youth and diversity, and the ongoing success and development the region is experiencing such as Coventry named UK City of Culture 2021, and the Commonwealth Games in 2022.
C4 is seeking to establish three new creative hubs outside London, as part of its ‘4 All the UK’ strategy. The largest of these hubs will become the national headquarters, consisting of offices, a new studio, a base for daily programmes and a new digital production unit. The final announcement will be in October, with the broadcaster moving to the new HQ in 2019.
Speech: Homelessness Prevention Strategy launch
My speech at the launch of the Birmingham Homelessness Prevention Strategy
Download the strategy here: https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/2531/birmingham_homelessness_prevention_strategy_2017.pdf
Good morning ladies and gentlemen and thank you for joining us here for the launch of the Birmingham Homelessness Prevention Strategy.
You can tell a lot about a city from the way it unites to protect its most vulnerable.
So we can take great pride in the fact that so many partners are coming together to tackle and prevent homelessness.
It’s doesn’t surprise me that Birmingham continues to be a city that helps those in need. Compassion is in our collective DNA. This is a city that stands up for victims; a city that unites to counter injustice and inequality.
And, while compassion and good intentions will only get us so far, what is clear from this strategy is that together we also have the vision, the skills and the sheer determination to tackle an issue that has disastrous consequences for far too many Birmingham citizens.
And I’m not just talking about the very visible rough sleeping crisis.
The sad truth is that Birmingham also has a high number of families who are homeless or in temporary accommodation. And, as we’ve seen in other UK towns and cities, those figures have risen dramatically over the last eight years.
Behind that rise we find far too many individual tales of heartbreak and hardship, we find far too many children living in temporary accommodation often badly affecting their education and we find far too many lives irrevocably damaged.
We cannot and will not sit back as a city and allow that to continue.
Homelessness ruins lives and this strategy acknowledges that we need to do more to recognise the impact that the trauma of homelessness can have on physical and mental health of both adults and children.
Homeless households experience severe health inequalities, and a lower life expectancy than the general population.
Shockingly we know that the impact begins at birth, with homeless children more likely to be born at a low birth weight and miss their immunisations.
Homeless children are three times more likely to experience poor mental health; the impact of which is long lasting.
And even after they have a new home, children who experience homelessness remain vulnerable to family breakdown, domestic abuse, mental ill health, and learning and development difficulties.
At whatever stage in life you are at, homelessness destroys potential.
Which is why the key to this strategy is that vital word: PREVENTION.
Our new focus is on preventing people from becoming homeless in the first place and supporting those who are homeless to build a more positive future in good health, sustainable accommodation and long lasting employment.
To succeed, we must help people secure homes that they can afford and maintain, which is why in the recent local elections we promised to build more affordable homes and homes for social rent.
Saying it is the easy part but we must not underestimate the scale of the challenge.
With the population predicted to rise by 150,000 by 2031, Birmingham needs 89,000 new homes to meet the needs of the city’s population over the next 13 years.
I promise that Birmingham City Council will play its part. Since 2012, we’ve built more affordable homes than any other council in the country and we will continue to build much needed affordable homes through Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust.
But, as the strategy we’re launching today makes clear, we need a range of safe, decent, affordable housing options, both shared and self-contained, in the private, social and third sectors.
We all have a part to play and, though this is a huge challenge, I firmly believe we can work together to drive the systemic change required to deliver this strategy and achieve our collective vision for Birmingham.
Last week we launched our Domestic Abuse Prevention Strategy – an issue often closely linked to homelessness – and I said then that we must ask ourselves what sort of a city we want to live in.
What sort of Birmingham do we want our young people to grow up in?
And, what value do we place on respecting and protecting the most vulnerable in our city?
Those questions are equally applicable as we address the issue of homelessness.
If we look around Birmingham in 2018, this is a city undergoing a dramatic and exciting transformation.
The cranes on our skyline, the building sites and the sheer scale of new developments mean that this is a city on the up.
Our challenge now is to ensure that everyone gets an opportunity to share in that success.
And, at the very least, we should strive to be a city where everyone has a roof over their head and place to call home.
That’s why I’m delighted that so many of the City’s partners and stakeholders have come together to deliver the strategy we’re launching today.
Let’s make it happen.