The Austell Project is an ambitious cultural regeneration initiative – repositioning St Austell Bay and its clay country as a leading Cornish destination for local people, business and tourism. The aim is to drive forward positive change to make St Austell and its hinterland a great place to live, work and play. Proud of who we are, our vision for St Austell and its clay country is to enhance the landscape, transform spaces and stimulate sustainable economic growth by attracting new visitors, new residents and new investment, promoting pride in the local community.
Led by a passionate group of local individuals, businesses, public bodies and community organisations, who in 2015 were incorporated as a community interest company – St Austell Bay Economic Forum (SABEF). The group joined together to stimulate economic growth, enable funding streams, forge stronger relationships and are proud to act as the Coastal Community Team for the St Austell Bay area. SABEF believe that by coming together as a shared community they can bring more prosperity to the area.
The Austell Project is all made possible thanks to funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) – Coastal Communities Fund and key project partners – Imerys, St Austell Town Council and Cornwall Council, Eden Project, St Austell Brewery and St Austell Print Company. Key supporters include Sir Tim Smit, Emma Bridgewater, Geraint Richards (Head Forester for the Duchy of Cornwall), the Lord-Lieutenant of Cornwall Edward Bolitho, OBE.
From where the story began in 2014, SABEF worked with placemaking consultants to rebrand St Austell. Together they created a look and feel that showed how the St Austell area is special and competitive. This helped to develop a brand concept, a new story for St Austell that every organisation and individual across the area wants to be part of. The story described the essence of St Austell and identified key themes. The key themes guided the proposal for the first 2-year phase of the masterplan – Re imagining St Austell and in September 2018 CCF funding was granted to bring the masterplan to life.
The 2-year plan identified opportunities to enhance the landscapes of the entrance gateways into the town to celebrate our connections with the local hero gardens. Encouraged movement through the town with a series of high-profile ceramic installations by world famous artists and developed community engagement through ceramics with the Whitegold International Prize and the annual Green Whitegold Festival.
Continuing the St Austell story, in 2019 the Austell Project brand came to life. A natural progression, which empowered us to deliver our vision and gave the original story a future and strength to evolve. Based around a distinctive design; 4 key pillars of activity, consistent planting schemes – incorporating silver birch trees and a vibrant colour palette applied to street furniture, the Austell Project brand is now recognisable no matter where you are in St Austell and the hinterland.
The journey to create a ‘sense of place’ by celebrating and raising awareness of our unique heritage and landscape has only just begun as SABEF prepare to take the Austell Project to the next phase of regeneration by shaping their vision for the future and years to come.
The central regeneration themes of the Austell Project are intrinsically linked to St Austell’s sense of place – ceramics and horticulture which take inspiration from its china clay history and some of Cornwall’s Great Gardens – The Eden Project, The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Caerhays, who all call this area home.
The 4 key pillars of activity are based on our uniqueness which are drivers for delivering our future plans – Austell Ceramic, Austell Green, Austell Active, and Austell Innovate.
Our ambition is to turn the centre of St Austell and its clay country into a giant cultural site to create a sense of place based on our heritage and current influences of china clay. To create a cultural argument for visiting and using St Austell Bay and its clay country, not just based on retail. For St Austell to become a hub where people can learn ceramic art skills and become inspired. A place where all sorts of creatives set up galleries, play music, design games, write books and more.
Our aim is to make St Austell Bay and its clay country a beautiful and healthy place to be. By bringing plants and the landscape to the fore we aim to engage with the public’s imagination asking them to reconsider the identity of the town, its location within Cornwall and the huge influence our gardens and landscape have had on the world.
Our aim is to promote and showcase the range of diverse sports and leisure activities that St Austell is home to, from; local community walking groups, wild swimming, paddle boarding, cycling through the clay trails, to the Eden Marathon. Local theatre groups and dancing companies entertain and educate through dance and a combination of multimedia platforms.
There is a real need to excite young people about the future and their potential in St Austell. From green technologies to education, business and talent development to on the ground building projects with a difference, St Austell has much to shout about.
Meet the Team
Meet the Team
Michaels’ role as master planner is to develop a strategic framework from which the Ceramic, Green, Active and Innovate programmes are delivered.
Meet the Team
Darren Hawkes is an RHS Chelsea Flower Show multi gold medal winner, Austell Project Green Programme Curator.
Meet the Team
Alex is the Austell Project Ceramic Programme Curator, with vast experience in rural and regional culture and politics.
Meet the Team
Libby is marketing curator for the Austell Project, managing the creation of the Austell Project brand and the ongoing marketing programme.
Supporters & Funders
We continue to enjoy support from a large number of bodies, be it time or funding, or both. While not a complete list, we are especially grateful to the following supporters.