Westcoast Kent CIC has been integral to Margate’s regeneration. We exist to bring opportunities to Thanet and leave a legacy for future entrepreneurs. Our story begins in 2001 when musician, CIC founder and Director Eli Thompson arrived in Margate. Moved by the hardships facing locals at that time, Eli determined to work with others to add to the economy, change perception, and transform Margate’s fortunes.
We began by developing our then venue Olby’s Soul Café & Music Rooms and founding three annual festivals, which helped to re-establish Margate as an attractive destination. The CIC was formalised in 2013, and 2020 saw the advent of Olby’s Creative Hub – a newly-renovated, collaborative audio and visual space available for use by community groups, educators, creatives, arts organisations and commercial entities.
Before relocating to Kent in 2013, CIC Manager Clare Hollister had a successful career in TV production. Inspired to join the team by a chance meeting with Eli and hearing his vision, Clare is the link between the community and the CIC. Clare has established links with like-minded organisations to grow opportunities in Margate and surrounding areas that will contribute cultural, social and economic benefit to the area – she is a firm believer in collaborative working partnerships.
CIC Director Heather Thompson has worked alongside Eli for 30 years, both in the music industry and as a restaurantur. Heather leads the event and in-house hospitality team, ensuring consistent quality and attention to detail is backed up with excellent customer service. Heather also manages our Meals on Wheels service, developed in partnership with Medway African Caribbean Association to provide much needed support to Afro Caribbean elders and vulnerable people across Medway, Kent.
Eli and Heather were proud to be voted Kent Community Legends at Produced in Kent’s Taste of Kent Awards 2021.