Sarah Beeny follows a passionate group of locals as they spend a year trying to rescue their community. In Tideswell, the residents hope to set up a food business.
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The British countryside.
With green valleys, wild mountains, rolling farmlands and forests,
the landscape is as diverse as it is beautiful.
Many dream of escaping to the simple country life.
But for those who live in rural Britain, it's a different story.
Traditional industries are in decline,
and across the land, local shops, pubs and farms,
the very cornerstone of country life,
are closing at an alarming rate.
It just seems that the heartbeat of our green and pleasant land
is fast disappearing.
This was a really vibrant shopping street,
and now we've got one pub left, and that's it.
You need to keep these places safe and secure for our children to come and enjoy.
The one thing the countryside has going for it
is the people who call it home.
But what if locals were able to take matters into their own hands?
What if groups of volunteers were given a load of money
to turn their dreams into realities
and put the spirit back into their communities?
We're only going to succeed in this project
if we involve as many people from the community as possible.
Good service. We want good service.
With just 12 months to pull it off, putting their villages back on the map is not going to be easy.
-I just know that we're going to have battles every step of the way!
-I have no building experience whatsoever.
-What a shambles.
But the results might just be spectacular.
It's the biggest chance we've ever had to do something amazing.
It's a big ask, but it could work.
A group of volunteers think food can save their village.
-This is absolutely yummy!
-Thank you very much!
Welcome to the Tideswell School of Food!
But will it leave a sour taste in the mouths of the community?
I hope it works, but as long as it doesn't take any business off us.
It seems to me you're fearful of regeneration.
I think we've got to bring a lot of people in.
And have they bitten off more than they can chew?
None of us have run a cookery school, or planned a cookery school.
We want to make this look like we know what we're doing.
At the moment, you've got nobody booked on any courses.
And that's not good, is it?
The Peak District National Park with its glorious countryside
attracts nearly ten million visitors a year from all over the world.
But the Derbyshire village of Tideswell has seen better days.
Despite its beautiful gothic church, known as the cathedral of the Peak,
and traditional 18th-century architecture,
too many tourists simply drive through without stopping.
I used to say you couldn't ask for the wrong thing in Tideswell,
there were furniture shops, tailors.
A wool shop, and dress shop and a drapers shop.
Pubs galore. They've nearly all gone.
-Twopenny Jim behind here, hairdresser, wasn't there?
-Yeah, man's hairdresser.
Even worse, the locals are abandoning its shops
for nearby supermarkets, leaving its high street almost unrecognisable.
There used to be 35 food shops on this Derbyshire high street, and now there are only five.
But the villagers of Tideswell have radical plans to bring it back to life.
# Hi ho! #
The man with that plan is local walking guide Pete Hawkins.
He's lived in the area all his life.
It becomes part of your spirit, part of your soul.
To have the privilege of being able to walk in this sort of environment on a regular basis,
and I suppose, more importantly, to be able to take people that don't know the area out,
and when they say, "Wow, isn't that fantastic!"
It helps keep it fresh for you. So I'm passionate about the Peak District in all its facets.
Pete's on a mission to keep Tideswell's local shops alive
by turning the village into a centre of excellence for food.
Let's keep what we've get, and build on what we've got,
let's make it a more vibrant community known for its food.
This is too good to be true, really.
Here's an opportunity to change the village before it falls into decline, like so many other villages have.
Pete's witnessed first hand
the rapid demise of the village's once thriving high street.
This was a betting shop. This used to be a general stores-cum-sweet shop.
Electrical store over here, and then a wool shop here. All gone now.
What we're just left with is the village pub on the High Street.
Crikey, so it's completely unrecognisable, really.
Totally changed. If we don't do anything, Tideswell is going to die,
it's going to become a ghost town, people will sleep here,
go and commute to the cities,
and the whole vibrancy and excitement about this place will just be lost.
-So what's the plan?
-The plan is to make Tideswell a food destination, a foodie village.
-And why food?
-Food's great! We all like food, we're passionate about it,
we all need food, and it brings communities and ages together.
Part of the scheme is to open a cookery school.
-Right, so food it is.
-Food it is.
-I like food, so that's good.
The first step is to refurbish a disused shop
and turn it into a state-of-the-art cookery school.
The interior will be completely gutted and renovated.
The ground floor will have a reception area,
commercial kitchen and teaching kitchen,
which will be made up of 12 work stations
including oven, hob and demo bench.
A new staircase will be put in to access the first floor office space and a nano brewery.
The plan doesn't stop there.
Local businesses and amateur cooks will be encouraged
to market their food under a Tideswell branded label,
which they hope one day will be sold in supermarkets across the country.
Finally, to put Tideswell firmly on the culinary map and attract visitors from all over the country,
the villagers have plans to hold an annual food festival to showcase their local produce.
