Wolverhampton has said it wants to become an ‘events city’ under a five-year plan to boost the city’s economy, create new jobs and build a cultural reputation.

The city’s council said the five-year events strategy aims to bring investment into the city as well as increasing local jobs, skills and volunteering opportunities.

The council said that it would work to identify external funding opportunities, draw up proposals for new events, further develop business relationships, particularly with hotels and restaurants, and build new partnerships. The strategy will focus on events being commercially viable, making minimal council investment in order to unlock as much outside income as possible.

City of Wolverhampton council leader, councillor Ian Brookfield, said the development of this events strategy is “much to be excited for”.

“It all begins in 2022, with the Commonwealth Games time trial, British Art Show 9, our first ever Creation Day Festival and the opening of our Civic and Wulfrun Halls,” he said.

“We are committed to developing this five-year strategy not only because hosting high-profile events will bring a welcome economic boost into our city and raise our profile on the national stage, but because they offer a great opportunity for our local people.

“We want the plans we are drawing up to really benefit residents here in the city, whether that be through great entertainment, the chance to volunteer or develop new skills or the opportunity to find work.

“This past year has tested us all, but it has also inspired us to look forward to offer the best we possibly can for our visitors and our residents alike. We’re working to find all the ways we can to relight our city for the future.”

Located in the heart of the Black Country to the north-west of Birmingham, Wolverhampton is a walkable city with no shortage of conference and event venues. The Wolverhampton Grand Theatre (pictured) has capacity for 1,200, well suited for conferences and presentations. The Grand Station, which is sited next to the city’s main railway station, a versatile venue capable of hosting over 1,000 delegates and is popular with the retail sector. Molineux, the home of Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club, has an assortment of spaces for groups of varying sizes while to the south of the city in Dudley is the Black Country Living Museum, which boasts several event spaces and is best known as a key filming location for the TV series Peaky Blinders.

Civic Halls refurb

On 19 March, AEG Presents – part of the AEG global sports, entertainment and venue operator family – beat off competition to secure a long-term deal to operate Civic Halls, supported by ASM Global. The Civic Halls are due to reopen in early 2022 following a major multi-million-pound refurbishment programme.