intoBodmin CIC has bought The Old Library at the top of Bodmin’s high street, which has been its base since 2017.
The sale is the result of having achieved a total £640k of grant funding which the Community Interest Company will also use to fully refurbish the Grade II listed John Passmore Edwards library.
The Old Library is home to a vibrant community hub run by intoBodmin. The building hosts a community café, shared co-working spaces and rooms for hire, plus a licensed venue with a varied events programme. However, the historic building is in poor condition and expensive to run: over the last year, it has cost £120 a day to cover the building’s basic overheads.
Initially raising £115k from Arts Council England, and £60k from Cornwall Council’s proposed devolution deal with the UK Government to purchase the building from Cornwall Council, intoBodmin has been awarded a further £465k from the Architectural Heritage Fund, Arts Council England, and the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
Cornwall Council has been chosen by Government as a Lead Authority for the fund and is responsible for monitoring the progress of projects funded through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The fund has provided £180k for the Old Library project.
Director, Fin Irwin, said: “From the very beginning, our ambition has always been to purchase The Old Library to secure it as a community space – and owning the building means we’ve been able to win this vital funding to invest in the library and give it a more secure future.
“It will also allow more of our income to be re-invested into the our community work, rather than paying high running costs.”
Repairs and upgrades will focus on making the building “warm, watertight and welcoming”, as well as reducing its carbon footprint and running costs. The overall facilities will be improved, and energy efficient lighting and heating systems installed – including solar panels donated by Clean Earth.
The building will close for up to six months while the refurbishment breathes new life into the iconic building in Bodmin’s town centre. The intoBodmin team and their programme of community activity will be moving to Shop 14 on Fore Street while the redevelopment takes place.