A Helston organisation is celebrating after being awarded more than £700,000. 

A series of renovation works will soon begin at CAST in Helston following the grant awarded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, through the Government.

The art centre and creative hub in Helston was awarded £705,374 to enable ‘CAST rehabilitation phase two’, a programme of renovations that will secure the future of the building as an essential part of Helston’s cultural provision.

Funding received from the Shared Prosperity Fund will primarily enable the replacement of roofs and installation of solar panels and will support the development of CAST’s work with schools and young people, the provision of free creative activities for children and families, and other exciting programming yet to be announced.

Falmouth Packet: Families enjoying CAST's recent free 'Lumos' lantern workshop led by Lucy GrantFamilies enjoying CAST's recent free 'Lumos' lantern workshop led by Lucy Grant (Image: Juliet Welch)Cornwall Council has been chosen by the Government as a lead authority for the fund and is responsible for monitoring the progress of projects funded through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.


Eleven years have now passed since CAST took on the semi-derelict former school building in Penrose Road, intending to create studios for artists and host cultural events. The initial work to create studios was supported by investment from the European Union and Defra through the Rural Development Programme for England.

A substantial grant from Arts Council England’s Small Capital scheme followed, enabling the refurbishment of public areas and the creation of CAST’s café.

Falmouth Packet: Children from St Michael's Primary School, taking part in a drawing workshop outside CAST, July 2023Children from St Michael's Primary School, taking part in a drawing workshop outside CAST, July 2023 (Image: Juliet Welch)In 2018 when CAST developed Groundwork – an ambitious cross-Cornwall programme of contemporary art – the former school assembly hall was converted into a state-of-the-art black box screening space, which now hosts CAST’s popular talks and screening evenings as well as installations of moving image work by internationally acclaimed artists.

More recently the CAST has welcomed a new open-access ceramic studio which was supported by European funding through the Community Led Local Development programme. However, major renovation work is still needed to ensure that the building which was originally given to Helston by the philanthropist John Passmore Edwards as a school of science and art, can continue to serve the community for many years to come.

Louis Gardner, Cornwall council cabinet portfolio holder for economy said: “Community, place and creative economy are a key investment priority under the Shared Prosperity Fund.

"The determination from CAST to provide cultural and educational opportunities for the local community is to be celebrated and this funding will ensure they can do this for many years to come.”

Falmouth Packet: Juliet Welch Juliet Welch (Image: Juliet Welch)Former Helston mayor, Tim Grattan-Kane, a long-term supporter of CAST, expressed his pleasure at seeing the future of the building secured. He said: “Building on the legacy of John Passmore Edwards, CAST has made a huge difference to the social and cultural landscape of this town.

“I am delighted that their important contribution is being recognised with this very significant grant.”