The Creative Quarter celebrated its first birthday with an informal picnic party held at St. Mary’s Church on Friday afternoon. The event attracted businesses and organisations from across the area representing a clear cross section of the new Creative Quarter community.
Groups brought full picnic hampers, rugs, bottles and sandwiches while others dropped in to catch up and watch the official cutting of the CQ Birthday Cake. Musical entertainment and refreshments (including strawberries and cream) were provided by St. Mary’s Church.
The event was relaxed and informal, with a real air of achievement and celebration. Thoughts also reflected by key Creative Quarter representatives on hand to talk to attendees about their views on priorities for the Creative Quarter moving forward.
Mich Stevenson is Chair of the Creative Quarter Company Board: “As a businessman operating in the Lace Market for over 30 years, this is – without doubt – one of the most exciting times for existing and emerging enterprises in the area. The Creative Quarter is giving the area a much needed boost, and we are able to look to the future with a sense of energy and excitement about the job, apprenticeship and work experience opportunities that are arising. The climate is right for growth and The Creative Quarter will be at the forefront of that endeavour in Nottingham. I’m proud to be a part of the team that’s working so hard to put Nottingham on the map as a thriving hub for new ventures in a range of sectors that include the creative and digital markets.”
Russ Harding from Maber Architects, said: “It’s not often that businesses across the CQ get the opportunity to come together and broaden their industry networks, so it’s great to be here today to do just that.”
Holly Brockwell, Lead Copywriter & Social Media Creative at The Together Agency, said: “I recently moved up to Nottingham from London and was told several times to expect no sense of community within the creative industries. That couldn’t be further from the truth. There’s so much going on in the CQ, and I’m very impressed with the City’s energy and appetite to bring likeminded companies together for mutual benefit.”
Kathy McArdle, Chief Executive Officer of the Creative Quarter, was delighted by the turn out and the feedback of those that attended: “It has been an extraordinary afternoon which I have enjoyed immensely – mostly because of the sense of community that is obviously developing around us. The Lace Market always had a strong feeling of neighbourhood but the Creative Quarter has extended that neighbourhood and given it a much louder collective voice, attracting greater support from both private and public sector, securing new investment, supporting new businesses and new employers, encouraging enterprise and opening up wider access to new schemes such the Apprentice Programme, CQ Loan Scheme, CQ New Business Rates Relief Scheme and CQ Connect. There is a great feeling of achievement as we reach our first major milestone and the next twelve months will bring challenge but also great reward for our growing CQ community.”
Maddie Smart, Programme Assistant from New Art Exchange’s Real Creative Futures, said: “We work closely with the CQ team to deliver business support to firms operating in the creative industries. This event is a great celebration of what can be achieved when we all work in partnership to put the City’s creative strengths into the spotlight.”
Councillor Nick McDonald, portfolio holder for Jobs & Growth at Nottingham City Council is also a Board Member of The Creative Quarter Company: “The Creative Quarter is one of our key economic priorities. We are a year in, and I believe we have made good progress, although we have a long way to go. There has been a huge amount of activity, from the Creative Quarter company particularly, but also from the Council and private sector partners, and the coming year will see that level of activity become more intense. What is most encouraging is that the discussions and activities are making the city itself more entrepreneurial and collaborative. The Creative Quarter something sets a blueprint for the way the city’s economy needs to develop in the future, and it will be through innovation and partnership that this will happen. A great start.”