Former Wimbledon Art College student scoops cash prize for innovative community project


Alice Cretney set up TurfProjects to bring contemporary art to Croydon.


By Carly Read

A former Wimbledon Art College student and budding entrepreneur scooped a £2,500 council-funded cash prize at a ceremony in Croydon last week.

Alice Cretney, founder of TurfProjects, which aims to use art to shine a spotlight on the rapidly changing cultural landscape of Croydon, pitched her ideas Dragon’s-Den-style to competition judges.

The Meanwhile Use challenge, also supported by the Mayor of London‘s regeneration fund, helps new businesses in getting a foothold in high-profile spaces in the hope to engage with the local community through making temporary use of vacant spaces and premises in Croydon. 

TurfProjects, which has just successfully achieved its Kickstarter crowd-sourced funding target of £5,000, set out in its bid to seek to harness a wide range of skills and talents to bring contemporary art to the town. Their first conceptual piece, an artist-inspired crazy golf course, was a great success when it was installed in Croydon’s Old Town earlier this year.

“We’re now looking for a base to operate from and where artists can create their work. This prize and the donations we have received from supporters through Kickstarter will really help us get our plans moving,” Alice, 25, said.

Judges Roger Wade, founder of Shoreditch’s bustling Boxpark, a shopping mall made of shipping containers, and Trevor Reeves, owner of the Croydon’s House of Reeves furniture store, were looking for evidence of sound business plans and projects which would benefit the wider community.

Lisa McCance, Croydon Council’s head of economic development, said: “Smaller-scale ventures can bring a vibrancy and sense of community to the area and are a fantastic way of nurturing new talent and allowing people to test out business ideas.”

The ceremony on Wednesday saw an array of business tycoons jam-packed into Matthew’s Yard, a two-year-old café/bar/workspace/theatre which was created in the disused basement of a former Surrey Street supermarket. The venue has become home to a host of new social projects and has become a magnet for people to share imaginative and creative thinking.

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