The project is called Taste Tideswell,
and if it's successful, it will bring more visitors,
more employment and more business to the high street.
As if any more proof was needed that the local economy is in dire need of a boost,
the village is rocked by more depressing news.
Lack of trade is forcing owner Alison Daniels to close the local fruit and veg shop.
As much as I love the customers dearly, I love the shop,
and if somebody just paid me a wage to be in there every day
and do it, I would carry on doing it tomorrow, but financially,
there just isn't really a good enough income to support a family.
It really did get a little bit soul destroying
when you're stood in there and it's quiet and no-one's coming in.
In rural communities like Tideswell, the closure of a local shop
can have far-reaching and unseen consequences.
I'll put you these on here, Maude. Right, £3.46, please.
For the past decade, it provided a free delivery service for the elderly of Tideswell.
She's been lovely to come and deliver the groceries,
and pleasant when she comes in, and the weather we get here!
Two different fortnights, I never went beyond my door.
I dread winter coming this time.
You sometimes have to do what you need to do,
so, as much as it's very sad, you've got to do what's best, really.
So, will be sad.
When a shop closes in a place like this, it's a big deal,
as it can have a domino effect, cos villagers then have to go to the supermarket
to buy their fruit and veg, and whilst they're there,
they end up picking up bread and milk as well, and before you know it,
three other shops on the High Street have closed down.
This is exactly what Taste Tideswell is trying to stop happening.
A big plan for a small community,
but Pete's vision is shared by a dedicated, albeit inexperienced, group of volunteers.
At the heart of the project is management consultant Philip Ward.
If we do nothing, the vast majority of the shops we've got will close down.
Farmer Rob Baraona.
This project has the possibility to bring new businesses into the village, and make it quite thriving.
And church warden Juliet Waugh.
Community is incredibly important.
We want it to succeed.
They've got a team, they've got passion and they've got a plan.
There's just one thing they lack to turn their dream into a reality.
It's May 2010, and today the volunteers will discover
if they have won a grant for £400,000 from the Big Lottery Fund,
part of a scheme designed to regenerate rural communities.
Got to keep checking this phone every few minutes,
that it's working, that we've got a signal.
It's a big day today.
If we win, it just... Big surge to the village, big boost to the place.
If we lose, the spiral of decline will continue
and the life and soul will go from the place.
Everything hinges on this one phone call.
PHONE RINGS Hello, Pete Hawkins speaking.
It's Peter here from the Big Lottery Fund. 'Hello, how are you?'
I'm very good and very, very nervous! Are you going to make our day?
'In your case...
'It is good news. Your village has been chosen.'
We've got the money!
Winning the money is just the start.
Tideswell has an incredibly ambitious plan and just 12 months to pull it off.
It's a really tough time to start any new business,
and no-one here has any experience of running or building a cookery school.
Fortunately, Team Tideswell will be getting a little help.
The grant will also pay for a business professional to work on the project,
who will put their career on hold for a year and move to the village.
The man who'll light the blue touch paper on Tideswell's latest business is marketing exec
and self-styled Croydon boy, Tim Nicol.
I'm a marketing consultant, so as a marketing man, I help companies develop new ideas,
turn them into products and bring them to market.
Tim may not have run a cookery school,
but he's confident he's got what it takes to make it a success.
I'm going to tell them we're going to put a queue outside your door.
And leave it at that.
Tim's certainly got the credentials.
He's worked with some of the biggest brands on our supermarket shelves.
That takes me back.
I was the brand manager on Dolmio when it was launched many years ago.
Back in Tideswell, work can begin on the cookery school.
To keep costs down, the volunteers are going to clear the interior of the building themselves.
We'll go and do it, we'll get dirty, we'll save money.
I'm looking forward to the bath!
-I wouldn't stand too close!
-This project will take more than goodwill to make it a success.
It's a tough business.
How important is it with this scheme that the cookery school works?
Vital. If the cookery school doesn't work, we don't have any income
to pay the staff, to develop... to plough back into the community,
the educational work, so it really is crucial that we get it right here.
-OK. There's a lot of fingers crossed on it!
-A lot of fingers crossed.
OK. Let's go and have a look.
Running a cookery school won't be easy.
Catering experience will be invaluable.
-Are you, any of you...cooks, or have you...?
-I do a good cheese on toast.
That's a help. Can you boil an egg?
No, that's been a big challenge.
None of us have run a cookery school, or planned a cookery school, so we've had to...
Have you still not planned a cookery school? Are you just winging it?
-We're making progress.
It's all lovely, but then I think, you've got to get people to come here.
The cookery school will be staffed by professionals
and so will carry high overheads.
This place will be under pressure to make a profit from day one.
Just a tiny bit worried about with the whole project is
you've got to make...
Your projections are 100,000 for the first year.
That's just to run it and staff it, which is a big profit to expect to make in year one.
