Museum Estate and Development Fund success for Torre Abbey

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(Last Updated On: March 12, 2022)

Torre Abbey has been successful in securing almost £500,000 from the Museum Estate and Development Fund (MEND).

The fund from the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) delivered by Arts Council England, in partnership with Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, will be used to conserve, repair, and make safe the Abbey’s 14th century Gatehouse and Georgian façade.

Upon completion of the works, visitors to Torre Abbey will once again get full access to regionally important art collections which date back more than 800 years.

The MEND grant will be matched by Council investment totalling £471,715 and funding of £23,450 from the Friends of Torre Abbey. The joint investment means almost £1million is being used to protect Torbay’s most historic building.

The Abbey which is a scheduled ancient monument dating back to 1196, is one of Torbay’s key cultural hubs. An all year-round fascinating visitor attraction offering innovative exhibitions and award-winning gardens, the Abbey also encourages opportunities for people of all ages to understand and enjoy local history.

The Torbay Heritage Strategy sets out the vision to help people to better engage and access local heritage sites. Other recent funding successes are now enabling the council to work more closely with community partners to support heritage learning opportunities, skills development and community engagement.

Since the start of the year almost £4million of grant funding has been awarded to support and celebrate Torbay’s heritage. In January almost £150,000 of National Lottery Heritage Funding was secured for Oldway Mansion. It was also recently announced that Paignton Picture House had secured £3million from the DCMS Cultural Development Fund. In addition, a further £100,000 of Torquay Town Deal funding is being used to create a new tribute to Torbay’s most famous crime writer, Dame Agatha Christie.

Cllr Swithin Long, Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration, Tourism and Housing for Torbay Council, said; “This latest funding award is fantastic news not only for Torre Abbey, but for Torbay’s heritage sector as a whole. Torbay has a fascinating and significant heritage. It can not only improve the quality of life for people in the Bay through learning, but through offering new experiences and diverse employment opportunities as the sector continue to grow and thrive, particularly as it supports our visitor economy.”

Cllr Mike Morey, Cabinet Member of Infrastructure, Environment and Culture for Torbay Council, said; “There is enormous interest in local heritage among Torbay residents. Heritage is not only about looking to the past, preserving, and conserving, it’s about the people and the places today. Torre Abbey is layered in local history yet offers a vibrant mix of ancient and modern through its exhibitions, events, learning and gardens. I’d like to thank the Friends of Torre Abbey for their generous donation and their ongoing support in ensuring Torre Abbey continues to thrive long into the future.”

Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, said; “Our artists, arts organisations, museums and libraries are experts in making villages, towns and cities better places to live, work, visit or play. This investment means they’ll be able to help more people across England to lead happier, more creative lives.”

Arts Minister Lord Parkinson said: “Culture is the bedrock of society. It brings people together, entertains and informs us, and helps us to understand our common past and shared future.

“Today we are announcing a raft of new funding for treasured cultural institutions up and down the country.

“This will help them to continue their great work, advance our work to level up access to arts and culture so they can be enjoyed by people no matter where they live, and protect these cherished institutions for future generations to enjoy.”

Works are expected to start this year and be completed by February 2024.

Further information on Torre Abbey including current exhibitions, events and opening times can be found via: www.torre-abbey.org.uk/

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