Mike Morey - Credit: Torbay Council

Creating cultural and heritage spaces to thrive for the future

Creating cultural and heritage spaces to thrive for the future

Jim Parker

We really are at the beginning of a once in a generation period of transformation, with exciting multi-million-pound projects happening across the whole of the Bay.

With funding commitments from Government and other heritage organisations it shows that our regeneration ambition is fully supported, and we are serious about creating spaces and places for people to thrive, both now and for our future generations.
Our Heritage Strategy vision is to help people to better engage and access local heritage sites, and being successful recently in several funding bids, this is helping us achieve this.

This type of investment really does improve the quality of life for our residents, as well as offering new experiences and diverse employment opportunities as this area is growing and thriving. Not only for those who live here but it also supports our visitors who choose to visit the Bay.
One area of the Bay that is seeing significant investment in culture and heritage is Paignton. The combined investment from the Cultural Development Fund and Future High Street Fund totals more than £16 million for the regeneration of Paignton town centre.
One such successful funding bid has seen Paignton Picture House secure almost £3 million of Cultural Development Funding. Supported by the Council and Torbay Culture, this funding will now see the Picture House become a central cultural hub for Paignton.
There was tough opposition and Torbay is just one of seven places across the whole of the UK, and the only region in the South West, to secure this funding .

This money will now allow the Picture House Trust to move forward with plans to create a flexible mixed-use space that not only celebrates local heritage but will allow more people within the community to become involved in culture and heritage.
Through the Future High Streets Fund bid we also managed to secure £1.25 million for the Picture House, which means the total investment for the restoration of one of Europe’s earliest purpose-built cinemas is now more than £4 million. This really does show how highly these types of projects are thought of and is bringing great investment into the Bay.
Torbay was also recently mentioned as a ‘Priority Place’ in the Levelling Up for Culture announcement. This means local cultural organisations will be eligible to bid for a share of Arts Council funding from their 2023-26 Investment Programme.

The funding is designed to strengthen cultural and creative opportunities and ensure they have a deep and lasting effect on places and the people who live in them.

We are also actively encouraging cultural organisations to apply to be National Portfolio Organisations (NPO) with the Arts Council. Being an NPO gets you core funding for three years.
Torre Abbey has also successfully secured almost £500,000 from the Museum Estate and Development Fund. The Council match funded this along with funding from the Friends of Torre Abbey. That is almost £1 million being used to protect the Bay’s most historic building.

The fund will be used to conserve, repair and make safe the Abbey’s 14th century Gatehouse and Georgian Façade.
When completed, visitors to the Abbey will once again get full access to regionally important art collections which date back more than 800 years.
Torre Abbey is looking forward to a very busy summer of event and exhibitions.  From the 20 Women who Changed the World exhibition that is open until the beginning of June to South Devon Stitchers ‘From Moor to Sea’ panels which are depicting the endangered species of Devon.
This is really an exciting time for Torbay, and with this level of investment in all areas not just heritage, already committed to the Bay, I am confident we can continue to show there is a lot more to Torbay.
Cllr Mike Morey
Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Environment and Culture

Building A Greater Torbay