-And if it doesn't work, you lose the building and that's a complete waste of time, is it?
That's a good question!
I mean, we can't afford to fail.
It's got... We have to be open by Christmas.
-It's a really important time.
-We have to be,
which means we've got to be finished by the beginning of December.
There's shedloads of work to be done.
There's a lot of people working a lot of time.
-You can do it.
-We will do it.
-You just have to believe.
-We've a very positive group so far.
They're a great bunch of people,
but they do have very little experience between them,
and they're trying to start brewing, growing, launching a food label,
building a cookery school and turning that into a thriving business.
They've bitten off an awful lot.
Right. That's it.
Now, more than ever, Tideswell needs a marketing expert.
Tim is packing up his office and bidding farewell to his two daughters and wife Joanne,
who he'll now only see at weekends.
Well, I didn't expect it to happen, to be honest,
and I think...well, neither of us did,
but we thought we'd have a go at it, he wanted to do something different.
Right. I think we're ready to shut up shop.
I wish I was going with him, really, cos it's a beautiful village.
It's quite a moment, actually. It's a bit real. It's a bit real.
See you later.
Two hours later, Tim arrives at his new home on the High Street.
This is terrific. Very unusual.
But every house is unusual around here.
Tim has big ambitions for Tideswell.
In a year's time, I'll be looking out this window, I want to see a queue outside every shop,
I want to see every shop open at least six days a week, if not more.
There are almost certainly problems out there facing me
that I haven't yet recognised.
I hope that I can cope.
Down on the high street, Tim's first problem is about to reveal itself.
It seems not everyone shares his faith in the project.
I've just got mixed feelings about it at the moment.
We don't know anything about it.
But yeah, I hope it works, but as long as it doesn't take any business off us.
I hope it does take off,
but it's one thing getting something off the ground,
but its...continuation is quite another story.
No-one has more reservations than Carol Cox,
who has run the high street bakery for over ten years.
Money-wise, no. We're just keeping us head above water.
With her bakery already struggling,
Carol believes that far from helping her,
the Tideswell project will encourage more people to sell food,
which can only be bad for business.
If it came to survival of my bakery and Taste Tideswell,
then my bakery's first.
-This is Tim.
-I've told him you are one of our robust villagers,
in terms of the viability of the scheme and what it'll mean for your business.
-50-50 with it.
-Why is that?
I'm against it in a lot of ways.
-Doesn't sound like 50-50.
I make jams and chutneys. Now, I pay a lot to have this building.
-And I don't really want a lot of little old ladies making half a dozen pots of jam.
Where does that leave my shop?
Trade has dropped by half. Visitors have dropped by half.
That's the scale of what we could be able to do.
You're all going for a slice of the same size cake at the moment,
-and that cake is half the size it was last year.
What we're going to try and do is make that cake twice as big,
if not three times as big.
Into the lion's den, really, I suppose, isn't it?
Yeah, but he's got to know the strength of feeling, hasn't he?
They're very real concerns. They're not imagined. They're the things that have to be dealt with.
So we have to get her on board.
With so many doubts and rumours flying around the village,
Tim needs to take action.
It's a difficult size, cos it's so big, the village,
but they're not all feeling engaged at the moment.
No, and that's a bigger problem, to be honest, with the whole project.
People can get the wrong end of the stick, not maliciously, but...
-No, no, no. It just kind of passes on in the wrong way.
-..And things do get misconstrued.
You only get the five or ten percent that are activists
coming and listening in the first place,
-so it's those that don't come that we need to reach.
Fortunately, there's a perfect opportunity for Tim to go on the charm offensive.
The Wakes Week Carnival is a Derbyshire tradition that stretches back over 750 years.
And is the biggest event on the Tideswell social calendar.
Pete and Rod have convinced Tim that the best way to win over
the doubters is to get stuck into village life.
Um, I've got fabric to go round the back of there...
There's nothing better than carnival to join in with things
and if we've got a presence and people spray us with water, fantastic.
That's what it's all about.
It's a bit of ritual humiliation, really. Isn't it?
All in the spirit of it.
For Tim, it's a world away from the boardroom.
It's the foodiest costume I could find.
The process we go through at the moment is all hidden and secret,
it's the planning permission, the boring stuff that goes away behind the scenes.
But this is something visual that people see. Yeah, we're here again.
So, yeah, this is just a perfect opportunity to kick-start it again
and get it back in the eyes of the village.
We're coming out into the open today. We're showing the village what it's all about.
This thing won't last, it won't survive
unless the majority of people in the village are truly behind it.
It's July. With building work progressing well, Pete can really see his dream taking shape.
Well, it's changed.
I can just now begin to visualise people are coming through reception,
they're walking up here, they're going up the stairs,
through the doorway here, they can see the cookery school.
Yes, I can understand this now. This is fantastic.
