MyFolkestone, Local Independent Traders and Folkestone & Hythe District Council have joined together to produce an eye-catching wrap on the former Debenhams’ site which heralds a brighter future for our amazing town.
Have you seen it? MyFolkestone is proud to have sponsored this ambitious project alongside local independent traders as passionate about their town centre’s future success as we are!
The former Debenhams’ premises have now been reanimated as part of a ‘statement of intent’ led by local traders. It has been joint-funded by dozens of local businesses and Folkestone Works, and was sponsored and created by MyFolkestone. The window displays and full artwork animation follow the MyFolkestone ethos to ‘Discover, Explore and Join in’, and are split into three zones to match these three core values of the brand.
Starting with the ‘Discover’ section on Sandgate Road, the wrap showcases the historical and heritage assets of Folkestone. This is separated by a map pinpointing key places to visit as the wrap continues down the High Street with the ‘Explore’ section showcasing the key local businesses who have sponsored this venture. This section is divided into MyFolkestone’s content themes for its platform with Active Folkestone, Cultural Folkestone, Foodie Folkestone and Music Folkestone as key components of this exciting and vibrant town. The final section, ‘Join In’, is positioned at the heart of the High Street and aims to project positivity and unity for the future, including forthcoming projects and the return of events.
This creative project has taken many months to bring together and spans all 34 windows of the former Debenhams building adding colour and value to this part of town. It was instigated and co-ordinated by the Folkestone Independent Retailers Regeneration Group (FIRRG), an association led by local stalwart and passionate Folkestone supporter, Martyn Jackson.
Speaking at the completion of the installation, Martyn Jackson says, “This is the end of a lot of hard work by many people, including the brilliant team from MyFolkestone. This project is a statement of intent as it is positive and uplifting, and confirms the community cohesion, which is going to be so important moving forward - from all stakeholders. The inspiration for this project was to support and highlight the town’s unique independent retailers who are so important to the town’s future as we commence this regeneration. The project showcases the amazing independent businesses in the town, but also shows just how lucky we are to live in Folkestone, an amazing town with amazing assets that we should all enjoy. This entire project has come to fruition thanks to the local support of Folkestone and Hythe District Council’s Folkestone Works fund, showing their support for the independent business community.”
First announced in February, the project followed the district council’s £2m purchase of the large empty department store following its store closure in January. Leader of the Council, David Monk, visited the site at the start of June to show his support and said, “I have to say what a wonderful effort that the independent traders of Folkestone have done in animating this shop’s windows on a building that we have just bought to help the regeneration of the town. They have come up with this splendid idea of decorating the windows, and they just look wonderful. Huge praise has to go to Folkestone Works, and I have to give thanks to Martyn Jackson who has co-ordinated all of this with the independent traders, who together have raised over £20,000 towards the cost of this immense project. It is a combined magnificent effort but then we know this is a magnificent town and so we expect to have magnificent people working together.”
Alex Ridings, Founder of MyFolkestone, says, "At MyFolkestone, our company ethos is 'believe in local' so it was a natural decision to support and sponsor this venture. The wrap gives the High Street a united and colourful visual linking many of the assets Folkestone proudly represents, such as the Music and Foodie scene, all brought to you by a wealth of wonderful independent businesses here in Folkestone. It will also showcase the positive plans for our town and serve as a helpful tool for newcomers and visitors who will want to know the best places to go. We know that this eye-catching display will also appeal to our local community who we invite to Discover, Explore and Join in the fun that Folkestone has to offer for everybody.”
The wrap is expected to remain on the building until the site is transform by Folkestone and Hythe District Council into a mixed-use development, likely to include a health centre, leisure facilities, flexible workspace and residential properties.
The vinyl’s were printed and wrapped by Andy Graphix with artwork created by Kent brand and marketing agency, Think Studio, and was created by designers Molly Clement (principle design and illustration) and Dan Hicks (production).