A PROGRAMME of festivals and events will help Leicester’s economy bounce back this year, with small-scale, COVID-safe events encouraging people back into the city centre.
The city council has earmarked £365,000 from its COVID recovery fund to support a six-week programme of events this summer and a package of entertainment over Christmas – including the return of Leicester’s popular ice rink.
While the Government looks set to lift the remaining restrictions on social distancing and mixing next week, the council in Leicester is adopting a more cautious approach, choosing to organise a programme of smaller events across multiple sites that will help disperse people across the city centre.
Most events in the summer programme will be free of charge, including family-friendly activities such as roller-skating on Jubilee Square, pop-up fitness and circus skills on Town Hall Square and a Spark Arts Fun Café at Highcross. Costumed characters and strolling street performers – including some hilarious Cavemen and Pirates – will help create pockets of fun throughout the city centre.
The Summer in the City programme gets under way on Monday (19 July), when Humberstone Gate in landlocked Leicester will get its very own beach – complete with fairground rides and ice creams.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “We want to support Leicester’s economic recovery this summer by encouraging families to return to the city centre and enjoy our cafés, shops, cinemas, theatres and restaurants once again.
“Summer in the City represents a gradual step towards a more familiar way of life in Leicester, but this programme is an example of our measured approach to navigating our way out of lockdown.
“The events we’ve planned aren’t designed to attract large crowds – they’re small-scale events, many aimed at families with children, that will help to animate the city centre and put a smile on people’s faces.
“We hope they’ll create an atmosphere that visitors and locals alike will enjoy when they return to Leicester this summer.”
Summer in the City – which runs from 19 July to 31 August – is coordinated by the city council and supported by partners including BID Leicester, LCFC, CaddyShackers, Highcross shopping centre, Billy Bates Funfair, Spark Arts, Graffwerks, Enter Edem, Living Well Health Club, Space to Breathe Collective, Whispered Tales and Z Fitness.
A full programme of events is available at visitleicester.info
The COVID recovery fund will also support a programme of Christmas entertainment in Leicester.
Leicester’s popular ice rink will be back in Jubilee Square – with a reduced capacity option to ensure skaters are kept safe – while Santa is set to return to his grotto in Green Dragon Square.
Full details of Christmas in Leicester will be released in the autumn.