Cath takes charge as new look Occombe takes shape

Management team at farm attraction pose for photograph with tractor

Pictured (left to right): Damian Offer, TCCT CEO; Cath Cooke, Occombe Farm General Manager; John Stocks, Management Consultant (Occombe Farm Development). - Credit: TCCT

The Occombe Farm development has a new general manager. 

Cath Cooke’s appointment could not have been timed better coming on the same days as International Women’s Day to celebrate women in leadership. 

She joins the Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust team to head up the final stages of Occombe’s regeneration and lead the running of the new attraction once it opens this summer.   

Cath has spent 20 years in attraction management and has worked within many top, national attractions including the Tate Modern and the V&A Museum of Art and Design.  

In the last 10 years, she has been working for the National Trust as a General Manager in the South West.  

She says: “The regenerated Occombe will play such a fundamental role in Torbay. Not only will Occombe provide a great new destination for our local community to enjoy all year around, but also will support the great conservation work that TCCT undertakes in caring for our stunning green spaces and places.  

“This role appealed to me because I am so passionate about conservation and the natural environment we live in.  

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“I can’t wait to start recruiting new people to join our team and am looking forward to welcoming visitors in the summer.” 

Incorporated in the new Occombe will be a mix of indoor and outdoor play and activities alongside a much larger farm shop; providing a year-round destination.   

Building work has already progressed since the start of the new year.  It is hoped that the majority of noisy building work will be completed in time for the cafe to reopen in May. 

Presently an extension to the old farm shop is being added to create a 450 sq m area floor space, three times the current size. The extension will also provide the cafe with a new, much larger terrace above. Work has also started to remove one of the barns which will be replaced with a new, much larger barn, to accommodate an children’s indoor play area. 

It is anticipated that the new Occombe enterprise will create up to 60 full and part time new jobs. Recruitment for roles will begin soon, with opening of the entire facility planned for summer 2021.