Par Bay Community Trust (PBCT) is a registered charity. Its purpose is to serve the community of St Blazey, Par and Tywardreath in Cornwall by preventing or relieving poverty, advancing the health of residents, developing the capacity and skills of economically or socially disadvantaged residents, advancing local education and assisting in the provision of recreational facilities.
In January 2015, PBCT used funding secured from the Big Lottery’s Big Local programme to purchase an empty, two storey building in Par (formerly a dance hall and more recently an auction house) with the aim of converting it into a community hub to serve the PL24 area. This was possible thanks to the support of a group of local residents responsible for managing and distributing Big Local funding in the Par Bay area. Their support for the development of a ‘hub’ that would meet the needs of the community and bring benefit to the area, stemmed from local community consultation which identified a need for more opportunities for social interaction; training and upskilling (particularly for young people); and suitable facilities for other activity groups to use.
Local people and stakeholders will continue to be essential components in the project’s development as volunteers, users and tenants. Discounts or subsidised places will be offered to residents and those on low incomes to remove barriers and ensure accessibility to the activities occurring in the building.
PBCT’s Trustees are all residents of the PL24 area. Two are local Councillors and others are involved in running other local groups. As our Trustees live, work and play in the community, they are in regular discussion with local people and stakeholders and have a good insight into the community’s issues and concerns.
The area is perceived by both local residents and stakeholders to suffer from a lack of aspiration and academic achievement, particularly amongst young people, with poor levels of community cohesion and little cross‐generation contact. Parts of the area (i.e. St Blazey West) fall in IMD’s top 10% most deprived areas of the country with income deprivation affecting both children and older people, and a lack of adult skills as another major obstacle.
With a population of almost 10,000, the area is primarily older private and public housing, interspersed with some green recreational space and areas of small industrial units. It is bordered by Par Beach to the South, rural land to the North and East and the town of St Austell to the West. All the major industry in the area associated with Par docks, went in to decline in the 80’s and 90’s with the eventual closure of the docks in 2007 and loss of 200 jobs.
The area has never really recovered and is not regarded by local people as a place of opportunity. Despite this, the area’s population is set to grow with planning applications being approved for significant new housing development.
The area therefore desperately needs something that can be a focus for engagement, inspiration, personal development and opportunity for local people. There is also a lack of affordable studio space in Mid‐Cornwall for local artisans or creative social entrepreneurs. The Cornubia project will address these needs through the development of a creative hub, that will both support local artisans and use creative workshops to inspire, motivate and develop people all of ages and abilities, helping to break down barriers, reduce social isolation, give confidence and restore a sense of ownership and pride in the community.