Trustees of the King Edward VI College Site Foundation took the decision on the 17th March 2020 to close the Mansion so as to reduce the risks of transmission of Covid-19. With the national lockdown following shortly after, the Mansion has remained closed with the sole exception of the Daisy and Rainbow Childcare Nursery. All tenants and those with any bookings during this period have not been charged. Where access has been necessary to support home working or similar this has been provided in line with the site wide and tenant and hirers own risk assessments.

The nursery has operated throughout the lockdown period providing a service to key workers and vulnerable families. They have done a fantastic job supporting our community and we have been proud to work with them at this difficult time. As government regulations have been changing in recent weeks, an increasing number of families are using the nursery, and therefore, the nursery are adjusting their provision and assessments at the moment and additional measures have been put in place to enable use of the site as safely as possible for visitors to the nursery in light of the changes.

By following a risk management process to ascertain what can be achieved given the configuration of the Mansion site, and in keeping with changing government regulations, we are now working with the Library to enable a phased introduction of their activities.

The Mansion team need a period of activity and review with those two organisations in operation, and again changing national requirements, before we can ascertain what might be possible for the rest of the Mansion site, and when any further spaces will be made available for community use. Trustees want to take this opportunity to thank Mansion users for their patience over the past weeks and during this next period.

Continuing throughout the main building closure have been the routine essential compliance and maintenance checks. To reduce the costs of running the Mansion whilst there has been no income these weekly and daily checks have been carried out by a dedicated team of volunteers; a vital element of the community management of assets.

Alongside the weekly and daily checks Trustees have continued to undertake the management of the Mansion and where possible to move forward with the plans for refurbishment and renovation. Over the period of lockdown we have been successful in securing a grant from the Architectural Heritage Fund to cover the cost of the final elements of the pre-development works for the refurbishment and re-development of the Mansion. This work is essential for the long term sustainability of the asset for community use. As a result of the funding from the Architectural Heritage Fund we anticipate putting in the application for Planning and Listed Building Consent in a matter of months. This will be a significant step towards realising the full potential of the site for community use and we are grateful for the support of the Architectural Heritage Fund.

Recognising that it has been a challenging time for everyone for a number of reasons it is clear that community-led development and ownership of assets is an important part of strengthening communities to respond to local need. We hope you will continue to join us on this journey by becoming a member of Totnes Community Development Society, the organisation that manages the Mansion. Membership is free, a simple application form is online here and will mean we can be keep in touch with you about the work we do and the affordable hire spaces available in Totnes we provide.