What does it mean when your city is selected as the next UK City of Culture?
[caption id="attachment_3294" align="alignleft" width="296" caption="Typical coworkers at The Deep, a renowned aquarium and business centre in Hull"][/caption]
To BCA Member Freya Cross, who runs a business and conference centre at The Deep in Hull, it's an "amazing achievement" that signals big change for a 'city coming out of the shadows'.
Hull has plenty to shout about - not least its established attractions such as the historic Old Town, the Museum Quarter, Ferens Gallery and Hull Marina.
Perhaps one of its best-known landmarks is The Deep, an award-winning public aquarium overlooking the Humber estuary, and it's here that BCA member Freya Cross runs a successful business and conference centre.
"There is definitely a feel good factor around the city following the announcement," said Freya, speaking to the BCA after Hull had successfully clinched the 2017 title. "Such a lot of work went into the bid, and the team never gave up despite being called 'the dark horse'. It was a unanimous vote by the judging panel that Hull had put in the most compelling case based on its theme as 'a city coming out of the shadows'."
The Deep has actively supported Hull's bid, having sponsored the official Hull2017 campaign and other events such as Hull Freedom Festival and the 2013 Comedy Festival.
Looking ahead, The Deep is engaged in a programme of events with the Hull bid team. "The programme includes a full 365 days of events as well as major festivals, artists in residence, installations and more," explained Freya. "There is no doubt that The Deep will be a key venue, as it has been in 2013."
This offers an exciting prospect for the aquarium's business centre and for a workspace operator who has long been an advocate of the flexible workspace industry.
Businesses regularly strive to identify and market a specific niche to their consumers, and The Deep's on-site business centre occupies a somewhat special location that certainly sets it apart. After all, clients count sharks and manta rays as their neighbours. And what's more, it has a truly unique offering - it is the only workspace that resides in a submarium, anywhere in the world.
With Hull very much in the spotlight, The Deep Business Centre has a golden opportunity to enhance and promote its reputation further. So what does the future hold for Freya and the team?
"The range of events and installations planned for 2017 will undoubtedly see thousands more visitors flocking to Hull to see what we have to offer," she said. "This will give local businesses like us the chance to shine to an audience who perhaps would not have visited before. Increased business growth in any one sector is bound to have a knock on effect in other sectors which is a wonderful opportunity for The Deep Business Centre."
Of course, the title is expected to bring long-term benefits that will promote great change long after 2017 has come and gone.
"I hope that this will start to change people's perceptions of Hull and attract important inward investment," added Freya.
"It did bring a tear to my eye when I heard the news. It's an amazing achievement for Hull. Never again will our city have the reputation some people have put on it - Hull really is moving forward."