The pandemic has been catastrophic to our children, our businesses, and our mental health. London has not suffered such a financial blow since the Blitz. The pandemic has cost the capital’s economy more than £ 50 billion in lost production since the first “stay at home” order was issued. More than 14,800 retail stores have closed forever since the initial lockdown and 600,000 Londoners have lost their jobs in the hospitality industry.
We survived the worst. Now London is opening up again and it’s time to restart, reshape and rethink the way our city works and the way Londoners live their lives. Today the Evening Standard announces London Rising, its largest campaign yet aimed at bringing our great city back to life after the pandemic.
London Rising is a series of virtual events that will start over two days on Wednesday 28th and Thursday 29th April and last through May and June. It offers a diverse selection of high-profile executives, great thinkers and rising stars from politics, business, technology, art, sports, hospitality, fashion and retail. Consisting of solid keynote interviews and lively panel discussions, the series will explore how we can all work together to rebuild our city.
“Covid-19 has destroyed the economy and challenged our way of life. Every business, organization and person in London is affected and needs to recover quickly, ”said Emily Sheffield, editor of the Evening Standard. “The speed and extent of this city’s recovery are critical and we are in a unique position to do it with you. We have a strong legacy of campaigning on important issues and a history of government policies being challenged, influenced and changed to help London, its businesses and people. “
Among those appearing are former Prime Minister Tony Blair; Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Asia; leading London chefs Angela Hartnett and Asma Khan; and John Micklethwait, editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News. Many more names will be added to the line-up in the coming days and weeks. The opening events on April 28th and 29th offer a convincing overview of the challenges and opportunities that arise for our capital city and its employees. These sessions are followed by industry days, during which speakers examine the issues affecting their industry.
Business and Technology Day takes place on Wednesday May 12th and fashion, retail and hospitality on Wednesday May 26th. London Rising Sports and Fitness Day is Wednesday June 9th. This is close to a big summer of sport, including the euro, which starts on Friday 11 June when England play all of their group matches at Wembley.
The series ends with Arts and Culture Day on Wednesday June 16, a week before the scheduled abolition of all remaining Covid-19 restrictions on June 21. Interviews will be conducted and panels chaired by Evening Standard journalists, including Editor Emily Sheffield, City Editor Jim Armitage, Art Editor Nancy Durrant, and Sports Director James Major.
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair
/. Daniel Hambury / @ stellapicsltd
All events are free and due to their virtual nature there is no limit to the number. All you have to do to participate is register at londonrising.standard.co.uk. Sessions take place at noon to 2pm so Londoners can grab a sandwich, remove themselves from their inbox and immerse themselves in the fresh thinking, creative solutions and inspiring ideas of London Rising.
No lunch break? No problem: all sessions can be displayed after the transfer. One of the main interviews in the opening sessions will be with Nicola Mendelsohn from Facebook. The mother of four, who suffers from an incurable blood cancer, will talk about her personal and professional challenges over the past year and how best to support the smaller businesses in London.
London Rising is not just about rethinking the city’s economy, it’s also about reassessing how our society works
“Our studies show that more than half of small and medium-sized companies are struggling with lower sales compared to the previous year. These small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy and an integral part of our local communities. How we can support this sector is absolutely crucial, ”says Nicola. “At Facebook, we are focused on helping London’s brilliant business community grow through our tools and platforms and fueling the UK economy in our post-pandemic recovery. I look forward to discussing how we can accelerate this and help small businesses thrive in the London Rising series of events. ”
Mendelsohn will speak to Emily Sheffield. The opening sessions also include a live session of the Recovery Board, the leadership forum convened by the Evening Standard, which meets monthly to present comprehensive plans for the post-pandemic world, with an emphasis on long-term positive change. This month’s gathering, bringing together entrepreneurs, business leaders and creative voices, will focus on the challenges the arts and hospitality sector is facing to get Londoners back into the venues and onto the high street. The recovery board meetings previously took place behind closed doors. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to brainstorm the great London executives.
Bloomberg News editor in chief John Micklethwait
There will also be a series of panel discussions on April 28-29 that will address the issues that will come to the fore for Londoners as we emerge from lockdown into an uncertain future. Annie Auerbach – author of Flex, a guide to living and working on your own terms, and co-founder of the Starling insights agency, whose clients include Nike, Google and Unilever – will explore the future of our working lives, among other things. If the restrictions are lifted, will we continue to work from home, return to the office, or work a hybrid of the two? There is a wide range of views on this sensitive issue, with employers and employees, younger and older generations having very different attitudes, which should lead to a lively discussion.
The opening sessions will also look at diversity in the arts, business and beyond, asking what needs to be done now. And there will be a timely discussion on how to make our streets, schools, and social spaces safer for women after grief and anger surfaced in some schools following the death of Sarah Everard and recent allegations of a rape culture. Young Londoner Jake Saunders, who runs workshops in schools on behalf of Tender, a London art foundation that works with young people to prevent sexual violence, will be among his advisors.
London Rising is not just about rethinking the city’s economy, it’s also about reassessing how our society works – and this unique point in history seems like the perfect moment to do so. According to Emily Sheffield, Editor of the Evening Standard, “This is a tremendous opportunity for us to rethink and build better.” We hope you will join us in our mission to rise again in London.
London Rising: Your City, Your Future – Join the London Rising series of online events from April 28th to June 16th to discuss what’s next for our capital. Register for free: https://londonrising.standard.co.uk #LondonRising