The Margate School hits fundraising target to save it from imminent closure

The Margate School

A fundraising target of £50,000 to save The Margate School from immediate closure has been raised in just three weeks.

The Margate School (TMS), an independent, postgraduate, liberal arts school, and a not-for-profit organisation with an asset lock in place, faced threat of imminent closure after several recent funding bids failed to materialise.

The arts school launched a fundraiser in  bid to secure its short-term future and a swell of public support resulted in £41,106 by direct donations and an additional £12,500 sent by cheque from a long term supporter of Margate and its environs.

The Margate School community with Uwe Derksen (front) Photo David Babaian

A message with the cheque reads: “I am happy to support The Margate School which I consider to be a wonderful facility to encourage young budding artists to explore the extent of their talents, and encourage further artists to come to the Margate area, which has such a long history of artistic creation.

“Margate has so much character and the town centre art school can only be encouraging for artists endeavours, which is ultimately beneficial for the whole community.”

The Margate School at the Woolworths building

Some 400 messages of support were sent to TMS and the community has pulled together by creating artworks for Save The Margate School posters and social media posts, public projection on venues around Margate and donations to online auctions which raised £1,329.50.

A TMS Benefit No Surrender gig featuring live music, comedy and art will also be held on March 4-5, with acts to be announced and ticket sales launched at the beginning of February.

The £50,000 raised so far means TMS can continue current teaching provision and implement plans to secure the future in the long term. It ensures that all the current students can complete their courses this academic year and the studios, exhibition space and facilities will remain open to the community.

Uwe Derksen (speaking) of The Margate School Photo Maria Gilbert

Uwe Derksen, founder and director of The Margate School, said: “This is more than an amazing achievement, given that we are already stretched running a complex organisation, the stress that everybody has been under because of the crisis and the very limited time we have had to turn this around.

“We, the team, are all on a very low, flat rate of pay and everyone gives well beyond their call of duty, the rest of our community then came out fighting followed by the wider community. “From the success of the fundraising and very importantly from the many many supportive comments, we come out of this crisis much more confident, knowing that we have an important role to play in the arts, in education and in the regeneration of Margate. A big thank you for all the support.”

Photo Isabelle de Ridder

The aim is to continue the fundraising to build a bursary fund to support students, studio holders, fellows and other community members in accessing technical training and facilities.

TMS also has to secures its space in the former Woolworths building in Margate High Street which is currently on the market for £1.85m, and is in negotiations with the owner and Margate Creative Land Trust and a private investor.

The TMS website support page is here

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