The Margate School has been awarded a capital grant of £400,000 by the Community Ownership Fund.
The Margate School’s new landlord has issued the group with a 25 year lease for former Woolworths building in the High Street where it has been based since 2019.
The funding means TMS can now undertake some of the urgent remedial work that the building needs and helps secure the future of the grassroot organization.
The Woolworths building stood empty for 11 years before The Margate School took up some space in 2019 and began to improve the site using its own funds while recycling donated materials, equipment and furnishings for around 80% of the interior.
Uwe Derksen, Director and founder of The Margate School, said: “The fund from central Government allows the School to significantly improve its working environment and thus increase its value for the communities of Margate.
“The funding success is an important step in our mission to become an authentic community asset in and for Margate.
“Being awarded the capital grant comes at a great moment for us at the beginning of the new academic year and will no doubt inspire our new cohort of students. It is good to see how the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities continues to be confident in ‘The Margate School initiative’. My gratitude also goes out to all the local organisations and individuals who have supported the School and continue to believe in the School’s work.”
The funding will cover essential works, including the improvement of insulation and adding a heating system into the building, helping it to become a key creative hub for Margate and further afield.
James Shea, Chair of Trustees of The Margate School CIO, said: “This substantial grant from the Community Ownership Fund demonstrates the Government’s confidence in The Margate School as a model of community embedded education and knowledge exchange, helping us to nurture the next generation of socially and environmentally driven artists and designers, connecting people through our vibrant multi-disciplinary programmes and bringing communities together to forge better futures.
“It will firmly underpin The Margate School’s ability to build confidence with, and attract funding and investment from, patrons, donors and individual givers alongside public and charitable sources.”
At the beginning of this year a fundraising target of £50,000 to save The Margate School from immediate closure was raised in just three weeks.
TMS faced threat of closure after several recent funding bids failed to materialise but was saved following fundraisers and the long lease from the new owner of its building .
The Government announced the list of successful applications yesterday (September 25).