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Community Ownership Fund

The Margate School is very pleased to announce that it has been awarded a capital grant of £400,000 by the Community Ownership Fund.

Following the support of The Margate School’s new landlord issuing the School with a 25 year lease for the building, the funding will enable us over the next year to undertake some of the urgent remedial work that the former Woolworths building requires, and thus help to preserve this important community asset in Margate's High Street. It will help us to build a future of our grassroot organisation, The Margate School, creating real community value for Margate.


The building stood empty for eleven years before The Margate School took up some space in 2019 and commenced to improve the building using its own funds whilst re- or upcycling donated materials, equipment and furnishings, making up 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. Having been 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 new funds will cover essential works, including the improvement of insulation and adding a heating system into the building. It will provide an important basis for developing the School onto the next level of becoming a key creative hub in Margate and further afield.


“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.”, said James Shea, Chair of Trustees, The Margate School CIO.


The Government announced the list of successful applications on Monday 25 September 2023.

Future of cherished local pubs, museums and sports clubs secured with £12.3m levelling up boost - GOV.UK (

The Margate School is an independent, not-for-profit, postgraduate liberal arts school situated in the former Woolworths building since 2019 that had stood empty on Margate High Street since 2008. The not-for-profit organisation, which currently supports a community of around 100 students, artists, designers and makers from a wide range of practices, offers not only a European Fine Art Masters, accredited in France by the higher education art school Esä, alongside year-long practice-developmental courses in Sound Arts, Graphic Design and The Still & Moving Image, but also provides a platform for creative work, supporting artists and makers with affordable studio and gallery space, alongside a community sculpture garden. TMS creates real positive change in people’s lives, supporting, empowering and actively working to level up the community. As such The Margate School is a diverse creative community of artists, makers, students, academics and volunteers located in the vibrant coastal town of Margate, Kent. As a not-for-profit postgraduate liberal arts school at the heart of this community, we focus on the role of the arts in social and environmental justice.


Students are offered postgraduate study with international links and the rigour of a qualification accredited by our partner Esä, a leading French higher education art school based in Dunkerque and Tourcoing. We take a radical, democratic approach to arts education, equipping every student to envision, shape and navigate an uncertain future. TMS supports artists and makers to develop a sustainable creative practice and provides an exciting alternative to mainstream arts education.


The Margate School LTD is a Registered Not for Profit. Registered number - 09629126

The Margate School CIO is a Registered Charity. Charity Number - 1203446

26th September 2023

The Isle of Thanet News

Announcement of the Community Ownership Fund award to The Margate School has been published in The Isle of Thanet News.

Please click below to read the full article.

January 2024

During January of 2024, works to the main gallery area of the building had commenced and therefore the building had to be closed to the public. During this time, a large poster was displayed in the window to keep the public informed about what was happening in the building.


Works to the building are underway

January 2024


We also kept the public up to date with the latest news via social media on our Instagram and Facebook accounts.

February 2024

ig9 Consultants appointed as Project Managers

ig9 Consultants have been appointed as Project Managers of the community project at The Margate School. During February of 2024 they posted about their appointment on LinkedIn.

IG9 Linked In.jpg

March 2024

Proposed design plans are unveiled to the public

Large printed plans have been put on public display in the high street windows of The Margate School to illustrate our proposals for the improvements to the building.


Another large printed poster is displayed in the High Street facing windows to allow members of the public to see the plans for works within the building.

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