Even though Tavistock is the gateway to the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site, due to local government cutbacks the town had been without an information hub for over four years.
This was despite a regular influx of visitors keen to learn about the mining traditions and heritage in the southwest.
The newly formed Tavistock Heritage Trust working with the Town Council made plans to re-open the centre but without money and volunteers to run it the project looked like it might never get off the ground, but then Rotary got the call.
Not content to just open the cheque book, both the Rotary members and the local Friends of Rotary dusted down their vocational and personal skills, rolled up their sleeves and got stuck in.
Club President Norrie Phillips used his RAF electrical training to PAT test all the donated electrical equipment, Club Secretary Judy Hirst took over co-ordinating the volunteer rotas, whilst husband Simon joined the Trust to oversee all the finances.
With Rotary’s help… we’ve turned the centre into a vibrant and truly supporting community hub.”
Past President Clive Fairchild not only became designated handyman, but also agreed to lead heritage walks around the town, whilst his wife Kathy became a regular volunteer.
Other club members and friends donated equipment, joined the volunteer rota, and set up special fundraising initiatives.
One members even ran a series of art history courses raising nearly £3,000 towards the running costs of the centre.
With Rotary’s help the building has become far more than just a tourist information centre.
It is also operating as a hub for information on all the town’s community organisations, providing information on events, support groups, charity appeals, shop mobility aids and much much more.
The volunteers are even receiving Dementia Friends training sessions courtesy of one of the Rotary Dementia Champions and at least two new volunteers are now joining Rotary to do even more community volunteering.
Says Tavistock Heritage Trust Chairman Andrew Main:
“Our goal has always been for the VIC to be a beacon in the middle of the town directing both visitors and locals to the wonderful heritage of our town.
“With Rotary’s help we have not only reached this goal, but we have also been able to turn the centre into a vibrant and truly supportive community hub.”