Welcome to the Tideswell School of Food.
Something I've got to practise, that. Sounds a bit cheesy.
Welcome to the Tideswell School of Food!
It's a pleasure to have you on this course,
which is Indian home cooking.
Whilst Pete lives the dream, Tim and Juliet are on a fact-finding mission.
They've booked into an established cookery school in Halifax.
They hope to gain expertise and pick up tips.
Not just about chopping onions.
Just make sure you don't grate your knuckles in the process.
Day courses cost up to £140
and the Tideswell School intends to charge similar prices.
It's just such a fantastic attention to detail, about the whole place.
When we arrived in here today, this place was immaculate
and it was about a half a day's work had already gone on before we arrived.
-How am I doing, chef?
-Try and bend those fingers underneath.
Instead of using a knife, you can scrape the skin off.
Juliet's now in overall charge of Tideswell's kitchen design.
She's starting to feel the pressure.
We're trying to do something quite ambitious in the first place
and we're trying to do it with a load of volunteers,
people who don't actually really know what they are doing, you know?
So...it's a lot of pressure. It's a lot of pressure.
We're going to have a lot more grey hairs by the end of this project.
There's absolutely no doubt about that!
They might have learned how to cook a curry,
but what they really need now is some expert advice.
What's going to happen to the person who works this side to go to there?
Walk all the way around, all the way back.
Have you got trolley docking places where you can put trolleys?
-You need trolleys.
Working on this could possibly be a complete pain. What do you think?
-I don't like to say.
-Be honest, come on.
It looks to me as if it's been designed by an architect,
not by someone who can cook or knows about cooking.
-Or teaching cooking.
-Or teaching cooking in it.
-What colour granite are you thinking of?
-Pink? That's interesting.
They clearly still have a lot to learn.
I was very worried about the plan, myself.
I looked at it and I felt it in here.
It needs to be right, straightaway.
I think the ergonomics of the way they had it set up won't work.
They've got a lot to do, really a lot to do, haven't they, in that time?
Back in the village, there's more bad news.
Shopkeepers are still unconvinced that a cookery school will bring more visitors to Tideswell.
I'm just going to catch up with Carol and see how she's feeling about it all.
I'm not very happy with it, but I'm sitting on the wall,
I'm going to see how it pans out.
It seems to me like you're slightly fearful of regeneration.
-It's got to bring a lot of people in, an awful lot of people in.
And I don't know whether a cookery school is going to bring that amount of people in.
Do you think they might not have as many customers, the cookery school, as they think?
I think it will depend on price.
Rumour has it they're charging 150 for a course.
Who's got that kind of money these days?
If Carol is right and people can't afford the cookery school,
then the whole Tideswell project will fail.
If the cookery school is going to open in time for Christmas, there's still a huge amount of work.
Tim's also determined to push ahead with his Tideswell food label.
So these are all things you can already buy in Tideswell.
And they're all great products, but they're not particularly well known.
So what I think we can do is to give them all the same sort of label,
that says where they come from and people outside Tideswell will hopefully buy more of them.
Every brand needs a distinctive logo.
Today, Tim is visiting a design studio in Sheffield to see ideas.
-Hello, it's Tim.
It's the first time he's seen the designs.
Let battle commence.
This ribbon is a kind of graphic device that shows the idea of celebration.
OK, get it.
He doesn't seem too impressed.
Something completely different.
We really like this. It's got a bit of a sense of humour about it.
It really is fantastic.
Tim's preference is the bitten T logo.
But there's just one problem -
he's promised the village they can have the final decision.
Genius. I hope they don't go for the other one!
Hours later, there's a village meeting above the pub.
And it's not looking good for Tim.
I like the ribbon idea. On this one, don't you?
The squirly one.
I'm not keen on the half-eaten broken biscuit!
Getting the brand right could be crucial to the project's success.
Marketing man Tim must use his powers of persuasion.
I'm hearing a lot of people tending towards this side of the room. Yeah?
The true mark of a brand is if you actually cover the words,
do you recognise what it is?
If you cover the word "McDonald's" and you still saw the golden arches,
you'd still know it was McDonald's.
I think this one would just merge into the background
of everybody else's branding.
With so much suspicion surrounding the venture, this is a vote of confidence
for Tim as much as it is for the logo.
Well, this is tricky.
What do we think?
For this thing on the left, hands up.
And for the bitten T?
I love you all!
'I am enjoying this.'
'It really is something I care about.'
And I feel as though I'm trusted now,
I'm better trusted than I was when I first arrived.
I was a bit of a blow-in. I'm still a blow-in,
but at least I've been blown in to do something
and people understand why I'm here now.
By late summer, there are signs that the Tideswell project is starting to work,
as small shoots of recovery appear on the high street.
The fruit and veg shop has reopened under new ownership
and even more encouraging is the news that there is a brand new delicatessen.
