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Research reveals major growth in Ramsgate’s creative sector over last decade

27th November 2019

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 http://heritagelab.org.uk/research/

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