Despite being friendly, forward-thinking and a hub of creative ideas, Hull suffered from a bad rap for decades. Our city was considered everything from dull and dilapidated to dirty and depressing, usually by people who had never even paid a visit, which we’re sure you’ll agree is just plain unfair. However, recent years have seen enormous positive change take place, which has paid off no end.
Following our year as the UK City of Culture, Hull has been named the third-most improved UK city, as a place to live and work, by the Demos-PwC Good Growth for Cities Index 2018. This official study measures 42 of the UK’s largest cities against multiple indicators, including employment, health, income, skills, housing affordability, commuting times, environmental factors, income inequality and the number of new business start-ups. The results show that Hull has improved exponentially since the last index was released in 2017, which can be attributed to the massive increase in artistic focus, a surge in new housing thanks to developers such as Wykeland Beal, the extensive public realm works that transformed the city centre, and a steady rise in digital entrepreneurialism.
Whilst this is a huge achievement and very welcome news, it doesn’t mean that we can rest on our laurels. In order to achieve stability and guarantee further success, the people of Hull must rally together and do everything they can to keep our city deserving of its cultural, social and economic renaissance. For instance, if individuals continue to look after their neighbourhoods (anything from litter-picking events to taking part in crime reduction surveys), the combined result will be staggeringly beneficial and create an excellent example for the next generation to follow.
An equally large slice of the responsibility goes to local businesses, as Hull UK City of Culture 2017 saw companies that had previously never participated in this type of activity jump into the spotlight. From sponsoring large events and donating free services to independent artists, to giving up their time to take part in charitable activities in aid of a range of very worthy causes, this sudden boost in corporate social responsibility was truly inspiring. Continuing this level of involvement and finding new ways to develop and celebrate our city’s infrastructure is essential, with excellent examples being the new Top 30 Under 30 ceremony, alongside the increasingly popular Hull Daily Mail Business Awards, HullBID Awards and Hull and East Yorkshire Digital Awards.
If you’re unsure how to play a role in all of this, have a think about what you can offer that’s both effective and sustainable. If large sponsorship deals are out of the question, consider donating small amounts on a regular basis, such as a tenner here and there to Facebook fundraisers. Perhaps you have time going spare that could be spent on the board of a local not-for-profit organisation or as an e-mentor through the University of Hull’s Careers and Employability Service? Even making tiny changes so that you offer the very best customer service, career opportunities and training programmes will ensure that you’re doing your bit to further improve the city.