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National Repair Fund helped Gloucester Cathedral to remain ‘water-tight and weather proof’

Gloucester Cathedral

A national scheme to conserve and repair England’s cathedrals (from which Gloucester Cathedral was awarded £956,415) has significantly reduced immediate risks, a report published today said.
The £40 million First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund, launched by the Government in 2014, invited applications from Catholic and Church of England cathedrals to address urgent repair works. The fund prioritised making buildings weatherproof, safe and open to the public as well as ensuring they would be in a safe condition to host acts of remembrance for the centenary of the First World War armistice in 2018.
Gloucester Cathedral was awarded a total of £956,415 towards three projects:

  • £420,415 towards the first phases of conservation and restoration work of the nationally significant medieval Lady Chapel
  • £486,000 towards the repair of the adjoined Nave and Abbot’s Chapel roofs
  • £50,000 towards vital drainage repairs

England’s cathedrals contribute more than £220m to the economy each year, drawing in more than 11 million visitors. Gloucester Cathedral welcomes over 400,000 visitors a year and provides a setting for a wide range of events and activities, alongside daily worship.
Each cathedral has the responsibility for raising the funds required for upkeep. However, with no regular Government funding, each cathedral faces an ongoing challenge to maintain their fabric while ensuring comfort, safety and accessibility for all.
In total, 146 awards were made to 57 cathedrals. Twelve cathedrals were awarded more than £1 million each, and the average award was £274,000. Grants were awarded over two phases between 2014-18.
Today’s independent report shows a significant reduction of problems requiring immediate repair as a result of the investment but warned that recipients all had outstanding repairs in areas not covered by the scheme.
Grants were awarded by an independent panel chaired by Sir Paul Ruddock, a position appointed by the Secretary of State. The Fund was administered by the Church of England’s Cathedrals and Church Buildings Division (CCB) on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, with the CCB praised in the report for cost efficiency and excellent communication.
The report concluded that the fund had been successful in achieving its aims and met a funding need that could not be met elsewhere, adding that areas of cathedrals covered by grant-aided projects had been very largely changed from needing urgent repair to needing routine maintenance only.
During the four years of the centenary, Gloucester Cathedral has hosted a series of First World War events including exhibitions, services and concerts. This year it will hold a civic service and many other events to mark the Armistice.

Significantly, on Friday 9 November, Gloucester Cathedral will pay tribute to Gloucestershire’s fallen to mark the Armistice. Members of the Clergy and Parish representatives will read the names of local people who gave their lives during World War One. Almost 8,000 names have been gathered from War Memorials across the county and each one will be read out individually. All are welcome to come and sit for a time of reflection throughout the day until all the names have been read out. Prayers will also be said for those who gave their lives during the conflict but did not have their names recorded.

The Very Reverend Stephen Lake, Dean of Gloucester said:
“The report published today demonstrates just how much impact the First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund has had across all our cathedrals, not least in Gloucester where we benefitted from almost £1m towards projects which we simply would not have been able to fund otherwise.”

Explore Gloucestershire
17 July 2018

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