Final fundraising push for Bovey Paradiso

King of Prussia, Bovey Tracey.Tessa Stone and David alexander, Finance Director of Bovey Paradiso with a banner launching new fundraising for the Art centre. Copyright Chris Saville

A local group in Bovey Tracey has launched a £400,000 community share offer campaign to open a cinema, theatre and restaurant on the site of the historic 16th Century King of Prussia pub in the winter of 2021.

The share offer, which is now open, aims to raise the funds by a deadline of 31st March.

In 2018, local people formed a charitable Community Benefit Society to save the 16th Century pub from falling into disrepair by raising £464,100 in community shares. This strong community spirit meant that a local group could buy and restore the building, with help from grant funding. Now, the group is rallying for a final fundraising push that will finish the job.

The ambition is to create a community-led space called Bovey Paradiso in the iconic building that sits in the centre of the Devonian town.

This will be a place for local artists, art-lovers, cinema goers, theatre enthusiasts and restaurant lovers to enjoy, at the heart of this vibrant community on the edge of Dartmoor.

After a year of lockdown and restrictions, the project team is more eager than ever to finish the project so that the whole town can look forward to enjoying a place of fun and imagination in the future. To do this, the Directors of Bovey Paradiso have created an opportunity for locals to become members with shares via a second community share offer.

The project needs to raise at least £400,000 by the spring to secure the funds to create and build the cinema and restaurant. Work on the building was halted due to the recent pandemic, but the team are back on site and ready to work to get this new and exciting space open for the community.

So far, the project has been successful in securing a number of grants including those from Arts Heritage Fund, Foyle Foundation, Greater Dartmoor, LEAF, The Headley Trust, National Heritage Lottery Fund and Viridor Credits, alongside community members who have donated and become shareholders in the past.

David Alexander, who is on the Board of Directors, says: “We’ve come so far since we purchased the building and we’ve done the really difficult bit, we now just need help to finish the job. We want to add to the existing reputation of Bovey as a creative and engaging place to live.

‘Working with other Bovey-based organisations including Devon Guild of Craftsmen and the new Dartmoor Whisky Distillery, together we can create an even more exciting and fun place to live.”

When taken over by the Society, the building was in disrepair,
and nearly falling down, but thanks to the funds raised by grants and locals and work by volunteers, great strides forward have
been taken to get Bovey Paradiso ready for its first visitors.
Stephen Willmore, the Chair, adds: “This iconic historic building now has a bright and exciting future. What we plan is to create an open, large space for people to gather at the heart of Bovey, using only Devon craftspeople to help rebuild this important building to keep its history whilst creating a bright future for the town.”

All the work has been conducted in line with the Government’s guidance in safety following the recent pandemic. The workers on site even managed to discover and save rare and historic elements of the building, so that future visitors to Bovey Paradiso can continue to enjoy them.

Anyone interested in becoming a member with shares can go to www.paradiso.org.uk/shares or call 07762 396 475.

Detailed business plans can be found https://www.paradiso.org.uk/Become-a-Member-with-community-shares/Paradiso-Arts/

Ben Fox

Author: Ben Fox

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