FH: stories | Alise Kirtley

Having lived in London for a decade, Alise Kirtley, 36, moved to Folkestone in 2019. While she loved what the capital had to offer, her love of the countryside made her want to relocate.

The perfect opportunity presented itself when her company merged with a Folkestone-based start-up, Plan with Care. Alise fell in love with the district, made the move and hasn’t looked back.

“Folkestone ticked a lot of boxes for me,” she explains, “but there were two particularly big appeals to moving to the town.

“Firstly, access to nature. The sweeping, coastal landscapes and surrounding hills; and the fact I can go for a lovely walk straight from my front door brings me so much joy. Secondly, the sense of the community. It’s far more supportive and welcoming than London and people are so encouraging.

“Folkestone is a really good size. It’s big enough that you don’t feel trapped in a closed community, but it’s also small enough that you see familiar faces and can build relationships with strangers. I’ve actually made friends just from walking along the seafront,” she adds.

By day, Alise works as a Care & Wellbeing Consultant, supporting people living with dementia by improving their quality of life. By night, she is an active musician, as a member of The Bearing. Living only a 12-minute walk from the office, and the ability to work remotely combined with access to a wide cultural offering, has helped Alise achieve a work-life balance.

“I was worried about leaving London’s culture behind, but it was astonishing how much was going on,” she continues. “Folkestone has excellent visual arts and a growing music scene, as a musician myself I’m really excited to be part of it.

“There’s a fantastic foodie scene – a couple of favourites are Dr Legumes, a vegan eatery on the Harbour Arm, and Marley’s, a bistro on the Old High Street. It’s so important to support local businesses and Folkestone makes that easy.”

For people considering moving to the district, Alise has some advice. “Firstly, do it! But also put yourself out there. Folkestone has so many community events. When I first moved, I spent a lot of time upstairs at Eleto Chocolate Café, where there are live poetry readings, world culture evenings and language exchanges. This was a great way to meet people and get settled in my new home.”

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