Coventry’s independent businesses get £150,000 government boost

Photo shows: Christmas Makers Market at FarGo Village in 2019

Coventry’s Creative Quarter is set to continue its much-needed work to support independent businesses following a boost from the Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund.

FarGo Village has been awarded £150,000 from Arts Council England and the Department for Culture, Media & Sport.

The decision means the venue is able to help the myriad of independent creative businesses whose home is FarGo Village, as well as invest in its outdoor space by increasing its canopy areas and buying outdoor tables, seats and heaters to attract visitors in a Covid secure way in the winter months.

FarGo is an artistically re-purposed industrial space in Coventry City Centre, designed for creative, independent businesses and like-minded visitors. Located on Far Gosford Street, a recently regenerated area with a rich cultural heritage it has an eclectic mix of more than 40 independent businesses,  including a craft brewery, artisan food, vegan shop, printing , a museum dedicated to Sgt Bilko and even a Crossfit Box.

The Christmas Makers Markets will also be returning this year both at FarGo Village and online, and will run over two weekends on Saturday, December 5 and Sunday, December 6, followed by Saturday, December 12 and Sunday, December 13 to sprinkle festive magic into Christmas shopping in a socially distanced manner.

Emma Harrabin, Manager at FarGo Village which was voted Small Visitor Attraction of the Year in the West Midlands Tourism Awards 2020, said this was an extremely tough time for local businesses.

“We’re incredibly excited to have received this funding which will allow us to continue our support for independent creative businesses and practitioners at such a difficult time,” she said.

“We will be using it to support our permanent businesses, particularly through allowing them to create and strengthen their digital infrastructure and ability to function online.

“The funding will also enable us to deliver a number of socially distanced events, including our Christmas Makers Markets this December which will support over 80 independent artists, designers and local community enterpreises across two weekend events. These events will also be available to access online thanks to an enhanced web platform we are developing.

“We will also now be able to undertake some infrastructural work within FarGo Village, allowing us to improve the offering, and prepare for 2021.

“That will involve making full use of our outdoor space to make it more customer friendly, allowing us to use the area in a Covid secure way by adding outdoor tables, chairs and heaters and increasing our canopy areas to protect visitors from the elements. We will be bringing our indoor facilities outdoors as much as possible!

“It promises to be 12 months to remember from May 2021 when Coventry starts its year as UK City of Culture and this money from the Arts Council and DCMS will mean we are in the best place possible to play our part in showcasing all that is great about the area’s creative sector.”