TWENTY-FIVE Anglican cathedrals and dozens of parish churches have been awarded money from the second round of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to support reopening to worshippers and visitors.
The biggest awards have gone to Canterbury Cathedral — which, with £2 million, has been given the largest of any grant — and to St Paul’s, Durham, and Chester Cathedrals
The funds are intended to help cathedrals to move towards reopening and welcoming visitors as coronavirus restrictions lift, as well as to safeguard the building’s fabric. During the three lockdowns, cathedrals furloughed staff members and made others redundant, as lack of income from visitors, event, and retail left them with significantly reduced budgets.
In total, nearly £4 million has been awarded to thousands of cultural and heritage organisations in the country in this second round of the CRF. The £1.57-billion fund was unveiled last year to help the cultural sector in the UK survive the pandemic. The first tranche of grants was given out last year (News, 13 November 2020), and the second was announced just before Easter. Of the original £1.57-billion CRF, more than £1.2 billion had now been allocated, the Government said.
A spokeswoman for Canterbury Cathedral said that £500,000 of its award would be spent on core costs as the cathedral reopened to visitors, and the rest would go towards reserves “which have been heavily depleted by our loss of more than £5 million of income over the past year.
“This will ensure that we can weather any unexpected setbacks over the next few months, and help us to maintain this wonderful heritage site for future generations.”
The £732,000 awarded to Durham will support the phased reopening of the cathedral to visitors in May, meeting the salaries of nearly 60 of the staff as well as essential maintenance and operating costs. The award is in addition to the £1.9 million the cathedral secured in the first round of the CRF last year.
Chester Cathedral was granted £884,000 to help it to recover from its losses incurred during lockdowns, and to pay for work to enable the cathedral to open again.
Other big winners from the second round were Wells Cathedral, with £519,300; Worcester Cathedral, with £482,000; and Exeter Cathedral, which secured £311,600.
Truro Cathedral was given £72,300 to help with operating costs, and also to test-run new events at the cathedral.
Winchester Cathedral was given £467,000 to support its reopening and increase its online reach through an investment in its digital programme. From May, it will launch a programme of events, including open-air theatre and light installations, as well as the Winchester Flower Festival, which is planned for September, and the Christmas market in November.
Many parish churches were granted thousands of pounds to help them meet costs caused by lockdown. Venues and events, including the Glastonbury Festival, and museums and galleries, made up the 2700 cultural and heritage venues which were awarded grants in this round of funding.
The Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said that the fund had helped culture and heritage organisations to “survive the biggest crisis they’ve ever faced”, and was now helping them to “plan for reopening, and thrive in the better times ahead”.