Located in the historic centre of Helston, CAST (the Cornubian Arts and Science Trust) is a visual arts organisation and artists’ studio provider. The trust provides public cultural programming, including exhibitions of artists’ moving image work, talks, film screenings and workshops. It also provides learning programmes for schools and offers free creative activities for children, families and young people.
CAST’s building was originally given to Helston by the philanthropist John Passmore Edwards as a school of science and art in 1897. It later became a secondary school, with extensions in 1905 and 1913, but was made redundant when comprehensive education came to Helston in 1972. From 1978 the building was used as a community centre, but fell into a state of disrepair and by 2011 was boarded up and semi-derelict. In 2012 a small group of private benefactors purchased the building, later gifting it to CAST.
Over the next six years funding from the European Union and Defra (through the Rural Development Programme for England), Cornwall Council, Arts Council England’s Small Capital scheme, and the European Regional Development Fund (through the Community Led Local Development programme), as well as a number of private trusts and foundations, supported a range of renovations.
Major work is still needed to ensure that this fine old building can continue to serve the community for many years to come. Funding received from the Shared Prosperity Fund will enable ‘CAST rehabilitation phase two’, including the replacement of roofs, the installation of solar panels, and essential renovations to the public areas and access routes to the building. It will also support the development of CAST’s work with schools and young people, the provision of free creative activities for children and families, and some key public events in 2023 and 2024.
More information on the project and the history of the building can be found at c-a-s-t.org.uk