There's a couple that have come to the village, because of Taste Tideswell.
It's terrific to see that already the project seems to be having an impact.
-Hello, David. Nice to see you. Welcome to the village.
Thank you very much. Part of the attraction of this location was obviously the Taste Tideswell.
For Carol, already struggling to stay afloat,
her worst fears have been realised.
A new cake shop isn't a sign of recovery, it's simply more competition.
I'd prefer it if there were different kinds of shops.
But more food shops, selling the same thing, is a bit dicey.
So, we're going to struggle this winter.
All you've got is the residents, not a lot of visitors.
You've got supermarkets around, so you do struggle.
And now we've got two more shops in the village, so...
Taste Tideswell will only succeed if it helps to keep all the existing local shops open
as well as bring new business to the village.
If we can't do a decent job for Carol in Tindalls, then...
we won't have done a job at all, frankly.
Tim's going to step back into the lion's den in a bid to win over the project's biggest critic.
In an attempt to charm Carol,
he joins her for an early morning shift at the bakery.
-Are we doing a special offer today?
-On dodgy pies!
Dodgy pork pies! No, it's all going on your bill!
He is doing quite well!
He talks a lot, though, doesn't he?
Carol's sceptical of the project because she feels neither her shop
nor the Tideswell brand can compete with the high street giants.
90% of it is convenience to go to a supermarket and just get everything.
Then you've got the price - I can't match.
What if we tried to convince more local people
that actually this whole high street, this whole village, is a supermarket?
So, instead of going to that supermarket down the road,
you basically market all the village shops
as if it were one big supermarket?
Tim's making progress. He's even got a radical marketing idea of putting
her bread at the front of the bakery.
Is that the bread at the back?
That's the fresh bread at the back, there, isn't it?
Turn right at the olives and go straight past the cheese!
How do you get more locals in? You put your bread at the front of the store and when they're in,
then they might buy the jar of home-made pickle that's further back in the store.
It looks like Tim might have finally won Carol over.
We'll have a go. We'll swap things.
But I can't see it bringing in hundreds of pounds overnight.
Tim's next task is to get all the other local producers to buy into his brand.
Anyone who wants to get involved is coming along here
with their food for a tasting at the Village Institute.
It will cost £250 a year to sign up to the scheme.
Oh, it's a pretty good turnout!
Part of the project's aim is to encourage local amateur cooks
to start up small businesses under the brand.
Penny Ward is one of those considering making the leap.
Her signature desk is a gluten-free sticky toffee pudding.
Just started off making them for friends
and have had a really good response to them.
So, it's very early stages at the moment,
but...we'll see where it takes us.
Penny's worked for the NHS for the past 25 years,
but she's always dreamt of having her own range of food in shops.
She's convinced, with Tim's help, her dream can become a reality.
He's got so much experience bringing new products to the market,
that I'm really hoping that he'll be able to give me some help and advice
on how I can take this forward and develop from a product that I'm producing in my kitchen
onto something a bit more larger scale.
So, it is really exciting!
-You make this at home at the moment, in your kitchen?
Had a bit of a career change and decided to pursue this full-time.
-There's no question I think this is absolutely yummy.
-Thank you very much!
The owners of the recently opened cake shop have also decided
they want to be part of the project.
-And you've just opened your shop, haven't you?
-Yes, we have.
Someone told us about the Taste Tideswell, so here we are in Tideswell.
One of the most exciting things is that one of the people here
only came and took over a shop, which was a derelict,
boarded-up shop, they took the shop on because of this project.
-It's winning already!
I know, it's almost like job done.
It looks like Tim's morning shift at the bakery has paid dividends,
as even Carol has turned up to the event.
How is the whole project going for you, are you feeling more enthused?
-I'm a little bit more comfortable with it.
-So you're kind of behind the whole project-ish?
-But a bit more than last time!
Well, that's good, because I think you were one tenth last time.
If that, yeah!
It is 6th December and just seven months after the volunteers received their funding,
the school is due to open.
For Pete, the driving force behind the project, it's a proud day.
I just cannot believe, 18 months ago we didn't have an idea,
we didn't have Taste Tideswell, we didn't had any money
and 18 months later, almost to the day,
we're opening the Tideswell School of Food.
Yeah, quite emotional.
Just how much... Just how much effort has been put into this.
Yeah, fantastic. Absolutely wonderful.
There's just one hitch.
Heavy snowfall has held up work on the school.
It's due to be open in less than three hours
and currently it looks like a building site.
They need to be off-site by 10:30am at the latest, I'd say.
It will be a PR and financial disaster if the grand opening has to be delayed.
Pete's feeling the pressure.
Very soon, we're going to have the public coming through the door,
the critical public, the people in the village,
who still need to be convinced and it's got to be right.
-I don't like last minute, Pete.
