£2.6m secured from Cornwall Council to transform former supermarket for community use

After much hard work from Helston residents and support from Cornwall Council’s Good Growth Programme and Town Centre Revitalisation Fund, funding has been secured to acquire and refurbish the derelict Budgens supermarket with the aim of creating space for community-based services and activities.

South Kerrier Alliance CIC (SKA) has been successful in raising £2.6m to acquire the building and refurbish the exterior and upper floor.

Work will begin immediately with a target completion date of March 2025.


Cornwall Council is providing £2,131,806 from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Good Growth Programme, which it manages and is funded by the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund, and a further £500,000 from the Council’s Town Centre Revitalisation Fund.


The project also ensures that the lower floor will be developed for future community use. SKA, who built and operate The Old Cattle Market building and manage Coronation Park, is leading the project.

Proposals build on initial work done by Helston CIC and the plans developed through the Helston Place Shaping Board in 2022.


Negotiations to confirm the services and tenants which will be based in the building are underway and will be confirmed in due course once agreements are in place, but now having secured capital funding, the building has been acquired and work can commence.


David Turnbull, Director of SKA, said “We were determined to find a way to make this building work for everyone in Helston and provide the essential services our town deserves, encouraging people to use our town centre. It has taken a huge amount of effort to reach this stage and we’re grateful for the work done by the Helston Place Shaping Team and invaluable support from our Cornwall Councillors Guy Foreman and Mike Thomas, the help and assistance from many Cornwall Council Officers and Cabinet Members and continuing support from Helston Town Council.”


Louis Gardner, Cornwall Council’s portfolio holder for economy, said: “Getting to this stage reflects years of hard work by the community working alongside Cornwall Council officers and I’m delighted the necessary funding has been secured. Residents know best what their community needs, and these two significant funding awards will help them deliver a new facility that will make a real difference.  We are there to support them in their ambitions to level up their community and provide the facilities that they have said they want and need.”


The Good Growth Programme has previously announced a £134,550 investment in the enhancement of Coronation Park in the town.


The supermarket was built in 1985 and operated initially under the Gateway brand before spells as a Somerfield, Coop and latterly Budgens retail outlet. Closed in 2017 it has proven difficult to find a viable use for the space and its worsening dilapidation has attracted increasing anger amongst Helston’s residents.

SKA is currently working with several other community groups to raise further funding to refurbish the lower floor of the building to provide facilities for young people and families. This work will be the subject of an upcoming public consultation once the refurbishment of the upper floor is underway.


Tim Grattan-Kane of Helston Town Council said “People will be aware that organisations such as SKA, Helston CIC and the Town Council amongst many others have made a huge effort over recent years to attract funding to Helston. At last we are seeing some success and we look forward to implementing this and hopefully further projects in the future.”


SKA will be responsible for the construction works and ongoing management of the building once complete. A registered Community Interest Company established in 2008, SKA is a Not-For-Profit organisation which will ensure that any surplus from running the building will be invested back into its operation.