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New poem is centrepiece of campaign to boost city’s reopening

Published on Thursday, August 5, 2021

Shoppers in Leicester's Silver Street

A LIVELY new poem and video encouraging people to once again safely enjoy the excitement of the city’s shopping, nightlife, entertainment and hospitality has been launched as part of a campaign announcing that Leicester is open for business.

The work, entitled Let In The Light, by award-winning Leicester poet and Curve Breakthrough Artist Jess Green, brings to life all the reasons to get out and enjoy the city’s vibrant bars, restaurants and shops, as well as invoking the pleasures of dressing up for a much-needed night out with friends after so long under Covid-19 restrictions.

It is accompanied by footage of the Leicester-raised actor, writer and film-maker Jassa Ahluwalia, who leads viewers through well-loved parts of the city including the historic Lanes and Old Town area, Evington and Belgrave, and savouring the everyday joys of gossip over a coffee with friends or planning epic nights out.

It is all part of the latest stage of the city’s ongoing £120,000 “We’ve Missed You” campaign celebrating the easing of the last of the national lockdown restrictions, supporting businesses to reopen, reminding people what they have missed, and inspiring them to savour once again the diversity on offer in the city, in a responsible way.

Since May 2020, Leicester City Council has been awarded £318k under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)’s Reopening High Streets Safely fund, as well as a further £318k from the Government’s Welcome Back Fund, designed to help businesses in cities badly hit by the Covid-19 measures.

The funding allows councils across England to put in place additional measures to establish a safe trading environment for both businesses and customers, as well as enabling campaigns such as “We’ve Missed You” to help local businesses by reassuring and encouraging people back into the city.

Leicester City Council is working with businesses across the city on ensuring they can welcome back customers in a Covid-safe, friendly way, to help boost confidence and get the city up and running once more after more than 18 months of restrictions.

Another specially-commissioned video launched earlier this summer, accompanied by the poignant poem ‘By The Clock Tower’, which was written by Arch Creative co-founder Joe Nixon, evoked memories of meeting friends at the city centre landmark and the excitement of being able to do so once again as restrictions began to ease.

The latest poem and film now come at a time when the ending of national restrictions enable responsible socialising to take place once more.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “Over the last few months we’ve seen the gradual lifting of national lockdown restrictions, meaning people can once again begin to enjoy the pleasures of going out and meeting friends for example, or visiting their favourite pubs or shops.

“While it is vital to do this responsibly, it is also something that many people have been longing to do for much of the last 18 months, and it’s very good news for local businesses that people can once again make the most of them.

“This latest video is a wonderful reminder of the simple pleasures we all enjoyed before lockdown, and showcases some of the best of what the city has to offer.

“It is reassurance that the city’s businesses are ready to welcome people back after so long, in a safe, sustainable and responsible way.”

The short film accompanying Let In The Light was directed by Curve’s artistic director Nikolai Foster and Cara Nolan. The film was made by local creative firm Image Nova, which is based at the Cultural Quarter’s Phoenix arts centre.

A poetry exhibition is also due to be held later this month, showcasing works by members of the public who took part in a series of workshops run by Curve, reflecting on the experiences of lockdown and the hopes for the future.

To view the poem and film visit here.

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