L2R: Karen French (Squire Patton Boggs), Nikki Marsh (Leeds Building Society), Grace Ellerby (Kinrise), Mark Hollander (LEEDS 2023​), Carol McKenzie, (True North), Sue Woodroofe (​The Grammar School At Leeds) Pervinder Kaur (Addleshaw Goddard).

Leeds 2023 is delighted to announce the first six Members of the 2023 Club, a partnership programme for organisations who will support and help to spearhead the year-long celebration of culture taking place throughout 2023.

The 2023 Club puts its Members at the heart of Leeds 2023 with less than 15 months to go before the city’s transformational year of culture officially begins.

Leeds 2023 believes that culture can play a leading role in the recovery of Leeds as a city and the wider West Yorkshire region, with the Club Members covering several crucial sectors including finance, education, legal, media and property. They also bring a wealth of business experience with them, all enjoying regional and national reputations as leaders in their field.

The first Leeds 2023 Club Partners are:

  • Addleshaw Goddard
  • Kinrise
  • Leeds Building Society
  • Squire Patton Boggs
  • The Grammar School at Leeds
  • True North

The members are supporting Leeds 2023 with sponsorship and expertise or services. As Club Members, they will enjoy benefits including brand alignment with the Year of Culture , exclusive show previews, as well as access to Leeds 2023 events.

Leeds 2023 Executive Director Mark Hollander said: “Recent times have been incredibly tough for Leeds, both its businesses and the communities that make up this fantastic city. As we look ahead, Leeds 2023 will help accelerate Leeds’ economic and social recovery that has already begun, as well as provide everyone with something incredible to look forward to.”

He added: “The new Club Members are a huge part of that journey and the partnerships allow businesses to be part of an exciting network of diverse companies and talents that are all helping to make something extraordinary happen. They are all passionate about the role of culture in making Leeds a vibrant city – and will help to showcase the best of our city to the world.”

Economically, a recent analysis by BOP Consulting demonstrated that Leeds 2023 can deliver an additional economic impact of £114m direct and indirect revenue to the Leeds Visitor Economy. The wider region is also set to gain from Leeds 2023, as the region engages and leverages its strength in the creative industries and tourism, generating an expected return on investment of 8:1 across West Yorkshire.

Nikki Marsh, Leeds Building Society’s Chief Brand and Marketing Officer, said: “As proud supporters of the city, we’re absolutely delighted to be backing Leeds 2023. The chance to help showcase the amazing culture we have in Leeds to the rest of the country and beyond was too big to miss.”

Pervinder Kaur, Head of Addleshaw Goddard’s Leeds office, comments: “2023 is going to be a transformational year for Leeds as the community comes together to celebrate the thriving creative culture that makes this city so unique, so it is fantastic to be one of the businesses at the centre of this campaign to promote the city as a creative and cultural hub to the world.”

Grace Ellerby, Community Manager from Kinrise, added: “Kinrise focuses on creating spaces that inspire and enable. Our aim is to turn iconic but un-loved buildings in UK cities into creative work and community space so that the city’s heritage lives on for the future and real cultural capital remains in the centre rather than being pushed further out of cities. At 34 Boar Lane we are passionate about fostering business, culture and life in Leeds. We love having Leeds 2023 in our space, providing the team with a central location for their engagement with the creative and cultural communities in the city.”

Karen French, partner at Squire Patton Boggs, said: “We are looking forward to being part of an initiative that will generate tourism and economic growth whilst ensuring the further regeneration and development of our city.”

Sue Woodroofe, The Grammar School at Leeds Principal, said: “It is an absolute privilege to support Leeds 2023 in celebrating the city’s wonderful creative and cultural heritage. The school has a long and proud artistic history with alumni from today, including Baroness Judith Blake, Ricky Wilson, lead singer of Leeds 2023 Patrons The Kaiser Chiefs;  right back to the father of civil engineering, John Smeaton, whose legacy will be celebrated in the Leeds 2023 programme. We are committed to working with our partners to inspire the next generation.”

Andrew Sheldon, Creative Director at True North, added: “True North is delighted to be a partner for Leeds 2023. The city’s screen industry has emerged from the pandemic in a remarkably strong position, and the 2023 celebration is the perfect showcase for that – an opportunity to illustrate why Leeds has a growing reputation as a world class hub for drama and factual content across a huge range of platforms.”

For 2023, Leeds is planning a ground-breaking, 12-month-long cultural celebration across all 33 wards of the city where everyone can play a part. Working alongside local, national and international artists and local communities, Leeds 2023 will be for Leeds, with Leeds and inspired by Leeds.

Based around 12 signature events and a multitude of creative experiences across the year, LEEDS 2023 promises to be an explosion of colour, noise and brilliant entertainment, reaching every corner of the city and its wider districts.

As well as the 12 signature events, the year will also be split into three seasons; each with its own unique identity that will promote the city and region nationally and internationally.

Mark concluded: “We know that our supporters want to make a genuine impact and leave a positive legacy, so we’re embedding social considerations in our events, such as extending access to those who would not normally have the opportunity to be involved. Issues such as sustainability, diversity and equality are so important and LEEDS 2023 sees these as an integral part of all our events.”