Plans to make town a creative hub for district

Waitrose hosted the first event on June 20. Picture: Derek Martin
Waitrose hosted the first event on June 20. Picture: Derek Martin

The first Creative Salon was held in Haywards Heath earlier this month, bringing together creative individuals and organisations based in or around the town.

Waitrose hosted the first event in its café on June 20, and welcomed the Royal Society of Arts (RSA).

The event will take place twice a month and is supported by the RSA and sponsored by the supermarket.

It is designed to promote awareness of the Creative Industries as a growing economic sector and to highlight the number of creative individuals and organisations based in or connected to Haywards Heath and the surrounding areas.

Mark Watts, Waitrose’s culture and compliance manager, said: “It was my pleasure to be involved with such a great event.

“The feedback we received was extremely positive.”

The initiative has already attracted support from the town’s key businesses and individuals including the mayor, councillor James Knight, who officially opened the first event.

Nigel Allyson-Ryan, FRSA and coordinator for Mid Sussex, said: “For the first event we wanted to bring people together and discuss the idea of making Hayward Health a creative hub for Mid Sussex.

“Making it a more creative, innovative and inspiring place to work, live and visit.

“The resounding answer was yes! What we have to do now is work together, think about what that might look like and how we do it.

“This needs to be something designed with and by local people.”

Ian Nicholl, CEO of South East Agricultural Society (SEAS) attended the event.

He said: “It’s our 50th year at the South of England Showground so we are embracing one of the many facets of the creative industries with our first ever live music concert featuring Little Mix on September 1. I think this a great initiative.”

Luxury knitwear designer Katie Jones, a previous Haywards Heath resident, came to the event and talked about her journey and success with Selfridges.

Other attendees included award-winning poet John Agard who received a Queens Gold medal, Amanda Pomorski from international Opera company Opera Brava and Paul Reeve, CEO of Into Film, a national organisation that promotes film in education.

The creative industries are currently worth an estimated £84b to the UK economy, according to a spokesman.

“The architect of the Creative Salon project believes Haywards Heath, known for it’s fantastic links to London, Brighton and Europe through Gatwick is on the cusp of an unprecedented creative explosion,” added the spokesman.

The next event will be on Tuesday August 8.

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