Confirmation of a £50,000 grant from Arts Council England to support the renovation of Charles Causley’s House in Launceston has unlocked further investment of £112,500 from Cornwall Council and in-kind support from Launceston Town Council.
The Charles Causley Trust has been successful in securing the funding package which will pay for much needed renovation and essential structural repairs of Causley’s house. On completion the house will be transformed into a welcoming and practical space for writers’ retreats.
There are plans to attract well known writers with international reputations to the residencies. Alongside the residency programme there will be a national poetry competition a series of community events and opportunities to visit the House.
Charles Causley is acknowledged as one of the finest 20th Century poets, who was resident in the Cornish town of Launceston for most of his life. The Charles Causley Trust was established prior to Causley’s death with the aims of developing the poet’s house as a centre for the celebration of his life and writing and to promote new literature activity in the community. In 2007 the Trust purchased his house and over the past 18 months the Trust has been working closely with Cornwall Council, Launceston Town Council and Literature Works to secure the future of the house and bring it back into use.
Cornwall Council cabinet member for culture and tourism Joan Symons said: “I’m delighted with the excellent news that the Arts Council have granted £50,000 towards the renovation of the Causley House. With the match funding package from the Council this will allow the start of the renovation work. Congratulations to the Trust for persevering with the project and the officers for their hard work.”
Charles Causley’s poetic reputation was worldwide and brought him many awards among them The Queen’s Gold Medal and The Ingersoll/TS Eliot Award. He received the Hon DLitt from the University of Exeter, where his archive is now held. He was made a CBE in 1986 and a Royal Society of Literature Companion of Literature in 2000. Much of his work is a direct celebration of Cornish and Launceston life, character, history and legend. He died in 2003. Causley’s work is included in the National Curriculum for Literature and on National Poetry Day 2012 his poem ‘I am the Song’ was chosen to appear in lights at Piccadilly Circus.
Rita Skinner, Town Clerk at Launceston Town Council said: “We are very happy that funding has been secured to allow the project at Charles Causley’s House to commence. Launceston has always been very proud of Causley’s connections with the town we hope that it will really establish Launceston on the cultural map.”
Kent Stanton Chair of the Charles Causley Trust said: “We are overjoyed and delighted that we can now fulfil Causley’s dream for his house to be used to support poets and writers. We are almost there and just need another £7,000 which we hope to raise by fundraising locally”.