Viewers to the Village SOS TV programme often ask us if the project is still running – the lasting impression seems to be that the Cookery School is on its last legs! Nothing could be further from the truth- the need to introduce a sense of “jeopardy” into the programme has obscured the really great news of our success. (And a lot has happened since filming finished 8 months ago!)
We had a massive record sales month at Tideswell School of Food after the programme was broadcast in the UK in September, and beat figure that handsomely in December. Our customers are giving us great feedback and many are returning for second and third visits. We estimate we’ve had more than 1,000 visitors and customers since we opened a year ago. We now employ 10 people, all but one from the village, and we are developing new cookery and brewing courses and corporate packages all the time. As far as the wider impact of the project is concerned, we know from our recent survey that 22% more villagers are shopping locally, and pretty much all the retailers in the Tideswell Made scheme report growing sales over the last year. One new food retailer and one new non-food retailer has opened and they are trading successfully. 2012 will be a challenging year from the whole economy, and we know we have more to do in areas like encouraging more community involvement from every part of the village, but we are feeling pretty good about the future here in Tideswell.
Take a look at our story below, and visit www.tideswellschooloffood.co.uk to learn more about our courses. if you’d like to read more about the thinking behind the project, our Village Champion, Tim Nicol has written a few articles on his blog at http://www.mihcentre.co.uk/blog/ .
You can follow us on Twitter @tideswellfood @tastetideswell and @nicoltim