SAE’s new home opens in Leamington Spa as part of a major transformation of the town centre

The Fold will be the first Midlands base for the SAE Institute, who are working in partnership with local creative agency Cogent to provide two-year degree courses in creative media.
The Fold

A vibrant inspirational new home for the creative industry in Leamington is set to open this week (October 12) as part of a major transformation of the town centre. 

12th of October 2023, Leamington – The Fold is situated in the refurbished Grade II listed United Reformed Church on Spencer Street, which contains a green screen studio, foley suite and sound suite with attached VO room, multiple meeting rooms, networking and co-working spaces, and a members’ club along with office space for leading independent marketing group Cogent 

state-of-the-art sound and visual production facilities

The state-of-the-art sound and visual production facilities are nestled in the coves and tunnels of the church crypts, while stunning open-plan workspaces, thoughtfully designed meeting rooms and relaxation areas encourage collaboration on the ground floor. 

The Fold will also be the home of the first Midlands setting for the SAE Institute, which is working in partnership with Cogent to provide two-year degree courses in creative media. 

Regeneration specialists Complex Development Projects (CDP) has led the restoration and conversion of the derelict buildings in Spencer Yard into office space for creative and digital businesses. 

CDP is Warwick District Council’s Regeneration Partner in the 10-year Creative Quarter initiative, which plans to transform the Old Town into a destination for creative businesses. 

The scheme has received a grant from the Future High Streets Fund as part of the Government’s plan to renew and reshape town centres – making them a more attractive place to live, work and visit.    

Ian Gathard, CEO of the Cogent Group, said The Fold would be accessible to everyone who wants to work in a creative, collaborative environment, whatever their background. 

He said: “We wanted to create a properly accessible creative community for people, regardless of their background or education, who might have struggled to get a foothold in the industry in the past. I love that we have retained the wonderful interiors of a historical building, and the builders and developers have completed an amazing job of maintaining its history and making it applicable to the modern world.”  

Steffan Davies, Managing Director at SAE UK and Athens, said this would be its fourth campus in the UK, following on from London, Liverpool and Glasgow. 

“The USP of SAE has always been to provide students with practical experience, and we were attracted to Leamington because of its reputation for being the home of so many leading gaming businesses,” he said. 

“We also provide our students with an education aligned with the industry, so being co-located with Cogent at The Fold is perfect for our students to engage with this. We have our first cohort of students already enrolled in Leamington, and this will be a fantastic opportunity to make the most of this wonderful new hub to gain first-hand experience in this incredibly diverse sector.” 

Jo Truslove of CDP said The Fold was an amazing opportunity for the creative industry to move to the next level through collaboration and making the most of the fantastic facilities available. 

She added: “The official opening of The Fold will be a wonderful chance to bring everyone involved in this amazing project. This is only the first chapter of our major transformation of the Old Town, and we hope it will be the catalyst for attracting even more creative businesses and freelancers to the Midlands.” 

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