The Wilderness' Alex Claridge appointed as West Midland's New Night Time Economy Advisor

Alex South

Alex South


The Wilderness’ Chef Owner Alex Claridge has been appointed as the new Night Time Economy Advisor by the West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA).

In his role, Alex will act as a champion for the region’s pubs, clubs, bars, concert venues, theatres and restaurants following on from the fallout of Covid pandemic, Brexit, and the implications of the ongoing cost of living crisis.

Alex will help bring businesses together with wider stakeholders to lobby for, and achieve, investment and action, whilst helping the WMCA and local authorities create a thriving and safe night-time economy.

Commenting on the appointment, Alex said: "It is a privilege to offer my time and energy to the city and wider region that has been so very kind to me over the years. Our region would be a very dull place indeed without the continued existence and evolution of the many spaces and places that animate our evenings."

Highlighting the issues faced within the hospitality, Alex said: "I know many of my peers today are cornered - rising energy prices, staff shortages, strikes, rapidly increasing costs, and the rest of it. With such talent in our region, it is my good fortune to be asked to serve as the West Midland’s first Night Time Economy Advisor and it is my promise that I will fight alongside you to achieve change. We will fight present challenges together, and we will celebrate the dynamic future I still believe in for hospitality together."

Julie Nugent, WMCA’s executive director for economic delivery, skills and communities, said: "Alex’s role will play a huge part in the creation of jobs for local people in hospitality venues across the region and we want to ensure that he will look towards generating a buzz for the already exciting nightlife in the West Midlands, as well coming up with ideas to attract new visitors that will bring in the custom for our local businesses to thrive."

She added: "He has already shown to be a huge advocate for the West Midland’s pubs, clubs, bars, concert venues, theatres and restaurants and it will be exciting to see him use his voice to get the best for all businesses and the people who need them.”

Alex was chosen for the role following a WMCA recruitment process that also involved Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA.

In his part-time, voluntary, role, Alex will work closely with Lawrence Barton, Birmingham City Council's night-time champion, who will also now have a closer working relationship with the WMCA and access to its resources as the authority ramps up its support for the hospitality and nightlife sectors as part of its Plan for Growth.

As well as working alongside the WMCA’s Hospitality Skills Taskforce chair Glynn Purnell, and the West Midlands Hospitality and Tourism Advisory Board which he will be co-opted onto, Alex will also have a close relationship with the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) trade body.

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Alex South

Alex South

Editor 2nd May 2023

The Wilderness' Alex Claridge appointed as West Midland's New Night Time Economy Advisor