-Do you not?
No, I bloody don't like last minute, I really don't.
We're ready to clean from upstairs down.
For Tim and Pete, there's no room for error today.
What's making me nervous is there are still people in the village
who are just waiting for us to put a foot wrong.
We do want to make this look as if we know what we're doing, to the village.
It really is last minute.
With the paint still drying on the walls, the builders are finally off-site
and it seems like the last six months of relentless work and sleepless nights have paid off.
# Dashing through the snow On a one-horse open sleigh
# Over fields we go Laughing all the way. #
Ladies and gentlemen, we have our very own special ribbon.
Three, two, one, open!
Getting the Tideswell Cookery School open has been a tremendous achievement.
In just six months, the passion of a dedicated group of volunteers,
combined with funding and support from the Big Lottery Fund,
have transformed a once disused fireplace shop into a fantastic cookery school,
on time and within budget.
With so much doubt and suspicion surrounding the project,
local approval is essential.
Seeing it grow throughout the village and come together, it's been brilliant.
This will lift the community. It's really wonderful.
It's fantastic what they've done.
To turn this round from what it was in such a short period is amazing.
Let's hope it works!
It seems like Carol's conversion to the project is complete.
The cookery school is absolutely fantastic.
Can't condemn that at all.
I'm totally for the cookery school and teaching and things like that.
I can just imagine people standing around and coming and enjoying it.
So I hope it does very, very well, touch wood.
Just four weeks later, the celebrations at the grand opening seem a lifetime away.
Tideswell may have a shiny new cookery school, but sadly no customers.
Pete's jubilation is rapidly turning to despair.
You look at the order book and look at the blank sheets of paper
attached to each of the courses
and it's quite scary.
My house is for sale I could flit very quickly...
..and then move out, change my name, buy a wig and wear that instead.
But, no, personally, it would be a deep blow if it didn't work,
but it'd be a bigger blow for the village if it didn't work.
In a bid to get paying customers to sign up,
the school are offering free classes to the villagers.
We're having a trial cookery course
to see if everything in the kitchen actually works.
I'm planning on getting stuck in and learning something.
Hello! This is amazing!
-Hello. God, look at this!
-Have an apron.
-Come and join us.
-Pea and ham soup?
-Do you know, that's my favourite.
-You just have to make it, though.
'Local chef Steve Vardy has been taken on as the new head of school.'
Don't do that, that's so annoying!
-So what do you think to this place?
-I'm loving it. Absolutely loving it.
I mean, I have to admit,
I really thought that...
..it was quite a high possibility that we wouldn't be doing this,
-and it's an amazing achievement.
-It's been absolutely superb.
-Really, the hard work starts now.
Everyone is enjoying the free trial,
but so far the school hasn't received a single enquiry for a paid course.
At the moment, you've got nobody booked on any courses and that's not good, is it?
20 million people live within an hour's drive from here.
If I can't get 30-40 people
through these doors in a couple of weeks,
then we're not very good at marketing, are we? So stand on me, this is going to work.
This HAS to work.
If Tim can't get those people through the doors, the money will run out
and the Tideswell Cookery School will shut within six months.
Although they've come an incredibly long way in a short space of time,
the journey has just begun for them.
They've climbed a bit of a mountain, but actually...
In fact, I'd say they've climbed a hill.
They've got a mountain still to climb. Without a lot of people coming through the door,
opening their chequebooks, getting out their cash, this won't exist in the future,
and that's a massive, massive thing to achieve.
It's time for Tim and the team to take action.
Today they are going to hit the streets to drum up some much needed interest.
I'm a man on a mission to spread the word.
First stop the tourist office in nearby Bakewell.
A slice of Bakewell's successful tourist trade could provide rich pickings for Taste Tideswell.
-Nice to meet you.
I'm the so-called village champion for Taste Tideswell.
-I've heard about it.
-If anybody asks about it...
-Not yet, but we're expecting big things of you.
We'll go to the information centre...
In Buxton, Pete and Phil are in charge of the big push.
Do you think what we're trying to do will be of interest?
It will work. It'll be hard work getting there,
but convinced it'll work.
Trying to get customers through the door, like any new business,
doesn't matter whether we're there for profit or not,
it's just really hard work.
Seems to be very popular with ducks.
-Hello there. I'm Tim Nicol from Taste Tideswell.
-Pleased to meet you.
-Nice to meet you.
Two million people come through in a year, two million!
We don't need a big percentage of that to make this work.
It's spring and the Tideswell project is moving forward.
Today the food shops are going to get a brand new look.
Today's the day when Tideswell Made comes to life. It's a branding day today.
We've got to take the Tideswell Made symbol
and put it into the shops that have signed up.
These are the Tideswell Made stickers.
So the principles of Tideswell Made: as local as possible,
as good as possible, with respect to the village and its reputation.
