Kent County Cllr and current Mayor of Ashford George Koowaree recently approved a £1,000 grant to help pay the costs to launch an education centre inside Ashford Arts Centre .
Once the education centre passes all inspections and is fully registered, KATFM plans to hire its current line-up of volunteers, currently running its training centre and after-school clubs, for a brand new daycare centre, extended day-holiday camps and college level qualifications in English, Music and Film.
The company has plans to expand into other parts of Kent which will lead to even more new jobs.
Ashford arts centre is the flagship project of KATFM. It is the first and currently the only dedicated Community Centre for the Creative and Performing Arts in Ashford.
Cllr Koowaree’s grant will help fund the launch of the new KATFM Education Centre located inside the AAC. Members of the community can learn music, film and languages. There will be a new pre-school provision and specialist college level courses for 16 – 19 year olds interested in a career in the Creative/Performing Arts.
Rhonda Merrick, Managing Director of KATFM stated “Small grants are incredibly important to self-funded projects like ours. Although we pay our own rent and day-to-day costs like any other business, our company is community focused and our main reason for existing is to provide affordable access to quality training and performance opportunities rather than turning a profit, this means there’s very little money left over to invest in building the project or creating jobs and ultimately, long-term stability for the arts centre, events and festivals we currently manage.”
The Kent County Council grant will pay the necessary costs for KATFM to become a registered education centre and to help spread the word in the community. According to Merrick, the grant is absolutely vital to help the company move forward to the next phase of the project.