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Thursday, 22 May 2014

After serving the community for over 100 years Newlyn's iconic Fishermen's Mission is put up for sale!

NEWLYN'S Fishermen's Mission, which for generations has been the social hub of the port as well as the first port of call for distressed fishermen, is to be sold. However, the charity has said it plans to lease back part of the building and hopes facilities such as the canteen and showers will continue to operate, albeit under different owners.

Mission superintendent Keith Dixon manning the tea urn

The building, which includes a canteen, catering kitchen, meeting rooms, guest accommodation, showers and a four-bedroomed maisonette, will be sold with an initial guide price of £500,000.

The mission building has been an icon of Newlyn for over 100 years

The Mission will look to rent office space for staff members, a quiet space for a memorial room and aims to find a suitable home for the large collection of ships' models.

The mission chapel has a superb collection of model fishing boats

David Dickens, chief executive of the Fishermen's Mission, said the sale was part of a national policy with the buildings at Newlyn, Peterhead and Fraserburgh the final ones to be sold and that the Mission was not about to turn its back on Cornwall.

The Mission still intends to feed the hungry fishermen of the port

"The needs of fishermen have changed and we no longer need facilities with accommodation," he said. "More importantly, these centres have been eating away into our reserves and preventing us from developing the services we really need to offer our fishermen in the 21st century and beyond.

The chapel is big enough to host meetings and displays

"Our work in Cornwall has grown considerably in the past two years and we have been strengthening the team here and will continue to do so in the future."

There is an historic model of the Mystery the world's first ever trans-oceanic voyage by a small boat

He said the group helps fishermen in a different way now and could no longer have staff spend time looking after a building, before pledging a commitment to Cornwall.

There is potential to develop the big refectory room

In the past few months the Fishermen's Mission has made emergency grants of more than £119,000 to 234 fishermen in the county as well as distributing 250 lifejackets to fishermen as part of the Fishing Industry Safety Group campaign.

The building was gifted to the Fishermen's Mission in 1911 by the Bolitho family and Mr Dickens stressed the proceeds from the sale would be ring-fenced to be spent in Cornwall.

The Mission provides a place for fishermen and fishworkers to eat, meet and greet

He added that selling by limited tender would enable the Mission to place provisos on the new purchaser and although he could not offer guarantees, he very much hoped that the canteen would continue to operate.

He added that informal talks had taken place with two local people interested in running the canteen.

Local charity work is at the heart of the Mission's mission

Douglas Williams, a member of the Mission's local advisory committee, said: "The building is a very powerful feature of Newlyn and in a perfect location but times and needs change, as has been seen this past winter.

Senegalese fishermen talking - many historic meetings have been held on the premises

"The staff at Newlyn are working throughout Cornwall but we are very keen to ensure the Mission maintains its identity in Newlyn."

The property is being offered for sale through Smiths Gore with a tender date set for July 4.

Full story from the Cornishman newspaper: