ChurchCare, the buildings division of the Church of England, today welcomes the announcement of £4.7 million in grants for 22 English cathedrals from a government-sponsored fund set up to support vital repairs.
Culture Secretary Sajid Javid announced today that the first phase will provide 18 Church of England and four Catholic cathedrals with grants worth between £15k and £500k for repairs ranging from urgent work to stained glass windows through to roofing and electrical projects.
The successful applicants will receive £4.7 million of money made available as part of the First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund. Further grants from the £20 million Fund, which was announced in the Chancellor’s March budget, will be awarded over the rest of the two year programme.
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, employ over 6,000 staff and are supported by 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 national economy.
The Rt Revd and Rt Hon Richard Chartres, Bishop of London and Chairman, Cathedral and Church Buildings Division, said:
“Every one of our cathedrals has drawn up plans for active commemoration of the First World War. We are grateful to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and acknowledge his assistance in granting £20 million in the Budget to both Catholic and Anglican cathedrals as a way of tackling urgent repairs and enhancing the setting for the commemorative events. Our cathedrals continue to flourish as worshipping continuities while offering a valuable insight into our nation’s heritage.”
Sir Paul Ruddock, Chair of the Expert Panel, First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund and Chairman of the Victoria & Albert Museum, said:
“Spanning over 1000 years of architectural history and housing many treasures, English cathedrals are a hugely important part of England’s heritage. I am delighted we are able to award grants to 22 cathedrals in the first round from the Government’s World War One Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund.”
Rt Hon Frank Field MP, Chairman, Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England, said:
“Through this move the Government has offered taxpayers the most public and tangible way they can remember the sacrifices of the dead and wounded in the Great War. English cathedrals embody much of the image of England the men and women took to the front, and for which they risked their lives”.