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Bovey Paradiso – Another Jewel in the Bovey Crown

Mon 2 Aug 2021

By Lisa Robillard Webb

Over the years, Bovey Tracey has been forging ahead with its identity as a centre for the arts & crafts.  We have so much to be proud and thankful for with our range of shops, centres and events.  Not only do we benefit as residents and visitors, we are also able to support our local artists and craftspeople who have faced significant challenges during the recent lockdowns.  We now have another jewel to add to our crown, the Bovey Paradiso.  Once the social meeting hive of the King of Prussia pub, this historical building has been lovingly brought to life by the people of Bovey and a dedicated team of volunteers.  As a new Community Arts Centre, this will be a fresh place for us to meet and connect in. 

Of all the challenges ahead – environmental, economic and social, being community-based seems to be a vital strand to the successful future of our town.  In particular, with semi-rural areas such as ours, travelling to entertainment can be costly in time, money and to the environment.  Phase 2 of the Bovey Paradiso project includes the development of a restaurant and cinema/theatre. These are great opportunities at the top of Fore Street and should complement the businesses already established. I am not alone in being excited to see this resource unfold on our doorstep – owned and run by the community, it will be a great asset to us.  There is a place of larger brands in society but in our local high streets they often impose a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach that does not bring the essence of a town/village alive.

I recognise the tremendous effort that the team have taken to get Phase one completed.  Their hard work, tenacity and dedication to this community project is inspiring and definitely worthwhile. I feel fortunate and thankful for their commitment.  They have brought a new lease of life to one of our oldest buildings through its renovation and new purpose.  As I write, Emma of Pom Stitch Tassel has signed up to be one of the first studio space tenants.  She lives and works in Bovey and really wants to bring her craft service to our town. This is a great example of a project bringing together local craftspeople and their community – bringing business, jobs, creativity and joy.

This fine example of community activism needs support.  I assume and hope that the local elected representatives are wholeheartedly supporting this endeavour.  It is nothing short of heroic, the amount of funds raised so far (including over £100,000 during the latest lock-down).  But Phase 2 needs more funds.  The current community share offer has been extended and gives us the chance to own a slice of this new centre for art and entertainment. Anyone interested in becoming a member with shares can go to www.paradiso.org.uk/shares or call 07762 396 475.  I wish the team all the best with this venture and I hope that you will lend them your support in whatever way you can.

Lisa Robillard Webb – centraldevonlabour@gmail.com

Other columns by Lisa Robillard Webb

Rethinking Social Care - Mon 14 Jun 2021
Hard Times – Exams and Education in Covid-19 Chaos - Mon 1 Mar 2021
The Devon Guild of Craftsmen – A True Gift to Bovey - Thu 1 Oct 2020
Black Lives Matter - Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere - Tue 7 Jul 2020
Central Devon – A beautiful place to fight for - Tue 11 Feb 2020
South Dartmoor Community College - Mon 2 Dec 2019
Our Local Post Offices - Thu 1 Aug 2019
Political Choice - Fri 3 May 2019
High Streets – At the centre of our communities - Thu 24 Jan 2019
The Shame of UK’s Indefinite Detention - Thu 8 Nov 2018

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