Opinion: Hull 2017 is leaving a legacy and changing the way people think

Much like Hull, the past few years have been highly significant for all of us at Hudgell Solicitors, with 2017 becoming the culmination of lots of planning and ambition.

Now at home in our new headquarters on the @TheDock development in the Fruit Market, we have found ourselves at the heart of the UK City of Culture celebrations, and it has been a joy.

Hardly a day passes without seeing the next fantastic event being set up close to our offices, whether it be a concert, festival or new exhibition. It started with the amazing sight of Made In Hull being projected onto The Deep and it continues today.

From Humber Street Sesh to Freedom Festival – and of course the BBC Proms in the outdoor amphitheatre next to our headquarters – it has been a truly inspiring year which has done wonders for the image and reputation of the city.

Of course, Hull’s appeal is something we have always been aware of. Hudgell Solicitors is a business with its roots firmly set in Hull, and with a large number of staff who live in the city and have their lives engrained in it.

We are proud to be based in the city, and to have moved into such an impressive building in a key area of redevelopment. Investing heavily into our home city when choosing to buy our new offices was a significant move. It came as we enjoyed growth in other major UK cities, with new offices also bought in London and Leeds. Hull though, will always be our home.

We wanted to demonstrate our long-term commitment to the city. It reflected our belief that Hull is a great place to do business; it certainly has been for us for 20 years now, and continues to be so today.

We also felt it was important to support an ambitious development in a part of the city which has so much potential to become a focal point. The Fruit Market improves every day and it is fantastic to see.

We also felt it would be the perfect base to further raise our profile, and that has proven to be the case.

Hudgell Solicitors is now recognised as one of the top 150 law firms in the UK. We have been shortlisted for numerous national industry awards this year, and have solicitors recognised nationally as the leaders in their field. We are proud of our achievements.

We have also stepped into culture ourselves, recently commissioning globally recognised artist Laurence Vallières to bring her first public UK installation out of an art fair setting to Hull when working with us to highlight the issue of homelessness.

Spending a week in an empty unit in Humber Street, she created an incredible piece of art from recycled cardboard sheets, leaving the city with three stunning life-sized sculptures of a family of elephants – highly sought after pieces of world-class art.

Would we have done this without the inspiration of all that has happened in 2017, and having become involved as Business Club members? Probably not.

Will we be involved in more events around culture in the future? Yes we will. Plans are already being made.

The Hull 2017 team is achieving its goals. It is leaving a legacy and changing the way people think.

After 20 years in business, my message to staff is that if you stand still, you’ll go backwards. We must keep moving forward – just like our great city does.

Hudgell Solicitors is a Hull 2017 Business Club member.