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90% of independent restaurants could face closure due to Pandemic

SUPERSTAR chef Gizzi Erskine and comedienne and self confessed foodie Katherine Ryan have joined Forces with recipe box pros, Gousto, to launch Cookstarter, a campaign supporting Britain's diverse food culture by helping independent restaurants thrive during the Pandemic. The campaign comes as new research polling 250 independent restaurant workers and 2,000 British adults revealed that 90% of restaurants have faced the risk of permanent closure at some point during the Pandemic. 70% of people fear the variety of Britain's food scene is under threat as a result. To support their can't live without local restaurants and help the industry thrive, Brits will be asked to come forward and nominate their favourite UK based independent eateries into Cookstarter campaign at:- GoustoCookStarter.Co.UK before 7 February 2021.

Following a nationwide search, the campaign will see 5 much loved independent restaurants receive ₤10k worth of funding each, alongside a year long programme of business coaching support, spanning finance, marketing, HR and product development from a dedicated Board of Mentors, at Gousto, put together by CEO and co-founder Timo Boldt. Alongside the year long support programme, Gousto will collaborate with the 5 independent restaurants to create new recipes inspired by the restaurants for customers to enjoy at home. Every time a subscriber orders a Cookstarter recipe, they will be able to 'tip' the restaurant's team through the cashless tipping solution TiPJAR.

The campaign will go 1 step further to benefit the industry as a whole by encouraging Brits to donate to Hospitality Action, a charity that supports all workers in the UK Hospitality industry. The research also revealed that over a ⅓ of restaurant workers (36%) are fearing for the future of independent restaurants in the UK, as restrictions in many areas of the country are only getting tighter. The vast majority (97%) of restaurants have had to pivot and adapt to the changing times, but sadly with a huge financial cost, 86% have reported reduced profits, making it a tough year to stay in business. Almost all (97%) of restaurants have had to adapt to changing regulations and fluctuating demand, with over ½ reducing their menu size in the past year, greatly restricting the meal choice available to customers. Despite this, for nearly ½ (43%) food wastage is at an all time high. But Britain's food culture is loved by many and hunger for culinary diversity remains high. For over ½ of British diners, the UK's unique food scene is 1 of their favourite things about the country. A huge 79% believe that independent restaurants are what makes Britain's food scene so unique, and 82% would like to be able to do more to help them during this difficult time.

Open Call for artists for The Liverpool Plinth

LIVERPOOL BID Company and dot-art are looking for the 4th artist to have their work installed on The Liverpool Plinth. The sculptor, who must live and work in the North of England, will see their work displayed on the site within Liverpool's UNESCO World Heritage waterfront at Liverpool Parish Church.

The Grade II listed Liverpool Parish Church, the Church of Our Lady and Saint Nicholas, has been a place of worship since the 13th Century and overlooks the City's famous 3 Graces. The Liverpool Plinth is installed on the Chapel Street side of the church and is part of an annual project to enrich public spaces and use art to add colour and excitement to the public realm. Bringing together Liverpool BID Company, the Parish Church and dot-art, as part of the Public Art Strategy in place within the City's Commercial District.

The current work installed on The Liverpool Plinth is Gail Dooley's Tidal Shame. The piece, created by the Yorkshire based artist, depicts a ceramic gannet, a seabird common in Liverpool, entangled by authentic sea plastic and detritus collected on beach shores across the UK and Merseyside.

Lucy Byrne, Director of dot-art, says:- "At dot-art we are passionate about championing artists and bringing art to people in accessible ways. We've seen, so powerfully this past year, how art can communicate ideas and bring people together like nothing else. We are looking for artworks that inspire, that challenge, that inform or that cast light onto a little known topic."

The Rector of Liverpool, the Revd Canon Dr Crispin Pailing, says:- "The Liverpool Plinth continues to be an exciting project for us and we look forward to the 2021 sculpture. Each sculpture has been so different, provoking conversation and exploring new ideas. The Church has a long history promoting the visual arts, and Liverpool Parish Church continues to do that in the 21st Century."

Bill Addy, chief executive of Liverpool BID Company and chair of LVEN (Liverpool Visitor Economy Network), says:- "Public art is such a vital ingredient of our work at Liverpool BID Company and our Public Art Strategy for the Commercial District animates public spaces, but it also encourages people to come and visit. Public art has been a major highlight for people on their walks in 2020 and it has helped us to discover new corners and new stories about our City. That's exactly what it is for. The Liverpool Plinth is a vital place for us to champion artists across the North of England, in a year when they need more support than ever before. We are delighted to be inviting an artist to come and write a new chapter in the everlasting story of Liverpool."

Gail Dooley, sculptor of Tidal Shame and the current inhabitant of The Liverpool Plinth says:- "I would urge any artist to submit their work for consideration for The Liverpool Plinth. The Parish Church is such a beautiful location and the support of public art, in 1 of the North of England's most cultural Cities, is something to be proud of. I am delighted Tidal Shame, and the ideas and provocations around the artwork, have been able to reach a new and curious audience in the City."

The new sculpture will be chosen by the same process as the previous 3; via Open Call. It is available to any artist working primarily in sculpture based in the North of England to submit existing work. The application process opened on Monday, 18 January 2021 and closes, on Friday, 19 March 20201, at 23.59. The selected artist will also receive a ₤1,000 prize.  The application form is at:- Dot-Art.Co.UK.

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