Medway’s campaign to be UK City of Culture 2025 has taken another major step forward, with the announcement of the bid’s Board of Trustees and Working Group Co-Chairs who will lead the delivery of Medway’s bid. 

In the year that Medway submits its application to be the UK’s next City of Culture, the campaign has announced the appointment of twelve individuals to lead the bid, which sits as part of Medway’s ambitious new ten-year cultural strategy.

Chaired by Jatin Patel and Deidre Wells OBE, the Board of Trustees brings together community members with individuals from businesses, education, creative, local government and heritage backgrounds from across Medway and Kent to deliver Medway’s ambition.

The development of the bid will be supported by Creative Medway, the radical new community-led delivery model for Medway’s recently launched cultural strategy. In addition, the bid brings together over 60 people of all ages from the area in working groups supporting the development of the bid’s ambition, strategy and ideas alongside the Youth Creative Planning Group announced last month.

“Medway’s bid is truly a collective endeavour bringing together people and communities from across the area and the wider region to invest in Medway’s future.  Being City of Culture will bring Medway to life with 365 days of cultural events, but is about so much more.  We are delighted to welcome our hugely inspirational Board of Trustees led by visionary Co-Chairs Jatin Patel and Deirdre Wells OBE as well as the 60 plus community working group members.”

Imogen Robertson, Bid Director of Medway 2025

The UK City of Culture 2025 competition is expected to be announced later this year, with the bid submission and judging processes expected to take place over the course of 2021.

A grid of headshots of the Medway 2025 Board of Trustees
Medway 2025 Board of Trustees
The Trustees are:
Jatin Patel (Co-Chair)
Fashion designer, Creative Director at Chatham-based Kalikas Armour, a University College of the Arts Rochester alumni and industry change-maker. Jatin has also played a key role in shaping Medway’s new cultural strategy.
Deirdre Wells OBE (Co-Chair)
CEO of Visit Kent, Chair of English Tourism Week, Tourism Society and Tourism Alliance board member. Deirdre brings experience working on high-profile projects including the Millennium Dome, Liverpool Capital of Culture 2008 and the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Keely Augustus
Artistic Director and CEO at Lyrici Arts amplifying Black and diverse stories in Medway
Simon Cook
Principal and CEO of MidKent College, Medway Place Board Chair and former chef.
Bill Ferris OBE
Former CEO of Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, Visit Kent Chair and National Heritage Lottery Fund Committee Member.
Richard Hicks
Director of Place and Deputy Chief Executive at Medway Council.
Tina Lovey
CEO at Rivermead Inclusive Multi-Academy Education Trust and champion of young people.
Sir David Melville CBE
Former University of Kent Vice-Chancellor, Policy Connect Board Member and Higher Education Commissioner.
Michael Olyar
Theatre student and hip-hop artist.
David Sefton
University of Kent Institute of Culture and Creative Industries Director, former Artistic Director of the Adelaide Festival.
Natasha Steer
Creative practitioner, founder of Creatabot and social inclusion champion.
Deborah Turner
Founder of Chartered Surveying company Deborah Turner Ltd and South East Policy Lead for the Federation of Small Businesses and their National Policy Lead for Women in Business.

“I am proud to be a part of the coalition driving forward Medway’s collaborative 2025 bid. Rebuilding post-pandemic is an exciting opportunity for us to look forward and build on strong foundations to forge new pathways and construct an impactful legacy. Medway’s bid celebrates our rich history and heritage, the diversity of people and places and the industry and innovation across Medway. Bidding to be City of Culture is an opportunity to utilise creativity as a catalyst, raise our aspirations and ambitions and invest in culture and community in
Medway to create long-lasting equitable change to benefit us all in Medway.”

Jatin Patel, Co-Chair of the Medway 2025 Board of Trustees and Creative Director at Kalikas Armour

“I am thrilled to take up the position of Co-Chair for the Medway UK City of Culture 2025 bid. Having worked on the highly successful Liverpool Capital of Culture programme, I have seen for myself the hugely transformative power which culture can bring to a place. From boosting the visitor economy, creating magical experiences and inspiring communities and new audiences, culture has the ability to put the heart and soul back into destinations. I have been hugely inspired by the ambition and vision of the Medway UK City of Culture 2025 bid and look forward to doing all I can to make it a success.”

Deirdre Wells OBE, Co-Chair of the Medway 2025 Board of Trustees and CEO at Visit Kent

The Working Group Co-Chairs are:

  • Chloe Ainsley  –   Lead Graphic Designer at Cystic Fibrosis Trust and Owner of Chloe Ainsley Creative  
  • Hilary Cooke – CEO of Medway Gender and Sexual Diversity Centre and Chair of Medway Pride.  Speaker on transgender issues and champion of Medway’s LGBTQIA+ community.
  • Virginie Giles  –   marketing and communications professional and Medway Place Manager
  • Mark Heffernan  –  Head of Greenwich and Kent Students Union for Universities at Medway
  • Eleanor McGrath  –   Head of Grants at ArtFund
  • Conor Noon – works for a local Member of Parliament and community volunteer
  • Katie Pickett  –   owner of Pinky’s Beauty
  • David Stokes  –   Chief Executive of the Halpern Charitable Foundation
  • Maddie Springett  –   Student Engagement Officer at MidKent College
  • David Ward  –   Chair and/or Trustee of a number of national security groups, Trustee and Business Lead for Rochester Cathedral and Governor of Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical School

Hosting in 2025 would be a real game-changer for Medway, bringing a legacy of opportunities, economic benefits and an innovative year-long series of events to the area.  The bid is a major step in Medway’s ten year cultural strategy, which will see Medway internationally recognised for its diverse, collaborative and engaged cultural sector, positively benefitting the lives of local people and bringing people to the area.

As part of this, the Medway 2025 board will be instrumental in achieving the vision of the UK City of Culture bid. Hosting in 2025 would be a real game-changer for the Medway, bringing a legacy of opportunities, economic benefits and an innovative year-long series of events to the area.

Being recognised as UK City of Culture would bring the title to the South East for the first time in the competition’s history and have a profound impact on the whole geography of Medway.  Previous winners have seen a significant cultural and economic boost.  Hull saw 6 million visitors in 2017 at a value of £300 million and a significant shift in local pride and reputation stemming from their year.

“As a young, creative professional from Medway, I’m delighted to be involved in Medway’s campaign. The area has so much potential and bidding offers a golden opportunity to celebrate creativity, accelerate regeneration, uncover hidden gems, and bring about positive change in the lives of the community. Achieving a sustainable, thriving future for Medway depends on the resilience, belief and support of a diverse range people and young people are crucial in Medway achieving its vision.”

Chloe Ainsley, Working Group Co-Chair and Lead Graphic Designer at Cystic Fibrosis Trust and Owner of Chloe Ainsley Creative
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