Our New Home

Wednesday 10th January 2024By Fliss Loxley

Happy New Year!

We’re delighted to announce that The Pearl Exchange has found a new home. Since it was announced that our current building was up for Expressions of Interest, we felt very strongly that we needed to find a home with longer term security.

A building is so much more than bricks and mortar. It is a home, a possibility, the past, present and future. It is safety. It is critical to building a resilient, confident, thriving young community.

We’ve been leasing the Pitch n Putt since 2020. Having this space has allowed us to grow as an organisation. We started as a Community Interest Company, with an idea of ways to help the young adults of Cornwall and Devon through creative means but no real sense if these ideas would work. So after submitting a successful proposal to the Council we held an initial one week taster before launching an eight week Pilot Programme. Both of which were hugely successful! Since January 2022 we have been running a year-round programme engaging upwards of 400 people a year and providing free counselling for hundreds of people.

In May 2023 our hard work paid off when we were awarded Charitable Status from the Charity Commission – which was a massive win for us! As a first home The Pitch n Putt has been a great base in which to grow but it has also presented a number of challenges.

  • We’ve always had to renew the lease annually which hasn’t given us the security we’d like, it has made it difficult to be strategic in our planning.
  • Space; we’re growing and while that is an amazing thing and we are very proud of the speed in which our reach is increasing, we need another room and more storage space to run our programme to its fullest!
  • To really build our identity and offer a programme reflective of the growing needs we require more freedom and autonomy, and a space which we can run in alignment with our vision.
  • The location, while wonderful in the summer, it’s a little too far out and isolated for the darker winter months. It can be very daunting to walk down that long drive in the wind and rain at night! We’ve always felt a more central location would be hugely beneficial giving us real visibility and allowing people to feel more confident to drop in to use our space.

With that in mind, when the Council notified us in October 2023 that they were opening up The Pitch n Putt building and course for Expressions of Interest, given all of the above we felt it was time to look elsewhere.

We started looking at options and were honoured when local Artist Nina Brooke said that she would happily rent her Gallery space, Joy Editions, to The Pearl Exchange for an incredibly generous annual rent, in support of our work!

This space has everything we need;

  • It’s in the centre of town
  • The floor plan is almost double the size of our current space
  • It is easy to find and on a main road
  • We have a long-term rental agreement in place
  • We have autonomy to use the space as we wish
  • It gives us space to grow and develop
  • It is a manageable space to maintain

We really do believe that this is the best new home for The Pearl Exchange and we’re so excited to start this next chapter.

The only catch! It needs work!

It is a brilliant empty shell but it needs renovating in order to be fit for purpose. Nina our landlord is about to start work on a new roof and insulation but in order to make it sustainable for us, we need to renovate the downstairs space, adding insulation and a new heating system. To date the downstairs has not been used for public facing work. All the work that we wish to undertake is to make it affordable to run and in the longer term, to reduce utility bills and provide us with an adaptable space which works for our needs.

Our aim is now to raise £50,000 to undertake this work and have the building ready for Spring/Summer 2024!

The work on the building will include;

  • Fitting a new central heating system (this is to make sure we’re not reliant on hugely expensive electric heaters)
  • Adding insulation and level flooring downstairs
  • Tanking and insulating the walls
  • Replacing single pane windows with double glazed
  • Adding a simple kitchen area and storage
  • Fitting a fire escape
  • Disabled toilet

We’re in the process of launching a capital appeal to fund these works and are so excited to start this new journey!

Our programme and counselling will still continue as usual at our current premises, until we’re ready to make the switch.

It has been such a pleasure to help The Pearl Exchange get to where we are today and I can’t wait to help us get to this next phase!

Thank you all for your support to date.

Fliss Loxley | Managing Director

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Plan for downstairs
Plan for upstairs