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Ideas Test to quit Sittingbourne for Gillingham

Swale art group Ideas Test is quitting its Sittingbourne home after five years.

It has been at 34, High Street, a converted gas showroom, since 2015 but is moving to Gillingham next month.

Ideas Test director Lucy Medhurst (27204302)
Ideas Test director Lucy Medhurst (27204302)

Director Lucy Medhurst said: “We have had a brilliant time working in Sittingbourne but now it is time to work in new, more agile ways."

Audience development officer Kyra Cross said; “Ideas Test has always believed in going where the people are.

"Last year we took the touring show Blink to Sheerness and Sea Folk Sing performed in a number of venues including Sheerness East Working Men's Club and at Gillingham FC’s Priestfield Stadium."

The group's new base will be in Kingsley House a stone's throw from the stadium and opposite Gillingham railway station.

Kyra stressed: “We will still be working in Sittingbourne and on Sheppey as well as across Medway but in community centres, libraries and other surprising places rather than in one fixed location."

Kyra Cross of Ideas Test, Sittingbourne (26972467)
Kyra Cross of Ideas Test, Sittingbourne (26972467)

She said the move was unconnected with their landlords Spirit of Sittingbourne having the second phase of the town's regeneration axed by Swale council's new administration.

She insisted: "We made the decision before that. This is a new decade and a chance to do things differently. We will be sad to leave No 34 but the future is exciting. We can work anywhere now."

New deputy director Tracy Brunt joined the team on Monday.

The last events before the move, on February 4, included a Digital Natives session and free performing arts project LGBTQ+ Creatives. Both were run by youth programme manager Pedro Vaz and funded by homeless Kent charity Porchlight and Live Well Kent.

Ideas Test started life in 2012 when a group of Swale and Medway individuals and organisations formed a consortium led by Swale CVS to apply for funding from Arts Council England’s Creative People and Places programme.

Ideas Test offices in Sittingbourne High Street. Picture: Google (27525111)
Ideas Test offices in Sittingbourne High Street. Picture: Google (27525111)

It was one of the first to receive the cash to encourage the arts in deprived areas.

To contact Ideas Test, call 07713 865955, email contact@ideastest.co.uk or visit the Facebook page ideastest

Read more: Stories from Sittingbourne here.

Read more: Stories from Medway here.

Tania Holland-Williams, left, and Emily Peasgood with Kevin Grist and Lucy Medhurst and the 55-plus choir at Queenborough railway station performing Never Again. Picture: John Nurden
Tania Holland-Williams, left, and Emily Peasgood with Kevin Grist and Lucy Medhurst and the 55-plus choir at Queenborough railway station performing Never Again. Picture: John Nurden

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