Since March, residents and visitors to Coventry have been warmly greeted by a trio of smiling faces. Rev. David Mayhew, student Romain, and Sam – from contractors Bowmer & Kirkland – have been featured on the hoardings surrounding the One Friargate development site, looking out onto the new tree-lined boulevard, Station Square.
However, a new group of local people have now been selected to feature on the Friargate hoardings – including a statement about why they love the city. The fresh faces will continue to greet the 17,000 people who use Coventry train station every day, as commuters walk from the transport hub to the city’s retail core.
Cynthia, Rishard and Sabir volunteered to have their photographs taken for the hoardings through the #YourCov campaign on social media. Each represent the vibrancy and diversity of Coventry and will become well known faces to people – from all walks of life – that live, work and travel in the city.
Sabir, in particular, was keen to take part in order to give something back to the city. As director of the Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre (CRMC), his aim is to give visitors to Coventry as warm a welcome as he received when he first came to the city as a refugee from Afghanistan in his early twenties – and was supported by the CRMC.
Sabir, one of the newest faces of Coventry, said: “I was really keen to get involved with the #YourCov project, and am delighted to be included on the Friargate hoarding.
“I had the warmest welcome when I arrived in Coventry from Afghanistan. When people arrive in Coventry now I want them to receive the same welcome I had, and I want them to know that this city supports people from all backgrounds. I hope that my face, greeting travelers and commuters, will go some way to helping people appreciate what a fantastic, inclusive place Coventry is.”
Alongside Sabir, Rishard will also be ushering people through Station Square Boulevard. Rishard is already one of Coventry’s more famous faces, starring in Channel 4’s No Offence and performing his first ever one man show ‘Yellow Post It Notes’ at the launch of the City of Culture 2021 bid at the Godiva Festival, which is also supported by Friargate.
Rishard, who was nominated by his mum Mel on Twitter, said: “I love Coventry, the people are amazing and I’ve had fantastic support from the city. It’s really exciting to know that I will be one of the first things people see when they leave the station.
“I walk through Station Square every day so to see myself up there on the hoardings will be strange but great fun!”
With Coventry’s universities going from strength to strength, a number of students were also keen to make their mark. Cynthia, a student from Coventry University, was thrilled to promote the city:
“I’ve had such a great time at Coventry University, and I’ve really come to feel part of the city. Being featured on the Friargate hoarding is just another way I’ve been welcomed, and I’m so pleased to help promote such a wonderful place”, she said.
Sabir, Rishard and Cynthia will stay at Friargate over the coming months as work on the first building accelerates, with its cladding currently being installed following the recent completion of the steel frame.
Stephen Reynolds, of Friargate Coventry LLP, said: “Friargate is a development for the people of Coventry not just businesses, tourists or the Council. We are creating fantastic new public spaces that have opened well ahead of the new buildings, as part of our aim to deliver for the whole city.
“Joining up with such remarkable local people to promote Coventry, as well as what we are doing at Friargate, is a real pleasure. I’m delighted that Rishard, Cynthia and Sabir will be welcoming people to the area.”
The existing faces, which have been featured on the Friargate hoarding for nearly six months, won’t be going to waste. The Friargate team plan to retain the larger-than-life cut outs and could display them elsewhere in the city, or even present them to their real-life counterparts to display in their own homes.
If you want to be a face of Coventry tweet us @friargatecov using #YourCov.