Case Study: Tavistock Heritage Trust

30th May, 2022

To see all the Rebuilding Heritage Case Studies, click here.


The Tavistock Heritage Trust was formed to support Tavistock Town Council in the restoration of the historic Victorian Guildhall. There is a sole Centre Manager supported by a team of trustees.

The Guildhall is a Grade II listed building, built in 1848, and is one of the earliest examples of a purpose-built combined courtroom and police station.

The Trust’s Guildhall Gateway Centre project aims to conserve the building’s fabric and ensure its viable long-term use as an information centre, focussing on the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site. The project will also create Council offices and a community service access hub.

The Trust successfully secured a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to undertake this work. In addition to this, it also works hard to educate the public about all aspects of the unique history and heritage boasted by Tavistock and its environs.


“The support from Rebuilding Heritage was invaluable. I started a building management role – my first in the heritage sector – during a time when we all had to work from home. Having experts available offering training and advice was not only great for getting practical guidance but also for the specific support offered during the multiple lockdowns.”



At the time of Tavistock Heritage’s application, a new manager had only been in post for two months, having been delayed in starting due to the first lockdown.

When the Guildhall (now completed) reopened to the public in 2021, it was to be the first time it would be promoted as a heritage site, with a heritage offer. It was therefore a unique moment in the building’s development and necessitated thoughtful business planning.

The Trustees were keen that the role of the Centre Manager be developed to facilitate the prioritisation of activities. The Manager also sought support to review the targets laid out in the Trust’s business plan, develop income generation ideas and strategies and to better understand audiences and volunteer profiles with a view to growing and diversifying the people that were to engage with the Centre.

Support Received

Rebuilding Heritage offered support following a successful application, providing for the
Centre Manager:

Round 2 – December 2020

Tavistock Heritage Trust accessed:

 121 Support: Business Planning (Creative United)

 Group training: Managing Wellbeing for Team Leaders (Steve Wood Associates)

 Other: Rebuilding Heritage Webinars, Heritage Digital, Heritage Update

Learning Outcomes & New Directions

Business Planning

Working with the Business Planning consultant, the Centre Manager reviewed his role and priorities in relation to the Trust’s business plan and the activity timeline laid out in their application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Discussions led to the establishment of a ‘Revenue’ sub-group, drawing on trustee expertise; the sub-group analysed the different income generation options they were already considering, as well as exploring new ideas brought to them by the consultant.


Having lost some volunteer engagement due to Covid, the challenge was to encourage volunteers to come back – as well as to recruit new faces with an interest in heritage – in order to fulfil key roles, such as stewarding and front-of-house. Mapping the roles, times and target groups helped to focus attention and narrow down approaches for consideration by the partners.

Audience development learning included understanding the baseline audience, growing an offer to match the desired audiences and deciding when to review activity in order to inform future development.

This case study was adapted from those included in the Rebuilding Heritage External Evaluation by Antrobus & Armitage.

Tavistock Heritage Trust – | Twitter | Instagram

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