So that is what it's all about.
There's even more good news -
after months of persuasion, Carol's signed up the scheme.
-Big changes. Just hope it works!
You know that old saying, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em"?
I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt.
We're going to put it on some jars, change this shop around
and get this economy moving even faster.
Yeah, I like that.
And I like the gold on the black.
People can recognise good local food now
and the promise that goes with it.
Not only has Carol signed up,
but she's also agreed to Tim's plans to change her shop lay out.
Tim can finally get his mitts on her front window.
-Brilliant. Good day's work then.
Who'd have thought it when I first walked in here
like an innocent marketing man about a year ago.
It's the next 12 months you've got to keep an eye.
-It's not this first 12 months. It's to see whether it's worked.
Quite right, absolutely. Yeah. Right-o.
-See you tomorrow.
-Thanks a lot, bye.
With the branding complete,
today is a big test of the Taste Tideswell label.
Tim's arranged a meeting at Chatsworth Farm one of Derbyshire's most prestigious food shops.
It's the first time they've tried to get their branded food on shelves outside the village.
This is very much the sort of place that we can aspire to getting
some sales from outside the village to get some money into the village.
For Carol and the queen of the sticky toffee pudding, Penny,
it's a huge opportunity.
I'm hoping they'll like the products that we've brought along today.
So, the proof is in the tasting, isn't it?
They are the top-notch around Derbyshire so, it is nerve-wracking.
Manager Andre Birkett decides what ends up on the shelves and he's not an easy man to please.
It is good? Does it eat well? Is it special?
If that's not the case, just because it's local, I won't stock it.
-How are you?
-Penny, nice to meet you.
-Penny, it's nice to meet you. Tim, I've heard a lot about you.
-Carol, how are you?
-Not so bad.
You're not nervous, are you?
You looked nervous for a moment then.
-So all these are hand-produced?
Carol's pitching first with her traditional breads, chutneys and pies.
Spicy, chunky piccalilli.
This is a Fidgety Pasty.
-An old Derbyshire recipe.
-I'm going to enjoy trying it.
-I've got a sticky toffee pudding.
What shelf life does that have? Chilled.
I'd say it's got a two-week shelf life.
Rhubarb season is just coming in so we've now got our rhubarb and ginger jam.
But that's from Anna's mum's garden because ours wasn't ready...!
Bit of a sigh of relief, but now we wait!
Got a few hints and tips.
Might take them into account when I get back.
It's all down to the tasting.
I'm picking out unique products that we haven't got,
or we haven't got a version quite like.
The products are very home-made in their style,
and that's a great thing.
All Carol, Penny and Tim can do is wait.
At the cookery school, they desperately need to sell more courses
and have called a crisis meeting.
The kitchen is completely empty.
They have to make £15,000 a month just to cover their costs
and at the moment, they're making £2,500.
The shortfall WILL mean they run out of money very soon.
They HAVE to get more people through the door or they'll go bust.
'They may have come a long way, but now's the time to make tough decisions
'if they are to keep their dream alive.'
I'm not trying to be critical,
I'm really trying to offer some help here because the reality is
in four months' time, there's the end of this project.
-Is that right?
-We've got have enough coming in that keeps the doors open,
keeps the lights on and keeps the staff employed.
And if you aren't making enough money, then what happens?
Theoretically we shut the doors.
Now if you were absolutely fully booked with back-to-back courses at £25-30,
surely it stacks up in the same way?
If we ran everything at £25 a head,
we'd have to run morning and afternoon, seven days a week, to hit the targets.
The demand just isn't there for that.
'The team are determined to succeed.
'They have to get customers quickly so they need marketing more than ever.'
What we are planning in May is a food festival.
-Loads of people will come because they go to the Peak District all the time on days out
and they're looking for things to do. So I can guarantee it'll be heaving here that weekend.
It's also a great focal point for us to generate some publicity
around the whole campaign that will get us into more newspapers and radio nationally,
regionally at least.
So I guess the key is more communication to the village.
The food festival will hopefully assist in that,
and more communication to the wider audience,
and fingers crossed that it'll work its magic
before the money runs out.
These are dedicated, motivated people
who have put in enormous amounts of their own time and effort
on a voluntary basis into this community project.
You can't help but feel their pain
at the fact it's not going according to plan.
They've got a very short space of time to achieve a massive amount.
Just...fingers crossed they manage to pull it off.
Today we're live from the Tideswell School of Food...
It's the big day. Can this festival turn Tideswell from a drive-through village
into a must-see destination?
A very big day!
A very busy day.
This is the opportunity for people to judge us so...
we want to get it right. We've got our fingers crossed on the weather.
Everything else is in very good shape.
The team have worked hard and used the Tideswell brand to entice people from outside the village.
If we don't make it, it won't be for want of trying.
