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A major award is being prepared by Bideford’s SS Freshspring for success

A National Lottery Heritage Fund grant is hard to come by, so the team at SS Freshspring Trust were particularly excited to learn that they had been successful with a recent bid.

The Trust received a grant of just over £141,000 to support the project spanning two open seasons over 18 months.

John Puddy, chairman of Freshspring, said: “This was a stunning result and allowed us to take the next major step in our development. We are extremely grateful to the NLHF for continuing to invest in our future.”

“What’s more, we will be able to offer two new roles that will enable people to take up paid work with us, which is an immediate boost for the area as well as the trust and its heritage.”

The project covers four main areas of activity: planning and development, strengthening the Trust’s governance, adopting environmental targets and expanding the audience to people who engage with Freshspring.

The bid was submitted in December with several strong letters of support from a number of organisations, including Torridge Council, shipyard owners Appledore Harland and Wolff, Bideford Town Council, Bideford Town Center Partnership, National Historic Ships, Petroc College, local maritime charity Way of the Wharves and TTVS.

The success comes at a time when the area is receiving considerable attention: Torridge received £15.6m of matching funding in January to build a clean marine research and development center in Appledore. Last year Arts Council England (ACE) recognized that there was underinvestment in North Devon and Torridge and awarded national portfolio status and funding to several local arts organisations, including the Plow Arts Center in Torrington, and continued investment in Burton. Gallery at Bideford. A North Devon Cultural Strategy was also developed last year with investment and support from ACE, led by Alison Mills from Barnstaple Museum.

“The overarching focus of the SS Freshspring project increases our resilience,” said Vice President Annemarie Shillito, “but we can only grow and flourish when the entire community engages and thrives. Recent investment and encouragement in North Devon is very positive. I believe that art and heritage play a huge role in regeneration, in people’s well-being, as well as wealth and tourism.”

The SS Freshspring in drydock – Credit: Submitted

The SS Freshspring Trust’s ambition is to see the ship return again, but not just for the glory of restoration. The social purpose of the Trust is to engage and inspire young people and help them see a future in engineering and all possible roles related to maritime heritage. This area of ​​their work and their core funding is still something they need to raise funds to support, so if you would like to know more, visit, volunteer or donate to the charity, check out or www . For more information on how to apply to the National Lottery Heritage Fund, visit

Freshspring has some exciting events, including a ‘Shanties and Pasties’ event (tickets) on Saturday 1st April. On Sunday, March 26, all ticket holders will be able to visit SS Freshspring for free. This promotion is part of National Lottery Open Week and anyone who visits a National Lottery supported project and shows a National Lottery ticket, instant win game or scratch card (physical or digital) can take advantage of this special offer. Any age lottery ticket is acceptable and will be valid upon visit. One ticket can get free entry for up to a family group of six people.

The boat officially opens to the public on Sunday, April 9, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will be open every week until the end of the season. As it is the Easter weekend, there will be a fun ‘chick challenge’ and teddy bear hunt on board. Small prizes will be prepared for each participating child!

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