English cathedrals receive £8m funding boost from National Lottery

Worcester Cathedral is one of four Church of England cathedrals to benefit from a new round of funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund

Four cathedrals have received a welcome cash injection from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to help develop creative ways to serve their communities.

Leicester, Lichfield, Newcastle and Worcester Cathedrals will together receive over £8m towards imaginative outreach, learning, arts and heritage projects. 

At Worcester Cathedral, £1m will be spent transforming the 12th century undercroft into a new city venue and learning hub. 

The venture follows a consultation with members of the local community who do not currently engage with the building to find out what kind of activities they would be interested in. 

The cathedral's hope is that in addition to attracting more visitors, the new hub will help to develop the skills of local people while also boosting the local economy.

Common Ground in Sacred Space, a new heritage project at Newcastle Cathedral, will receive £4.2m towards making significant improvements to the churchyard outside the building as well as overhauling the interior to improve the visitor experience. 

Leicester Cathedral has received a grant of £3.3m towards a major project to restore the building as well as construct a new heritage learning centre alongside it. 

The project is set to cost £11.3m in total, with £8m raised so far.  The cathedral aims to raise the remaining £3m before the end of the year ahead of work beginning on the site in 2020. 

Lichfield Cathedral has received £156,400 to conduct essential research, planning and assessment work on the building's future needs, including its environmental sustainability, over the next 12 months.

The Very Rev Adrian Dorber, chair of the Association of English Cathedrals and Dean of Lichfield said: "Our cathedrals are one of our country's greatest assets and at the heart of our history, our culture, and our social fabric, and a testament to our faith.

"This funding will help some of our cathedrals better realise their ambitions to tell their stories, raise aspiration, create new opportunities to meet their communities, and to be a constant in the changing and precarious world in which we live."

Becky Clark, the Church of England's Director of Churches and Cathedrals, said: "Creating positive and lasting change for people and communities is a vision the National Lottery Heritage Fund shares with cathedrals, so this is tremendous news for these four cities and their wider communities.

"The value of our cathedrals is clear to the ten million people who visit each year, and to the hundreds of thousands who regularly attend worship.

"The cities and wider communities which Lichfield, Leicester, Newcastle and Worcester serve are at the heart of these projects, and these funding awards highlight the enduring importance and appeal of cathedrals, and their ability to maintain traditions of worship and openness whilst also pioneering new ways of inviting everyone to enjoy all they have to offer."