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England: £20m for urgent cathedral repairs "welcome"

Posted on: March 19, 2014 3:06 PM
Related Categories: Cathedrals, England

From the Church of England

The Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England warmly welcomes the announcement of a new two-year £20 million fund for repairs to cathedrals, announced in the Chancellor’s Budget today.

Cathedrals are a key part of forming the cultural identity of many of England’s cities, and are powerful symbols of our shared history. But this does not mean they are just icons of the past. They are active community hubs and are at the centre of several urban regeneration plans, including Peterborough, Leicester and Blackburn, which are all creating cathedral quarters.

The Church of England’s 42 cathedrals alone welcome over 11m visitors a year with only 6,000 staff but over 15,000 dedicated volunteers; demonstrating how much cathedrals contribute to, but also depend upon, the communities around them. Church of England Cathedrals generate annually at least £350 million for the economy. 

This has been part of their historical resilience. However despite this admirable support, upkeep and restoration costs often fall disproportionately on these small dedicated local groups. As a result the Church of England predicts a £87m repair funding shortfall over the next five years.

£20m of grants will help meet the costs of urgent repairs to these great buildings and support local fundraising efforts by Church of England and Roman Catholic Cathedrals. 

The Very Revd Vivienne Faull, Dean of York, says:

“As Chair of the Association of English Cathedrals, and Dean of one of the cathedrals which is eligible to apply to this fund, I appreciate the incredible heritage of these internationally important places. However I am particularly happy to welcome this fund as it is about much more than just beautiful buildings. Whether great or small cathedrals are part of the lifeblood of their cities. From back-to-work schemes at Manchester, to concerts at Liverpool, to apprentices and training opportunities at Canterbury and York, they are highly important sources of on-going  regeneration. They also bring in millions of visitors and millions of pounds a year, right across England. They are a source of community spirit and local pride. They are part of the identity of England.”

The grant will be available over a two year period for Church of England and Roman Catholic Cathedrals in England.  The Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England hopes that this will provide a foundation for further funding to ensure the future of some of this county’s finest heritage assets.

Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry MP, Second Church Estates Commissioner said:

“I am delighted to see the budget announcement of this £20m fund. Cathedrals are a vital part of our cities and are of inestimable worth to the country in terms of their cultural capital. The money this grant provides will go a long way to continue to preserve and protect these living monuments to our Christian heritage.”

Frank Field MP, Chair of the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England, said:

“The Chancellor scores a double first here. There will be widespread support for the Government making a direct contribution to the glories of English cathedrals, places which millions of us enjoy each year.  In addition I am very pleased in that the money is to be spent on Roman Catholic as well as Anglican cathedrals.”

Janet Gough, Director of Cathedral and Church Buildings for the Church of England said:

“The Church of England’s has 12,500 listed cathedrals and church buildings which comprise unparalleled glories and a history of architecture. They tell stories of kings, battles and wars, of brave men and women and of everyday life. One hundred years on from the beginnings of World War One, giving cathedrals the means to repair their buildings and provide the best possible setting for national and local acts of remembrance is particularly poignant. We are delighted that this announcement now makes it possible for every cathedral to apply to receive support for repairs to their buildings, which will help enable their continued worship and local ministry.”



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  1. The Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England is the national body overseeing the Church’s controls over certain types of work to its cathedrals in England, managing the built heritage under the Ecclesiastical Exemption. More on its membership and work can be found at
  2. The Association of English Cathedrals is the representative body for English Anglican cathedrals, promotes their role and encourages cathedrals to share best practice and information
  3. This fund has been specifically set up to provide funding for repairs to cathedrals, as money from the existing Heritage Lottery Fund Repair Grants for Places of Worship scheme excludes provision for cathedrals. All other listed faith and other Christian denomination places of worship are eligible to apply for grants from the existing HLF scheme.
  4. Details of the grant application will be available on the ChurchCare website, in due course.