The CAST Café inhabits a beautiful space in the Passmore Edwards building in Helston – a high ceilinged room, with large west-facing windows and expansive views across the valley of the River Cober. The building houses artists’ studios and is also a centre for the educational activities of the Cornubian Arts and Science Trust (CAST), whose aim is to increase participation and promote excellence in the arts and sciences. Together with the neighbouring Helston Museum, the CAST building is leading the way in developing an emerging ‘cultural corner’ in the historic centre of this lovely old town.
But at present, there is no heating in the building. The old central heating system has broken down and is too expensive to repair and run. Creating one area within the building with a welcoming embrace of warmth will make a huge difference. Not only will it benefit the existing users of the building – artists currently working in unheated studios – it will also encourage more people to come and participate in the public activities and events that go on here, or simply to come in for a coffee and catch up with friends in a warm and welcoming space.
A relatively small sum of money will dramatically improve the situation right now – and far into the future – for all the people who use the building.
£5,000 will fund the purchase and installation of a robust and efficient wood-burning stove in the café space.
We are launching this campaign through crowdfunder.co.uk because crowd-funding seems to us the perfect way of giving people a stake in the CAST mission, and in the creation of a new social space, both for the local community and for visitors to Helston. Moreover, a successful campaign will demonstrate wide support and assist our efforts to find the extra funding we shall need to develop the CAST Café, and to renovate the CAST building.
£5,000 might seem like a lot for a wood-burner, but we need to purchase a substantial stove capable of heating such a large space. We also need to run a flue up the full height of the building externally. It's a very tall building and will need a lot of flue, which means more expense, both in materials and in labour.
As soon as we reach our target, we'll let you know more about our future plans, all aimed at improving the fabric of the space.
More about CAST Café
For the last two years, CAST Café has been operating sporadically as a pop up. The space has also been the social hub for a variety of activities put on by CAST, including open studios events, residencies for visiting artists, lectures, workshops, film screenings and much more. All this has been achieved with a minimum of resources and equipment, relying on the ingenuity of those involved.
From mid-February, CAST Café will open two days a week, every Tuesday and Thursday. If we're successful in this campaign, there will be a wonderful welcoming wood fire! And everyone who has pledged will be able to visit, bask in the warmth, and claim a free coffee or lunch...
We are currently working on plans to install a fully equipped kitchen, as well as carrying out other essential building work within the café space. The end result will be a daily opening CAST café and cultural space – a valuable addition to the social, cultural and gastronomic landscape of the town. Offering great coffee and delicious, primarily vegetarian food, using locally sourced produce of the best quality, CAST Café will be unlike any other place to eat and drink in Helston. It will bring people back into the centre and increase the appeal of this beautiful old town for visitors. It will also support the CAST mission of increasing participation in the arts.
More about the Passmore Edwards building
The building has a long history. Originally a School of Science and Art, given to the town in 1897 by the Victorian philanthropist and prominent Cornishman, John Passmore Edwards, it was expanded in 1905, and again in 1913, as a county secondary school. With the introduction of comprehensive education in Helston in 1972 it became redundant and was later used as a community centre until, in 2012, it was sold by the local town council and the Cornubian Arts and Science Trust (CAST) was set up to manage it.
Years of neglect had the left the building in a very poor state, but much has already been done to arrest its decline and improve its condition. The amounts required to completely renovate the building are considerable. CAST has no endowment and is constantly searching for new avenues of funding.
More about Dominic
Dominic Bailey is leading the Hearth for Helston campaign on behalf of CAST. He will also be running the pop up CAST Café two days a week while working on plans for the installation of a professional kitchen and development of a daily opening café in the space. He has spent years working in restaurant management and moved to Cornwall two years ago to take up a position as Assistant General Manager at the highly reputed Gurnard's Head, on the windswept cliffs of West Penwith. Prior to this, he spent five years at the Duke of Cambridge in Islington, London, the only certified Organic pub in the UK. He grew up on the edge of the Lake District in Kendal, Cumbria before studying Drama and French at university in London. After studies, he moved to Greece where he worked in film and television, before returning to the UK and turning to his other passion of food and drink. He is also a keen photographer and printer and has set up a darkroom in the CAST building.