Following huge initial popularity amongst residents and visitors, Tavistock’s newly revamped Guildhall is set to smash its annual footfall target as it continues putting the town on a world stage.
Since opening on December 4 last year, the centre has attracted thousands through its doors — in the first two weeks alone visitor numbers totalled 1,600.
The centre was built on a vision of being a flagship project for the town and prides itself on operating as a venue working in tandem with others of a similar nature, such as Tavistock Wharf and the town hall, complementing what has been already established.
Last Saturday alone, over 500 people walked through the door.
The project was funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund who sanctioned the project on the proviso that they welcome 35,000 visitors a year and in light of early numbers, the centre is already on track to exceed this target.
Richard Rundell, centre manager said: ‘We’re a community led organisation with over 100 volunteers, almost all of whom are Tavistock residents who have always lived here.
‘If a new venture like this turned up but solely tried to strive for profit, they wouldn’t have the support of the locals like we do. It’s a fantastic opportunity to be working alongside the other event venues in the town.’
A myraid of upcoming events promises to attract further visitors to the centre — of which there have been three already. The first was a sold out talk delivered by local historian and former police officer Simon Dell, who launched his new book detailing his working life in the Guildhall building which used to serve as a police base.
Two more well-attended talks followed and now the programme of talks for the year is already full.
The next event in the spotlight is a hotly anticipated comedy evening on March 11, hosted by Plymouth-based team ‘A Press of Suspects,’ featuring a host of up-and-coming names on the comedy circuit such as ALF, Suzy Bennett and Charlie Bowers.
Although the new Guildhall is currently in its evolutionary stage of life, the success of this event promises to pave the way for future comedy nights.
Richard said: ‘Going forward, the spotlight will really be shining on the town during the summer when we have lots of visitors coming in. We’re well served to be sending them out into the community, exploring the town and showing them all that Tavistock has to offer. Despite the building’s historic nature, we have visitors of all ages — predominantly families. The feedback we’ve had from the community so far has been purely and overwhelmingly positive and that’s hugely important to us.’