We’ve got a lot to celebrate as we go into Autumn with the fantastic news that Creative Stirling’s application to The Adapt & Thrive Fund was successful. This means that we can finally start redeveloping the first floor of our brilliant space at 44 King Street to be a creative enterprise and city centre cultural venue fit for a changed world, as the pandemic continues to affect the lives and fortunes of our creative workforce and the diverse communities that we work with.
The AAT fund is part of the £25m Community and Third Sector Recovery Programme announced by the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government on 2nd September 2020 and was part of the wider Scottish Government Third Sector response to the COVID-19 pandemic, working with organisations across the third sector to adapt to the challenges presented by COVID-19 and build back better to thrive in the future. Which the grant will now enable Creative Stirling to do!
The programme is delivered in partnership by Firstport, Corra Foundation, SCVO, Just Enterprise, Community Enterprise and Social Investment Scotland. We have had further good news regarding match funding that we will be able to share, soon to make up the full amount we need for the refurbishment works that will provide an enhanced event space with catering kitchen for events (and available for hire) with bar facilities and additional exhibition space for our collective – there will also be a new shared artist studio space and additional teaching kitchens which will be the new HQ for which the entity that is ‘The Kitchen at 44’ a Community Interest Company founded by Sara McMillan that instigated the Community Food Share project in response to the needs of many Stirling residents through lockdown.
With the investment we need, Creative Stirling Hub will have a stable future as a busy and commercially successful community venue on the High Street of our small city. This adaptation of our business model, to have new studio space for artists, community and additional teaching kitchens and enhanced event space, will lead to new income generation and increase the general footfall in the building, which will in turn translate into more business opportunity and growth. Pre-Covid we had begun to create a welcoming space to access creative opportunity for health and wellbeing with scant resource. Coming out of the crisis, we are more organisationally robust, focused and investment ready. Having an in-house food offering will enhance our venue event space, lead to cost savings and increased profits. Over the course of the pandemic, we’ve had the opportunity to talk to people who have benefited most from the emergency food project, and programmes that we will deliver now have been informed by the work undertaken through the pandemic and as a result of feedback from our community. The emergency food project greatly enhanced our engagement with the least advantaged in our community.
Working in collaboration with community partners will be the route to achieve more for our community than we could working independently. Equal access to the means to thrive by making creativity and culture accessible remains a priority for both Creative Stirling and The Kitchen at 44 who share the vision for a community-led creative space with co-designed projects and programmes that make a real difference to people’s lives. Working together, we have creatively reinvigorated a large retail store that was at risk of joining the long list of vacant properties on King Street, with success evidenced by 218% increase in turnover in the first year we were operating, pre-covid.
The award from Adapt and Thrive and working in partnership with the Kitchen at 44 will allow us to align with new green recovery and wellbeing economy priorities, from which we can plan projects that work for our local communities, based on the essential synergies of food, culture and creative enterprise in the context of our ‘Place’.