Margate project to revitalise ‘ghost premises’ receives £499,000 government funding

The Margate School scheme will be based in several areas including the old Midlands Bank

A Margate project to open a fabrications laboratory, which is predicted to create 80 jobs in two years, has been awarded government funding.

The Margate School has been successful in a bid for £499,000 from the Coastal Communities Fund to provide early technological support for the ‘creative cluster’ that has grown up around Turner  Contemporary.

The aim is to help revitalise ‘ghost premises’ with The Margate School taking up space in the High Street ‘Pop Up’ facility for digital printing and imaging with analogue. The school will also use the old Midland Bank building and adjacent shop premises for specific enterprise training/workshops for desk-based support and mentoring sessions.

There will be internships for students and emerging creative professionals and the equipment will be available to local creative businesses alongside professionals for training and prototyping and testing purposes.

Uwe Derksen, TMS director and long-term Westgate resident with 30 years’ experience of managing arts ventures in the university sector, said : “We are delighted to have been awarded this sum to kick-start the initiative and will soon be setting up  Kent’s first Fabrications Laboratory providing 3-D printing and similar facilities to  reinforce Thanet’s booming reputation as the place to be.

“The award shows massive confidence in Margate and means we can start to plan for phase two, establishing  permanent premises and developing tailored courses and, not least, cultivating our national and international links for the good of the wider East Kent economy as a whole.

Town Team member Richard Ash with Uwe Derksen from The Margate School

“We aim to act as a role model for regeneration. This is only the beginning of  implementing that dream that our patron Arnold Schwartzman, an old Margate Art School student (and now Hollywood director) and I together with Hugo Fenwick of Fenwicks Department Stores, have long nurtured. Our time has come and we shall be holding a networking session later this year to commence business.”

Enterprise-based courses and talks will be delivered through creative specialists in their field and there will be two industry networking events introducing Margate to the FabLab network with representation from universities, corporates and ‘maker-spaces’.

The Margate School is a Charitable Incoporated Company and says it will be an internationally connected liberal arts school which will in due course offer apprenticeships and post-graduate degrees.

The plan is to be accredited by L’Ecole Superieure d’Art et Design Le Havre-Rouen for co-delivery of Fine Art Mas and to  run multi-disciplinary courses.

By Year 5 it aims to be taking 3,000 students with creative and digital economy initiatives run in partnership with Canterbury Christ Church and other education establishments.

The Margate scheme is one of 16 successful ‘Fast Track’ projects receiving a share of £6 million.

Find out more about The Margate School here

A Ramsgate bid

Photo Tom Parsons

Funding for successful main round applications will be announced in December 2018/January 2019. Among the projects bidding is a scheme for a hotel and wedding venue at the Smack Boys’ Home and Sailors’ Church in Ramsgate.

A submission was made by Thanet council to the Coastal Communities Fund in May. The bid would involve conversion, and extensive repair work, to the Military Road properties. Historic features would be retained and the church will also be kept.

Stage 2 invites for those successfully passing the first round were made this Summer. Full applications, business plan, and capital delivery plans then need to be completed and lodged by October 15.

Thanet council has been asked if the project has successfully made Stage 2.