Cultural Assets Fund success for Torre Abbey

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Torre Abbey has been awarded £363,748 from the Cultural Assets Fund (CAF); a £20 million government funding stream to protect treasured heritage assets in England from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

With additional funding provided by Torbay Council and Friends of Torre Abbey, a total pot of £404,165 will fund a project to conserve and repair Torre Abbey’s southeast wing, Courtyard 4, and the tower next to the Learning Suite.

The National Heritage Memorial Fund is administering the CAF funding as part of its £40 million UK-wide COVID-19 Response Fund, to safeguard nationally important heritage which is at risk due to the pandemic. The COVID-19 Response Fund includes the £20 million Department of Digital, Culture Media and Sport CAF made available to heritage organisations in England, boosted by a further £20 million of NHMF funds to support UK-wide organisations.

The project will address water ingress and improve ventilation by completing parapet and windows repairs, repairing masonry and repointing, replacing cement render with lime, repairing internal plaster finishes, and replacing inadequate rainwater goods. Urgent landscaping works will lower the ground to original levels and replace with Cedex to improve drainage and prevent further water ingress.

The news comes on the back of Torre Abbey securing almost £500,000 from the Museum Estate and Development Fund (MEND) earlier this year. The MEND grant is being matched by Council investment totalling £471,715 and funding of £23,450 from the Friends of Torre Abbey. This fund from the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) delivered by Arts Council England, in partnership with Historic England, will be used to conserve, repair, and make safe the Abbey’s 14th century Gatehouse and Southwest Wing.

These joint investments mean almost £1.4 million is being used to restore and protect Torbay’s most historic building, which is owned by Torbay Council. Work on the project is set to start in January 2023, with Torre Abbey open throughout. Interpretation and a variety of projects will keep the local community up to date with the work being carried out as part of this exciting project, that will protect the Abbey for future generations to enjoy.

Cllr Swithin Long, Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration, Tourism and Housing for Torbay Council, said “This is fantastic news for Torre Abbey, in a year when almost £4.4 million in grant funding has been awarded to support Torbay’s heritage. The Torbay Heritage Strategy was created to help people better engage with heritage sites and successes like these shows that our work alongside our community partners is now paying dividends.”

Cllr Mike Morey, Cabinet Member of Infrastructure, Environment and Culture for Torbay Council, said; “Congratulations to the team at Torre Abbey for their hard work in putting another successful funding bid together. Torre Abbey is not only a scheduled ancient monument, it’s a multi-award-winning visitor attraction and centre for the arts. This funding and the additional kind support from the Friends of Torre Abbey will open up parts of the buildings that are currently closed.”

Dr Simon Thurley CBE, Chair of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, said: “I am delighted to announce our support for Torre Abbey, a scheduled ancient monument of national significance and an incredibly important part of the tourism offer in Devon.”

“Like so many of our beloved heritage sites, Torre Abbey has been impacted by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. This government grant, allocated by the National Heritage Memorial Fund, will enable urgent conservation work to go ahead and open up new parts of the buildings for visitors to enjoy as they return to this fantastic heritage site.”

Heritage Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “Torre Abbey has stood for almost a thousand years and we hope our funding for the ancient site will help make sure it’s preserved for many more years to come.

“The Abbey is an important tourist attraction, and our support will mean more of the building is available for visitors to enjoy.”

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