The future of the cookery school and the whole project
could hinge on Pete and his fellow volunteers pulling this off.
It's almost a year to the day since we got the money.
We've done a lot. It's now important that we shout about it
and get this place known for food.
But the omens aren't looking good - the heavens have opened
and the turn-out is drastically low.
If you just put your name and email address on there.
Tim's set up a marketing team to try and get the few people
who HAVE braved the weather to sign up for courses.
I've got to drag them over to the stall!
-And if you sign up today, you'll get a 10% discount.
That's £2 then, please.
We've really promoted this day and hopefully, it's going to blow over and people will come out.
Back at the cookery school, only a handful of people have come to look around.
By late morning, the rain's got even worse,
but it seems nothing's going to put the dampeners on Tideswell's first food fest
as numbers appear to be on the up.
There's a lot of people gathering round the stalls,
bit of a buzz, a lot of people I don't know, which is a good sign.
There's good news for one of the stallholders - Penny's just received her first order
from Chatsworth House.
We've had a call from them and we delivered 50 puddings yesterday so they should be in the farm's shop
as of today on their shelves, so just so excited, just fantastic.
Really, really pleased.
Unfortunately Carol didn't get any of her food into Chatsworth House this time,
but the food festival really could put the Tideswell brand on the culinary map.
With the sun coming out, it looks like Tim has kept
with his promise of having queues outside the village shops
and Carol's rushed off her feet.
Hot and tired.
And I'm still baking in the back so that tells you.
It's been very good.
Let's see whether they come back after today.
With a bit of luck, they will.
Going to take you straight up to the conference room. Two flights of stairs.
At the cookery school, numbers are swelling, which can only be good for business.
'It's not about making money.'
It's a community project and it's about involving everyone.
I think that message is beginning to get through and that's very exciting.
This'll be the first of many food festivals, I'm convinced. It's gone well, there's a buzz behind me.
-Absolutely phenomenal what we've managed to achieve.
-If we can make it work in the rain,
that is quite encouraging. So we might be able to make it work on a Sunday!
Well done for a first time through!
Over 2,000 people came to Tideswell's food festival,
a fantastic achievement.
-Hello. Go on up.
Have any of them signed up for a course at the cookery school?
-Hello, how are you?
-Fine, thanks, how are you?
-Thank you very much.
-How's it going?
-Pretty good, thanks.
We've had a huge boost over the weekend with our festival.
So just in the last three days, we've taken more than 20 bookings.
So if we continue at that rate,
-we'll have doubled our consumer sales this month.
Just take a look at the bookings here.
-These are all filling up very nicely. Here's May.
-Yeah. That one's full.
-Lots of them are full.
I do feel as though we've turned the corner.
-What a relief!
Well, you can't completely take your foot off the gas,
-but this is a very, very positive move forward.
Tim's year in the village is nearly over.
It's been a tough twelve months, but finally there are real signs that Brand Tideswell
is helping shops on the high street.
So you're at the end of your project here at Tideswell.
-Do you think you'll miss it when you leave?
-Yes, I will.
This is more than just a job.
This has been a year's commitment in a great community.
This project will survive without me, it must survive without me.
But I will miss it. It's a great place.
For one man, it's been a year when his dreams came true.
I think the last 12 months
has proved to this village that it can achieve.
If it wants to do something, it can do it, and do it in a fantastic way.
To a large extent, that's how I feel.
It's proved to me that...
slightly crazy, slightly over-the-top ideas actually can be achieved.
You can go out and do it.
Damned hard work, but in the end, it's well worth going for.
Do you have any doubts that this will succeed?
-Not a moment?
So, ten years' time, will it be open?
Ten years' time, we'll be open and running, nationally known.
Tideswell will be well and truly on the map for food.
Well, I'm going to keep my fingers crossed
and I'll be back to Taste Tideswell.
You will be impressed with what we have done.
Tideswell aimed to become a place that's famous for its food.
In just over a year, a group of inexperienced but passionate
volunteers have made huge strides towards fulfilling that ambition.
The villagers now have their own foods brand which they hope will create new businesses.
A new shop has opened on the high street, a sign of village recovery.
And they've created an annual food festival.
But the beating heart of the project is the cookery school,
once an empty shop, now offering courses for both locals and tourists.
But whilst takings have doubled since the food festival,
the year ahead will be an interesting one.
The harsh reality is that for the cookery school to continue,
it needs to attract more customers and fast.
So has Taste Tideswell been a success?
Well, only time will tell.
If you have been inspired to create a community project in your area
and want to find out how to apply, visit our website.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Sarah Beeny follows a passionate group of locals as they spend a year trying to rescue their community. When the residents of Tideswell in the Peak District applied for a grant from the Big Lottery Fund to set up a food business, they had no idea what was in store. With local shops closing at an alarming rate, the volunteers have bitten off a huge challenge.