The Tideswell School of Food – A Statement

It is with immense sadness and regret that on behalf of the Board Members of Taste Tideswell CIC I have to announce the closure of the Tideswell School of Food.

Taste Tideswell, the project, came about through a successful bid to the Big Lottery Fund’s Village SOS programme.  The bid started in August 2009 and in May 2010 we heard we had been successful.

Part of the requirement of that grant was that we had a business element to the project that would allow us to sustain the community part, Taste Tideswell; that business was Tideswell School of Food which opened at the beginning of December 2010.

We opened in the grip of a recession and whilst in theory that recession is over, it isn’t in the pockets of many people.  We were also bound by Big Lottery Fund rules that stipulated we had to spend our entire grant within the first year.  This undoubtedly caused us to grow too quickly amongst other problems.

Four years down the line, Taste Tideswell has achieved many notable successes.  The annual Food Festival has gone from strength to strength with over 6000 people attending this year to buy from our village shops and the 60+ stalls that came for the day.

The Community Kitchen Garden, behind the Institute, has become an important focal point of the village.  Taste Tideswell funded the clearance and landscaping of the garden. The team of keen volunteers who manage the garden have done sterling work there and the garden is a credit to their efforts. Children from the Tideswell Pre-school regularly help in the garden, and produce from there is always supplied to the lunch club for our elderly villagers.

Comparing the village in 2009 and now shows some big changes. Where many villages up and down the country have seen shops close and facilities die, Tideswell is thriving.  The Cherry Tree, Parlour Blue, Peak Volumes, The Dairy Parlour Café have all opened; a third cafe is opening in the new year and there are rumours of another shop opening too.  Moreover we haven’t lost any of our pubs either.

Tideswell School of Food was set up to support our retailers, promote good and locally sourced food and provide an income for Taste Tideswell activities.  It always had its local detractors but has established an excellent reputation in the region for the high quality courses it has put on.  We have employed some amazing staff who have put in hours of hard work to build that reputation. We have always sourced our supplies from within or as close to the village as possible and it is hoped that the community appreciate the invaluable asset that our local retailers are and continue to support them actively.

Sadly we have now come to a point that without severely cutting the quality of what we do, we are no longer sustainable as a business and we have taken the hard decision to close.

It is our sincere wish that the community part of the project, Taste Tideswell, can continue – the Food Festival and the Community Kitchen Garden.  However as of 6th October 2014 Tideswell School of Food will close and we will begin the process of winding the companies up.

On behalf of the current volunteer board members and those individuals who have sat on the board in the past, I wish to pay tribute to all the staff who have worked at the School of Food over the years and to the many volunteers who have given their time freely to the school and the project.

Taste Tideswell and the School of Food has made a big difference to Tideswell and the community it served and all those involved can feel proud of what they have achieved.