Torbay residents aim to breath new life into Oldway Mansion

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Oldway Mansion is set for a new lease of life with an overwhelming response from local volunteers, a multi-million-pound lottery bid and efforts to create a charitable trust all moving forward.

Since an appeal was launched last month for volunteers to help maintain the garden, more than 100 people have come forward to volunteer for the Oldway Gardens Group. In addition, The Oldway Trust has been submitted to the Charity Commission for registration and a bid is being made to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for a £9.85m Heritage Horizons grant.

Councillor Darren Cowell, Deputy Leader of Torbay Council and Chair of Oldway Working Party, said: “It is great that so much progress is being made to get the Grade II Listed Oldway Mansion and estate back on track, and this is further evidence of the Council’s commitment to work for a sustainable future for Oldway and the Estate.

“It is fantastic that so many people have come forward to offer their time as volunteers as this shows local residents really do care about Oldway and our local heritage. There’s a lot of work to do but exciting times are ahead!”

Councillor Swithin Long, Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration, Tourism and Housing, said: “We really want to make the best of this historic site and one of the first steps will be when The Oldway Trust sign a memorandum of understanding with Torbay Council which means the Trust will be able to work with the Council, Friends Groups, partners and the wider community to bring forward projects.

“The Council want to develop a new relationship with the community, and Oldway is proving to be a great example of how the Council and the community can work together.”

The Oldway Trust is founded by trustees Paul Hawthorne (Chair), Darren Cowell, Anna Tolchard and Chris Robson.

Paul Hawthorne, Chair of the Oldway Trust, said: “After over a decade of campaigning we now have the perfect alignment of local authority and community needed to achieve the restoration of Oldway. We have a long way to go but I am confident now there is the unanimous support we need to drive things forward, and we can all look forward to, and be part of, a bright future as this great estate returns to its former glory for us all to enjoy.”

Tim Eley who heads up the Oldway Gardens Group said:” It is great to see the love and affection people have for Oldway and its grounds. New plantings are already underway. For maintenance purposes the grounds are being divided into smaller areas for volunteers to look after which will give them a form of ownership of their patch”.

An Expression of Interest has been submitted to the National Lottery Heritage Fund – ‘Heritage Horizons’. This is for a total project of £16.6m and the submitted bid is for a grant of £9.85m. There are 146 organisations putting in bids to the Fund with a total of £50m available.

The Lottery Fund are expected to respond to the bid by mid-November and if successful will be invited to make a full submission in December. If the bid passes that stage then a fully worked up project plan will be considered in August 2020 when it is expected there will be five or six projects selected nationally.

The Oldway Gardens Volunteers Group has already been busy working in the gardens, undertaking clearance work, weeding, repairs and will also be opening a tea hut. You can find out more about how to become a volunteer on the Oldway Gardens Volunteers Group Facebook page

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