Current Programmes

Exeter Canal and Quay Trust (ECQT) promotes and supports a number of programmes to further its charitable aims (see

ECQT priorities are as follows:

(i) In collaboration with partners, to promote The Quay area and its businesses as a vibrant destination for residents and visitors.

(ii) To develop the Custom House as ECQT’s flagship public building for the benefit of people in Exeter, Devon and beyond.

(iii) To ensure that ECQT’s property portfolio remains in beneficial and sustainable occupancy.

ECQT’s current programmes include:

Exeter Custom House

In 2015 ECQT opened the Exeter Custom House as a free heritage attraction. This Grade I listed building, which is managed by Exeter City Council under an agreement with ECQT, is ECQT’s flagship property on Exeter Quay. It contains a visitor information centre and displays relating to the history of the building and Exeter’s maritime past. Exeter Custom House is also the venue for a range of public and cultural events, including Quay Words 2020-22 (see below). Further details can be found at

Cultural Partners Programme

In Summer 2022 we launched an open call for two Cultural Partners to join us for the period from April 2023 for 3 years.  The next open call will be in Summer 2025 but you can view the previous the information pack here. 

Our current partners are Literature Works and Art Work Exeter - more information can be found here.


Summer at the Quayside

Following the success of 2023, we will again be providing free family creative activities in the Transit Shed every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday over the Summer holidays.  The call out for artists will be laumched in January 2024.

Quay Words

With the support of Arts Council England ECQT appointed Literature Works as its delivery partner for Quay Words, a two-year programme of literature activities focused on Exeter Custom House. Quay Words is promoting the Custom House as a ‘literature hub’ in the context of Exeter as a UNESCO City of Literature. Further details of Literature Works’ Quay Words programming can be found at


Heritage Harbour project

In 2020 Exeter was designated as a 'Heritage Harbour' under the national scheme jointly operated by National Historic Ships UK, Historic England and the Maritime Heritage Trust. This stimulated a number of local organisations to get together and form a 'Heritage Harbour Group.' They are:
  • Exeter City Council who own the waterways and retain responsibility for the Exe Estuary.
  • Exeter Canal & Quay Trust who care for many of the historic buildings around Exeter Quay including the seventeenth century Custom House.
  • The Friends of Exeter Ship Canal - a group of interested volunteers and who were largely responsible for achieving the Heritage Harbour designation.

The group recently commissioned Nicola Dyer of Greenwood Projects to undertake two linked consultancies concerning the future of the harbour. One was to examine the possibility of returning traditional vessels to the quay or basin whilst the second, more far reaching, was to develop a 'route map' which pointed to potential opportunities for development within the area that was both informed by the harbour's history but also looked to the possibility of increased use of the waterways.

The full report will be available here shortly.

Project Grants

ECQT operates a scheme providing grants of up to £10,000 to organisations creating projects that further ECQT’s aims. Details of the scheme can be found at

Recent grants for projects to be delivered during 2021 include:

  • £10,000 to the Royal Albert Memorial Museum for an Exeter Lego heritage exhibition
  • £3,000 to the Devon and Cornwall Record Society for the publication of a facsimile of an eighteenth century book belonging to an Exeter cloth merchant.
  • £10,000 to Honeyscribe for Herald of Spring, an arts project focused on local wellbeing.
  • £7,609 to Exeter Northcott Theatre for a new dramatic work, to be performed by the Exeter Northcott Young Company, treating Exeter’s links with the transatlantic slave trade.

Programmes Coordination

In August 2021 ECQT appointed Anna Gilroy as its part-time Programmes Coordinator.

Anna can be contacted at

We also have Matt Newbury looking after our digital marketing and social media - he can be contacted at