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Grant-making bodies and the Budget

by
04 April 2014

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From Mr Ian Morrison

Sir, - The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) warmly welcomes the Chancellor'sannouncement in the Budget of an additional £20 million for cathedrals to help with essential maintenance and repairs (News, 21 March).

Cathedrals of all denominations display outstanding architectural ingenuity and craftsmanship and have been the setting for great moments in our history. They are appreciated by millions, regardless of faith or background, and they play a central part in the cultural, social, and economic life of this country.

Your report implies that HLF does not fund fabric repairs to cathedrals; but this is not the case. Over the years, HLF has awarded more than £69 million to cathedral projects, £40 million of which has been spent solely on urgent repair work. Only last week, HLF committed £233,900 to Hereford Cathedral for the conservation of the medieval St John's Walk cloister, its monuments and lapidarium. In recent months we have committed £4.8 million to support the essential repair work at Guildford which will enable it to continue serving the community.

These are just two of several other significant repair projects supported by HLF in recent times, including the great east window at York, the library and crypt at Rochester, and the presbytery roof and clerestory windows at Winchester.

HLF will continue to help invest in these most precious buildings and ensure that they are protected for future generations, and we will work in tandem with the new fund announced by the Chancellor to ensure support is targeted where it is most needed and where it will make the most difference.

IAN MORRISON
Head of Historic Environment
Heritage Lottery Fund
7 Holbein Place
London SW1W 8NR

 

From Claire Walker

Sir, - Latest statistics from the Church of England showing that church attendance has been stable for the past decade (News, 28 March) follow on from data released in 2013 pointing to an increase in the number of people worshipping in cathedrals.

There are a number of factors that have contributed to the growth of worship at Cathedrals. These include improving welcome and hospitality, increasing civic profile, and engaging culture and the arts.

Over the past decade, funding by the National Churches Trust, an independent charity that receives no financial support from Government, has enabled more than 2000 churches, chapels, and meeting houses to repair roofs and stonework and to install modern facilities, such as cafés, lavatories, and up-to-date heating.

Our experience is that making churches attractive places where people can be made welcome both spiritually and materially enables them to attract new visitors, some of whom, if not already worshippers, may well become part of the church community.

The National Churches Trust warmly welcomes the announcement of £20 million of funding for cathedrals in the 2014 Budget. Many of the UK's other 47,000 Christian places of worship are also, however, in need of significant financial support to pay for repairs and modernisation.

Over the coming years, we will continue to play our part in keeping these churches alive.

CLAIRE WALKER
Chief Executive
National Churches Trust
31 Newbury Street
London EC1A 7HU

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