The Charles Causley Trust is in desperate need of funding, it has been revealed by the organisation’s directors.

At a recent Launceston Town Council meeting, director of the Trust, Nicola Nuttall, approached the council in the hope of some aid.

The organisation aims to keep the memory of Charles Causley alive, the famous Cornish poet who lived in Launceston. They hope to raise the profile and appreciation of his work, and to promote writing and the other arts, especially in the South West.

The Trust holds a number of events across the year to celebrate Causley’s work, including the Causley Festival of Arts and Literature, the Young People’s Poetry Competition, The Charles Causley International Poetry Competition, and the Writer in Residence, which sees writers and poets from across the country come to Launceston to stay in Cyprus Well, Causley’s home.

At the meeting, Nicola expressed difficulties being faced by The Causley Trust at this time, this primarily centred on the organisation’s financial struggles. She explained to the council: “In the last two years, even though we have gone through the period of Covid, which as you all know, was incredibly challenging, we have also looked at some changes. We’ve looked at significant change in terms of systems, in terms of the work that we do, in terms of funding and so on and so forth, which has been transformational for the Trust.

“We’ve had significant funding from the Arts Council (England), from Cornwall Council, from yourselves [Launceston Town Council], and from the Arts Fund as well, but unfortunately, the position we find ourselves in at the moment is that all of the additional applications that we have submitted over the last six months have been unsuccessful.

“It is not unusual in the arts sector to find ourselves in a position where either political or economic reasons affect the funding decisions which have been made. We have had significant funding from the Arts Council in the past which has allowed us to do a lot in the area, but what has happened now is that the Arts Council has decided that Cornwall is not a priority place and they’ve also decided that organisations which have received funding in the past will not receive any additional funding in the future because they have a reduced budget.”

These unsuccessful applications have left The Causley Trust in a difficult position, searching for funding to allow them to continue the brilliant work they carry out in our area.

Speaking to the Post about these issues, David Devanny, Chair of the Trustee Director Office, explained: “The Charles Causley Trust is funded through a broad portfolio including membership, generous donations, charitable trusts, funding from the council and grant funding organisations like the Arts Council.

“It’s a challenging landscape for arts funding, that’s for sure, but we’ve been diversifying the range of activities we’re involved in for a few years now, running heritage and community events, bringing art to the high street and working hard to make literature accessible to everyone. It became really clear in the pandemic, whether it’s for personal growth, entertainment, or connection, that people really do value having poetry, storytelling and art in their lives.

“As well as an internationally recognised poet, Charles Causley was a socially-engaged teacher from Launceston. The Charles Causley Trust endeavours to honour his memory not only through connecting people of all ages with his wonderful words, and providing a space for artists to thrive, but also as part of the community. We try to support all of the ways that arts and literature works.Events and spaces can help the development, growth and connectedness of everyday people across Britain and especially in the South West peninsula.”

Without the Trust, Launceston would lose a part of its identity, as well as an avenue for young people to explore and learn about literature and the arts.

“We live in a golden age of storytelling with people engaging with written material across a huge range of platforms and formats, and we know that reading and writing is so enriching and can change your life,” continued David.

“But in a cost of living crisis and with the educational pressures facing young people today, it can be too easy to feel like reading and writing isn’t something which is available to them.

“Organisations like the Charles Causley Trust perform a vital role in inspiring young people, equipping them with experience, and giving them access to the joy and power of literature.”