First CEO appointed at Folkestone’s Leas Lift

Folkestone’s Leas Lift has appointed Floortje Hoette as its first CEO, who will lead the restoration and reopening of the nationally significant heritage asset.

Floortje, who currently heads up Produced in Kent, a trade organisation dedicated to supporting and promoting all types of food, drink and craft businesses in Kent, will join Folkestone Leas Lift Company Charity on 1 May 2024. 

With more than 25 years’ project management experience in the not-for-profit and commercial sectors, Floortje is well-positioned to lead the team working to reopen the lift in 2025.

Cathy Beare, chair of the Folkestone Leas Lift Company Charity, said: “We are so pleased to have someone with Floortje’s experience and connections as our first CEO.

“She has a strong grasp of community engagement, is well-known in Kent, and has a proven track record in income generation and business development.” 

Floortje Hoette

Floortje, who spent two years in Folkestone when she first came to the UK from the Netherlands, now lives near Deal. Prior to spending four years as CEO at Produced in Kent, she managed external relations at Kent Business School for four years.

Floortje said: “It’s been wonderful to see the regeneration of Folkestone over the years and I’m looking forward to being part of that.

“The Leas Lift team has done some incredible work to date but as the first CEO, I feel like I’m starting with a blank canvas which is very exciting.

“I’ll be able to use my creative skills to help build upon the Trustees’ vision and create a venue that works for both locals and visitors. 

“I also hope to bring my knowledge of the local food and drink sector to the Leas Lift café, which continues to be a vital source of revenue for the lift.

“Partnership building has always been at the heart of what I do. I enjoy forming a team and making sure people can work well together so I’m looking forward to getting stuck in and getting to know everyone.”  

The campaign to save the Grade II* Listed at risk Leas Lift – a nationally significant heritage asset – began in 2018 when volunteers came together to save the lift and ensure its future.

In November 2023, the charity secured £4.8m of support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, meaning the overall fundraising target of £6.6m had been reached.

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