Businesses come together to back City of Culture bid

Local business leaders have given their backing to Stoke-on-Trent's City of Culture bid for 2021.

Around 100 names in the world of commerce, manufacturing, high-tech, design, building and services came together to learn more about how they can make a difference in making the Stoke-on-Trent bid shine out from the competition.

They heard from Gareth Higgins, managing director of KMF, the UK’s largest manufacturer of precision sheet metal components, about how his company was already deeply involved.

He said: “This is a city that has an amazing story to tell. We should be proud to be surrounded by such craftsmanship and creativity. Manufacturing here is growing, the creative industries are booming and we are busy building the components that make up the modern world.

“It’s time for us promote our city, to shout about the incredible talent and energy that is resurgent once more, we have to showcase the creative and manufacturing talent that we have.”

Gareth told the audience all about KMF’s apprentice project, building a full scale Spitfire sculpture and connecting past generations of the city’s engineering excellence through to a future-proofed supply of local creative expertise.

Councillor Abi Brown, deputy leader of the city council, said KMF was flying a flag for the city.

She said: “This is a city which has never made a distinction between art, culture and commerce. Art has been at the centre of our productivity. We have synthesised ideas from around the globe, re-interpreted them, and mass-produced artefacts in their millions to bring culture to the masses around the world.

“It’s this earthy realism, a rootedness in the practical use of culture, the mix of intense local materials and identity with an international outlook, that makes this place the perfect canvas for the UK City of Culture.

"Art isn’t rarefied and exclusive here. It’s for and from the people. This is already a City of Culture; it is rooted in the everyday.”

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