Peter Spence is an unlikely champion of design. But the former business advisor set up the South Coast Design Forum in May 2006 as a response to local designers who had moved out of London for family and other reasons, but missed the buzz of the capital.
Since then it has gone from strength to strength, with a lobbying agenda established by its chairman, Wayne Hemingway of Hemingway Design. Its representatives sit on the national Design Skills Advisory Panel and it expects the first intake of students in September on a design course it has set up at Chichester University. It also has its own studio, The Mill, in Chichester.
As director of the SCDF, Chichester-based Spence is its only paid employee, but it has attracted a number of illustrious local ‘names’ as supporters.
Robin and Lucienne Day are patrons and Spence’s fellow directors include Barry Jenkins of Broome Jenkins, Johnny Grey, illustrator John McFaul, Wordsearch founder Peter Murray and Carl Leroy-Smith of Portsmouth consultancy Deer Park Alpha.
The SCDF has secured funding from Chichester District Council, West Sussex Council Area Investment Framework, Portsmouth Council Area Investment Framework and the universities of Chichester and Portsmouth, among others.
It is not the only regional design initiative around, but it is proving one of the most successful. ‹