Historic Exeter Fire Appeal Update

Historic Exeter Fire Appeal Photo

Devon Community Foundation has thanked Exeter residents for raising an amazing amount of money for the Historic Exeter Fire Appeal.

The fund, which has raised nearly £19,000 in total, has already helped individuals and small businesses to the tune of around £9,416 thanks to support from Exeter CAB. It was established in partnership with Devon Community Foundation, Exeter City Council and Exeter CVS in response to the immediate impulses of people in Exeter and beyond, to give in the aftermath of the fire that destroyed the Royal Clarence Hotel at the end of October 2016.

Last month, organisers called time on the appeal and asked the public, who so generously donated, to help decide what the remaining funds should support.

The public and those who donated were asked how they would like the Historic Exeter Fire money used:

  • To fund a cultural tribute representing the historical significance of building’s involved
  • To donate the remaining money to the Fire Fighters Charity
  • To give to a range of Exeter-based organisations supporting homeless or vulnerable people
  • A combination of the above

Martha Wilkinson, Chief Executive of Devon Community Foundation said, 

“A massive thank you to everyone who donated to the Exeter Fire Appeal and all of those who have taken the time to let us know how they would like to see the remaining money spent. Helping people to give more locally is what Devon Community Foundation does best, so after responding to the individuals and businesses facing financial hardship as a result of the fire, it was important to us that we gave the local community a chance to tell us how they would like the funds used.”

The results from the voting have now been calculated and the cultural tribute has emerged as the winner. The consultation has meant that the fund has received some some further enquiries from individuals affected by the fire, and in order to ensure the original aims of the fund are met, a proportion of the remaining funds will be kept to meet these needs.

Martha added,

“We have been delighted with how engaged everyone has been in the process, it was a close run race with the majority of local people voting to fund a cultural tribute representing the historical significance of the buildings involved. This reflects the initial desire of Exeter residents to support a sympathetic restoration and the strength of feeling about their city. In order not to dilute the impact of these funds and reflect the outcome of the vote we will now discuss with a number of partners how this will be achieved to fully celebrate the importance of these buildings and the event to the local community. Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has supported the appeal and helped guide us to this outcome.”

Nicola, one of the beneficiaries of the fund commented on what a difference the support has made to her and her family,

“The appeal award came at a time when my husband and I had been made redundant on the same day. With a family to support we rapidly became two months behind on our rent and car payments, leaving us in real danger of losing our home and car. This appeal has meant that we have been able to keep a roof over our head and our daughter safe and secure. We are so unbelievably grateful for the assistance. This appeal saved us, our home and kept our family together and the relief when the award was granted is immeasurable. You have given us an incredible gift, thank you.”