• Sheila V

Into Bodmin Looks To The Future

Updated: Aug 20

The Old Library, Bodmin

Coffee and Chat with Fin Irwin, Managing Director Into Bodmin



https://soundcloud.com/sheila-vanloo/interview-fin-irwin



A new chapter in the history of Bodmin’s beautiful Old Library began in September 2018; with Fin Irwin’s passion and vision the library very quickly became a community hub.

Drawing on his years of experience within the world of Arts & Culture, Fin attracted audiences with theatre, comedy, poetry, storytelling and scratch performances; keen to expand and book international performers larger numbers were soon enjoying live music in St. Petroc’s Church.

Into Bodmin isn’t all about entertainment and the Old Library became a popular daytime meeting place for all ages. From Tiny Tots events to a regular Repair Shop, from workshops to coffee mornings the Old Library was constantly buzzing. Hosting film challenges and poetry competitions revealed a host of previously unknown local talent.

Bodmin itself became a popular destination as various organisations worked together to bring the town and surrounding areas alive with a range of wonderful community events. Stepping outside the town centre people were encouraged to events in Cardinham woods, the Regimental Museum and Lanivet. Teaming up with Wadebridge Bike Lights for the first time in October 2019, crowds gathered to marvel at the decorated bikes, lights and incredible lanterns. If further proof were needed of community engagement, the Old Library opened its doors on Christmas Day 2019 to provide a superb Christmas dinner for anyone who cared to drop in. Supported by local individuals and businesses the meal was a resounding success, not only in feeding people, but also bringing together the lonely and not so well off. The meals were free to all, but most importantly the event provided an opportunity to chat to others on what is the loneliest day of the year for many.

During lockdown Fin has organised online events including the Kernow Bedroom Choir and The Lockdown Patchwork, both of which attracted participants from all areas.

Until March this year Into Bodmin was a resounding success; Covid hit hard, but like so many others in venues across Cornwall, Fin has been looking at what the future holds and how they can evolve to maintain their community involvement and presence. The first step towards ‘the new normal’ is the Crib Time cafe, a peaceful walled space at the rear of the Old Library. Previously a well kept secret, the Crib Hut is already a popular meeting place for locals and visitors alike with socially distanced tables and chairs allowing friends to catch up in a safe environment. The garden within the space has been created and maintained by volunteers who are nurturing vegetables, herbs and flowers. Previous visitors to the Old Library will be sad to learn that the much loved Ola Cafe is no more, but Fin and his team have now taken on responsibility for refreshments. The new Old Library cafe is manned by volunteers and run on an honesty policy of ‘pay what you can afford’ by dropping money in the box; this is a trial run and will continue if the cafe proves viable. During my recent visit the garden cafe was busy with customers enjoying coffee and delicious homemade cakes - long may it continue.

Last Tuesday evening the Old Library joined venues across the country as the Arts & Culture industry got together to show solidarity as part of the movement #We MakeEvents. Iconic buildings across the country lit up red in a peaceful protest raising awareness of the desperate times the industry is currently facing.

Find out more about Into Bodmin and upcoming socially distanced events from the website –

www.intobodmin.co.uk

Facebook – www.facebook.co.uk/@intoBodmin

Twitter – www.twitter.co.uk/intoBodmin

Instagram - www.instagram.co.uk/intoBodmin

Sheila Vanloo

August 2020



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