Real Ideas Organisation has been awarded £855,451 from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund for the redevelopment of Liskeard Library. 

 The money will be used to create a state-of-the-art public facility combining 21st century library provision with specialist tech facilities, activity and learning programme for the local community and businesses.  

 The project, called ‘Afina Liskeard’ (Cornish for illuminate) will create 233m2 of high-quality flexible space containing a modern library and supporting people of all ages through a range of cultural and community programmes including large immersive events.  

 The plans aim to generate growth in the local creative tech sector by investing in immersive audio technologies. There will also be an activity and learning programme with 360 film-making clubs for children as well as new jobs and volunteering opportunities. 

 Lindsey Hall, CEO of Real Ideas Organisation, said:“Receiving support from the Shared Prosperity Fund is brilliant. It means we can complete the final stage of the capital works needed to renovate Liskeard’s Passmore Edwards Library and reopen it to coincide it with the 200th anniversary of John Passmore Edwards birth. It also kickstarts an exciting programme of activities connecting local individuals, community groups, creative and other enterprises with the new immersive tech facilities we aim to offer.” 

 Work is already underway and is set to be completed by the end of 2023 when the building, which has sat at the heart of the community for over 100 years, will once again be open to the public. It also coincides with celebrations throughout 2023 for the 200th anniversary of the birth of John Passmore Edwards, the Cornish philanthropist who originally funded the grade 2 listed library building. 

 Real Ideas Organisation (RIO), a CIC formed in 2007, has a received the funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, as part of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Good Growth Culture and Heritage-led Regeneration and Skills programme.  

 Louis Gardner, Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for economy, said: “The Shared Prosperity Fund is about levelling up communities across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and attracting people to visit new places. Liskeard is an exciting place to be with the redevelopment of the library as well as the Council led £5.2m regeneration project to transform the former Liskeard Cattle Market, expected to add £1.2m a year to the local economy and support new jobs.” 

 Nick Craker, Cornwall Councillor for Liskeard Central, said: “I have long lobbied to see Liskeard’s library re-open on Barras Street, barely a week goes by when somebody doesn’t stop me to ask when the library will be coming back to its town centre home. The people of Liskeard rightly want their library building back. I am delighted that with our support the Council has now awarded RIO significant additional resources which will hopefully get this refurbishment over the line, and Liskeard can get its library building back. I am grateful to RIO for all their hard work to ensure this project succeeds for Liskeard.” 

 Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has been allocated a total of £132m of Shared Prosperity Fund for local investment providing opportunities for communities and businesses and giving residents access to new jobs and training.   

 Businesses, community organisations, public bodies and partnerships are encouraged to submit applications showing how they will create good growth and deliver lasting impact for Cornwall and Isles of Scilly. All current funding opportunities are available on the Good Growth website.