Exciting plans to protect and promote Sidmouth's unique coastal heritage

PUBLISHED: 11:10 07 March 2017 | UPDATED: 08:41 08 March 2017

Sidmouth Coastal Community Hub CIC members Kay Davies,Coco Hodgkinson, Mary Bagwell and Louise Cole. Ref shs 09-17TI 8166. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth Coastal Community Hub CIC members Kay Davies,Coco Hodgkinson, Mary Bagwell and Louise Cole. Ref shs 09-17TI 8166. Picture: Terry Ife

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New hubs aims to inspire and educate community through film, festivals, fish filleting, art and more

A fish-loving foursome - passionate about preserving and promoting Sidmouth’s coastal heritage - have revealed exciting new plans in a bid to net community support.

Some of the driving forces behind a campaign group first launched to save the town’s Drill Hall say they have changed direction to focus on raising awareness and appreciation of the sea through art, stories, film, festivals, filleting and more.

These developments led to the announcement this week that the former Sidmouth Drill Hall Hub CIC will now be known as Sidmouth Coastal Community Hub CIC – with directors Kay Davies, Coco Hodgkinson, Mary Bagwell and Louise Cole at the helm.

Louise – who is also a town councillor – explained the group’s projects have diversified since the initial campaign was launched and it was felt the new title better reflects its current aims and vision. She said: “We have been working with young children and students up to age 18, delivering our Creativity on the Coast workshops to schools. In a very informal way, we raise awareness and appreciation about the sea and sustainable fish stocks through art, heritage, stories and conversations, filleting and cooking fish. It is always amazing to see children who have never touched a fish - or eaten fresh fish - grow in confidence and become curious and produce really expressive art.

“We want to encourage everyone to enjoy, value and appreciate the sea, fish and the coast - and to promote community, sustainable development and responsible tourism. We do this through art, food, heritage and our annual festival Sidmouth Sea Fest.

“This is why we are pleased to have changed our name. It’s a really positive, better way of expressing who we are, what we do and why. We have tons of ideas and want to work collaboratively with others who share our values so are excited about the future.”

Kay and Mary, of Sidmouth Trawlers, lend their fishing expertise to the project, while artist Coco helps engage people through creativity and cameraman Kyle Baker is documenting the workshops on film.

Work is also under way on the Sidmouth Net Flicks project – in collaboration with award-winning team Simon Vacher and Jo Stewart-Smith – to create a film on the town’s fishing heritage.

The film is being funded by the Sid Vale Association’s Keith Owen Fund and East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and will be premiered at Sidmouth Sea Fest on Saturday, May 13, on the Ham as part of a ticketed evening event.

Told through the lens of the town’s last fishing family, the Bagwells, the film will also link to how the whole community engages with the sea, capturing the beauty of the coast for residents and visitors alike.

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