Heritage Lab teams up with the Ramsgate Arts Barge to create a new arts hub for the community

19th November 2020

Heritage Lab CIC has joined forces with the Ramsgate Arts Barge CIC, to turn a 130-year old, 51-metre Dutch barge into a floating arts space to benefit the Ramsgate community and its visitors.

Ramsgate Arts Barge CIC purchased the vessel earlier this year and has launched a Crowdfunder campaign to raise vital funds to begin the renovation of the Dutch barge ‘Vriendschap’ – Dutch for friendship – into a waterfront family-friendly community arts hub for all.

Kevin O’Connor, Co-Director of Ramsgate Arts Barge CIC, said: “In these challenging times, the project aims to create much-needed good news, unite the community and create an incredible arts space in the heart of Ramsgate. We are thrilled to have already received registrations for over 100 volunteers who are ready to get involved with the scheme.”

Although COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the arts sector across the country, the barge aims to open in September 2021, in time for Ramsgate’s 200th year celebrations of being the UK’s only Royal Harbour, granted by King George IV in 1821.

The project will create 400 square metres of multi-faceted arts, events and performance space. There are plans already in place for the space to host a year-round diverse offering of artistic events including visual arts, exhibitions, comedy, theatre, art installations, music, cabaret, film screenings, spoken word, poetry, debates, talks and community events. In addition, a wide range of child and adult-friendly art courses, classes and workshops will also be available.

“The research we published with Canterbury Christ Church University earlier this year demonstrated a huge demand for heritage creative space in the local area,” added Rob Kenyon CEO of Heritage Lab CIC. “This floating arts community will be a brilliant curiously creative flagship, and we are delighted to be working with the talented team at the Ramsgate Arts Barge to make this happen”.

The key aims and objectives of the ‘Ramsgate Arts Barge’ project are to:

        • Create new job opportunities & volunteer opportunities for the community.
        • Boost and stimulate the local economy by driving increased footfall, day-trippers, overnight stays and tourism into Ramsgate.
        • Provide free access to the arts for all school children across the Thanet district, which currently ranks as the most deprived local authority in Kent, through a series of programmes, workshops and events.
        • Provide ten hours per week free community studio hire to all schools, colleges, charities, not-for-profits, performing arts groups and all societies, with a social aim and objective operating across Ramsgate, Thanet and Kent.
        • Re-invest Ramsgate Arts Barge profits back into the project and local community initiatives, to help address local issues and help those in the community who need it most.
        • Improve the wellbeing of the local community through the arts

To find out further information and support the Ramsgate Arts Barge Crowdfund Campaign, visit:

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