A KICKSTARTER campaign created to help a chef open a new restaurant in Colchester has raised thousands of pounds within a matter of hours.

Paul Wendholt, who until the end of October ran Grain with business partner Jordan Sidwell, announced earlier this month he would be going solo on a new project.

The new restaurant, called Kintsu, will be opening this spring near Grain's old premises in North Hill, promising to bring its popular fine-dining small plate concept back to the town.

To get the project off the ground, however, Mr Wendholt has launched a kickstarter fundraiser to raise start-up capital.

Those who donate will be given a reward they can redeem in the future at the restaurant once it opens.

Since launching on Friday, more than £15,000 has been donated towards the £20,000 goal.

Mr Wendholt said on the Kickstarter page: "I am putting every penny I made from grain back in to Kintsu - but it will only go so far and the plans I have for change are extensive.

"Could I go to a bank? Banks have never wanted to lend to restaurants and 2020 has only hammered that home, margins are so fine across the sector the risk and return for them now just mean it's a non starter.

"But my main reason for coming back to Kickstarter is I'm hopeful there are people that want to see small business succeed as we leave Covid behind and this way they can do that and there is something in it for them in return."

Mr Wendholt has also revealed more about his ambitious plans for Kintsu, with many of the team from Grain returning to the new restaurant.

He said: "Kintsu is not Grain two - it will be so much more.

"It's time to build on what grain had become but in a new setting, even if it is in the same building.

"We spent four years making the best of the space, equipment and resources we had and I think you can say we succeeded.

"But for me it just lit the spark that makes me want to see if we can go further.

"To stop making do with what we have and instead start to make the building work for us.

"So we're going back to the drawing board, clearing out and starting over. This time we're doing it our way."

To donate to the appeal or find out more, visit https://bit.ly/3fhUGnN.