The results of the first piece of targeted research into the creative sector in Ramsgate are published today, providing compelling evidence of a town enjoying a cultural renaissance with exciting potential for future growth.

Heritage Lab CIC and Canterbury Christ Church University worked in partnership on the Creative Ramsgate project, with funding from Locate in Kent and Arts Council England. The research not only mapped current creative businesses in Ramsgate but also sought to identify the future scale and need for workspace in the area, vital to future growth.

The research also explored ways funders and investors could better support the local creative industries and determine how Ramsgate might grow as a creative hub. Key findings from the survey, included:

  • Ramsgate’s creative sector is nearly three times larger than 10 years ago thanks mainly to a significant influx of new businesses to the area.
  • The vast majority of those who responded to the research are in music, performing and visual arts by some distance, with film, radio and television the next largest group. Crafts, publishing, advertising, marketing and design were also represented.
  • With microbusinesses (0-9 employees) representing the vast majority of respondents

there was an emphasis on a welcoming, supportive and networked community

  • Investment and business networks along with suitable premises were identified as priority needs for respondents, along with greater access to skills and business support and advice.

Rob Kenyon, CEO and Founder, Heritage Lab CIC, said: “At nearly three times larger than 10 years ago, this report provides evidence that Ramsgate is a growing and vibrant creative hub.

“It highlights the potential for Ramsgate’s amazing heritage buildings to help fulfil the need for suitable business premises and Heritage Lab will use the report to help identify sites to regenerate into curiously creative spaces.”

Professor Mike Weed, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) at Canterbury Christ Church University, said: “This report is the first research to map the creative and digital economy in Ramsgate. Involving more than 220 respondents it shows a thriving and growing sector that has benefited from the migration of businesses from London, but is also in need of suitable premises locally, business support and investment to expand further.

“We are delighted to work in partnership with Heritage Lab CIC on this project as Research Lead. As a University we are committed to working with our local communities to support the regional economy. This project has helped to identify Ramsgate’s current position and its potential within the creative industries in Kent and the Thames Estuary Production Corridor.”

Gavin Cleary, CEO, Locate in Kent, said: “We know that many creative industries and start-ups are concentrated in areas with a rich heritage– and the results of this survey back up the key role Ramsgate has to play in the sector.

“Ramsgate is ideally placed as a prime location for those wanting to invest or relocate in Kent. This research will provide invaluable insight for investors and business leaders about the future opportunities in the town.

“The research comes at an exciting time for the creative industries in Kent with investment and exciting projects underway that will unlock the potential of this corner of the South East and put the region on the map as a global centre of excellence.”

Emma Wilcox, Project Director, Creative Estuary, said: “Ramsgate is an important partner to the Creative Estuary project as this latest research shows. Heritage Lab’s plans to regenerate historic buildings within the Ramsgate Heritage Action Zone and Conservation Area, will create more employment opportunities and the space urgently needed to enable our burgeoning creative industries to thrive.”

The results of the research, completed by the University at the end of this summer via an online public survey, perfectly illustrates the growing attractiveness of the broader South East for this sector, identified by Whitehall as a key priority for the UK’s future economic growth. A total of 228 respondents took part.

Ramsgate offers excellent connectivity to London, lower property prices and a growing talent pool, underpinned by its rich heritage and vibrant cultural scene. The culture-led revival of Margate has also helped kickstart wider regeneration in the area.

It comes as momentum builds to transform the Thames Estuary region, including towns and communities along the Kent and Essex coastline, into a global powerhouse for cultural and creative production.  Projects like Heritage Lab CIC are playing a key role in that, taking historic buildings and giving them a new purpose in the 21st century.

The vision for the Thames Estuary Production Corridor (TEPC) is the creation of the UK’s densest concentration of production activity, with the potential to ultimately create 50,000+ jobs across the region from Thurrock to Thanet. The results of the University survey reveal the existing opportunities and challenges that need to be overcome to maximise the town’s future potential as part of this broader story.

The Creative Ramsgate report from Heritage CIC can be downloaded here: https://www.canterbury.ac.uk/arts-and-humanities/docs/Ramsgate-Survey-2019.pdf

Notes to editors

About Locate in Kent

  • Locate in Kent’s role to promote Kent and Medway as a business location and support the creation of new jobs is funded and supported by Kent County Council, Medway Council, local councils, the Kent Developers Group – a partnership of the area’s leading commercial property developers – and partners from the private sector.
  • European Regional Development Fund – The project has received £1,751,891 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.  For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.
  • For more information about Locate in Kent, call 01732 520700, email enquiries@locateinkent.com or visit www.locateinkent.com

About Heritage Lab CIC

Heritage Lab is a not for profit established in August 2018. We want to help to regenerate our town. We believe that Ramsgate’s unique and rich heritage provides the key to unlocking regeneration. We will revitalize historic buildings and community assets to create work and community space, employment and enhance pride in our town. We believe that using our expertise to unlock grant and philanthropic investment wisely, we can regenerate buildings and places that would otherwise not be commercially viable. We believe that our community and partners have the skills and expertise to support us, and the desire to make it happen.

Heritage Lab CIC was established to unlock the social and economic potential of historic buildings and community assets. In 2017 our founder led the project with Historic England, local councils and several community organisations to ensure that Ramsgate was the first place in the UK to be established as a Heritage Action Zone. Many of its 450 listed buildings are in a state of poor repair, empty or underused; yet they could represent a powerful tool in the regeneration process. Focusing mainly on the expanding creative sector, we will use our skills and expertise, and those of our partners and community; to bring Ramsgate’s heritage

buildings and community assets back into sustainable use, creating high quality community space, workspace and jobs and enhance pride in our town. Complementing other regeneration initiatives, we believe this will reinforce a sense of community, rejuvenate the local economy and provide a catalyst for improvements to the wider area. Over time, we aim to revitalise the overall quality of the built environment and boost health and wellbeing among Ramsgate’s remarkable residents through their participation in our curiously creative spaces.

About Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with 15,300 students across Kent and Medway. Its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.

  • 93% of our recent UK undergraduates were in employment or further studies six months after completing their studies*.
  • We are one of the South East’s largest providers of education, training and skills leading to public service careers.

*2017/18 Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey

About Creative Estuary

Creative Estuary is the name of the first significant cross-Estuary project to support TEPC’s vision with an ambition to unlock long term and transformational culture led growth in creative places across North Kent and South Essex.

A successful bid to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) earlier this year, led by the University of Kent and the South East Creative Economy Network (SECEN) on behalf of a number of partners, secured £4.3 million in funding, with a further £2.7 million in support and investment from partners.

The aim of the project is to provide the spark that will lead the way for sustainable jobs and opportunities in the creative sector for towns like Ramsgate and others across the Thames Estuary, from Gravesham and the Medway Towns in Kent to Southend-on-Sea, Basildon and Purfleet in Essex.


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