Liskeard Library is due to undergo a major refurbishment after Cornwall Council allocated additional funding to get the project under way.

Liskeard Library is an original John Passmore Edwards building, designed as a purpose-built library for the town of Liskeard in 1896, reflecting the beliefs of the Victorian benefactor and philanthropist that access to knowledge and learning should be available to all. Over the years the building has fallen into a state of disrepair and significant works are required to restore it to its former glory.

Cornwall-based social enterprise Real Ideas Organisation currently holds a works licence to enable them to undertake the substantial building works and refurbishment of the space. Once the works are completed and the service can be delivered from the ground floor, Real Ideas will then be transferred a long lease on the building and a service contract agreed with Cornwall Council to provide a modern library service in Liskeard for the future.

Real Ideas’ ambition is to deliver a building fit for the 21st century, with high quality, contemporary spaces and to create a gateway to support, enrich and extend activities across the town.

Cornwall Council, which owns the library, has allocated a total of £250,000 to the project. Real Ideas has also secured a £180,000 grant from the Architectural Heritage Fund to help fund the refurbishment.

The town’s library service will continue to be delivered from Luxstowe House until the works have been completed.

Cllr Edwina Hannaford, Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods at Cornwall Council, said: “I am delighted to see that this exciting project can get now under way.

“We have been working closely with Real Ideas for a number of years to secure the future of the building and enhance the library service in Liskeard.

“This beautiful building requires a significant amount of work and this funding will enable us to provide a modern and vibrant library for the town.

“We share John Passmore Edwards’ ambition of providing learning for all and are confident that the upgraded facilities will encourage more people to access the services available and that this refurbishment will transform the library into a vibrant community hub.”

Cllr Sally Hawken, Local Member for Liskeard East, said: “Real Ideas’ plan to widen involvement in the library’s services through longer opening hours and a refreshed offer is welcome. I look forward to this project being realised for the benefit of the people of Liskeard and surrounding areas.”

Lindsey Hall, Chief Executive of Real Ideas Organisation, said: “We cannot wait to get started on the refurbishment of the building so that we can bring the library service back to Liskeard town centre.

“The Library refurbishment will play an important role in the town’s COVID recovery and its future success; we are delighted that Cornwall Council has agreed the capital investment required so that works can begin.”