Torbay Council has handed over the keys to a group of volunteers who have taken over the management of Tea Rooms at the historic Oldway Mansion.

The collaboration between Torbay Council and Friends of Oldway volunteers is just one of many examples of how the council is working with the local community to improve the area. Last year more than 100 volunteer gardeners came forward when an appeal was put out for help with maintaining the grounds at Oldway Mansion.

A crowdfunder was launched by Friends of Oldway earlier in the year for volunteers to be able to reopen and run the Tea Rooms, and raised £12,806 from more than 380 supporters. Work includes renovating the kitchen, cafe area, providing disabled access and some seating outside. Oldway Mansion was built in 1873 as the home of the Singer sewing machine family but it has remained closed since 2013.

It is hoped that eventually the whole Mansion will be renovated and reopened if funding is found, but in the meantime the first step for the Friends of Oldway is open the Tea Rooms and hold Open Days and tours for the public. The Friends hope to have the Tea Rooms open as soon as possible.

Councillor Darren Cowell Deputy Leader of Torbay Council and Chair of Oldway Working Party said: “This is a fantastic example of partnership working between Torbay Council and Friends of Oldway. The Friends have done a great job in working to bring the Tea Rooms back into use and I wish them all the best with taking the project forward.”

Councillor Swithin Long, Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration, Tourism and Housing, said: “As we state in our Community and Corporate Plan, we want to be a Council that supports, enables and empowers its residents, our communities and our partnerships. This is just one of many projects where we aim to do this.”

Kathy Hughes from The Friends of Oldway said: “The Friends of Oldway are happy to be reopening the tearooms as a first step in the Oldway Project. The crowdfunder and feedback at the recent Movies@theMansion event have shown how hugely supportive the public are of our future plans. We are grateful to Darren Cowell and Torbay Council for their support and look forward to working together in the future”

If you would like to join the Friends of Oldway or volunteer email:

  • The Council is holding its first virtual Community Conference on Wednesday 30 September online between 5pm and 7pm.

The Council wants to hear from you and your communities about how we can build on the good work which has been taking place over the last year and work better together so we can make a positive difference to the lives of people in the Bay.

You can book your space for the Community Conference via EventBrite

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