I moved to Ramsgate in 2008. Every morning, I’d walk across the roof of the old motor museum and look down at its derelict gardens below and the litter strewn terrace. It was a blight on the area, used by the local drug users and rough sleepers but it had such marvellous potential. I asked around, “who is going to save this building because if it falls down it will be a major disaster for Ramsgate?”
I am one of the founders of Women in Film and Television and ran it for the first four years. The board included some of the most powerful women in the British film and television industry which was tough but a great training. I had also worked as a head of finance at One Plus One, a charity which by the time I left had a million pound turnover. So I was very familiar with the principles of good governance and I’m persistent (some would say relentless), I decided I would take on the task of saving the building.
I approached Thanet District Council which owns the building. They told me to go away and do a business plan and put together an influential board. My friend Clare Grayston helped me recruit an impressive group of people with a broad range of skills to be trustees.
Ramsgate Arts did an event called Love Hate Hope: Ramsgate in 2009. It had 900 people through the door in three days. I used the findings from that event and talked to local people of all ages to put together a business case based around what the town needed and wanted.
It has been a long slow process but we are currently in the pre-planning phase. The project is gathering momentum and the plans from our architect Guy Hollaway promise a truly exciting facility for Thanet. The partnership with Ellington and Hereson School is hugely rewarding. Now that Jo Mapp, who has enormous skill and experience at running community events, has joined the staff Project MotorHouse can move things up to the next level.
Community Engagement Officer
Jo Mapp worked within the television industry as an actress for several years and also as production controller for a London based publisher before deciding on a life in the sun. After five years in Andalucia she returned home to the UK with her young family.
Since living in Ramsgate Jo has developed various community groups such as Ramsgate African Drummers, Crafty Bitches and Pop Up Ramsgate and has worked extensively with various community groups and organisations such as Ramsgate Carnival and Friends of Ramsgate Seafront.