South East Creatives encourages businesses in the creative, cultural and digital sectors to take advantage of a new £5.1 million grants and support programme. South East Creatives awarded a grant to Cherry Truluck, Managing Director of Custom Folkestone.
I am Cherry Truluck, I’m the chef and managing director of Custom Folkestone C.I.C. - a hub for knowledge exchange, artistic exploration and research about food and food production systems. To date, Custom has primarily operated as a restaurant supporting a range of community activities (including our own community garden, the Locavore Garden, and time banking initiative Folkeshare), alongside a highly successful artistic programme (curated by Madeleine Hodge). In 2020, we are refining our practice and moving forward with a clearer business plan that focuses on developing community interaction through food/arts practices.
How South East Creatives has supported my business:
South East Creatives support (alongside funding from Arts Council England and the Kent Community Foundation), has afforded us the opportunity to both develop our physical space (with additional kitchen equipment), and research/reflect on our own practice. We have discovered our strengths and explored new ways of working, ultimately realising a new direction for our work.
By investing in research and development, we were able to take our arts programme to higher level, including additional artists and researchers in our recent festival “Something Held in the Mouth” which convened dialogues around the way food crosses boundaries and creates connections across the world, exploring the intersections between art, food and local markets to forge new alliances through geopolitical conversations. Research and development has included building collaborative relationships with other organisations including Platforma, Jan Van Eyck Food Lab and the Delfina Foundation.
Funding for staff meant we were able to work with the exceptional curator Madeleine Hodge and also employ Helen Davison as a producer - both of whom contributed to far more than just the festival, by ensuring that the work and evaluation had real impact on Custom’s day-to-day working practices.
South East Creatives also provided funding for a new volunteer and events co-ordinator, through whom we have supported the launch and early development of Folkeshare, a community Time Banking initiative which represents an evolution of our existing bartering and exchange system. The funding has also allowed us to invest in additional equipment and host larger events, reaching out to a wider community, from our community meals (which have attracted up to 120 people) to our garden-to-table cookery clubs for children.
Most recently, we have begun taking our work out into the community, creating events on sites of production, allying our work with radical and thoughtful food producers and allowing us to really explore cycles of growth, consumption and waste and their relation to climate realities - which is something we hope to take forward in the coming year.
Without the support, we would not have been able to develop our business plan in its new direction because we have used the grant to expand our capacity to work with local and international communities of growers and artists, thereby enabling a glimpse of what we are capable of in the long-term.
Image credit: Community Meal © Bartle Halpin Photography