Grants to help cathedrals in multi-million pound repairs

A new £500,000 fund has announced grants to help cathedrals meet some of their staggering maintenance costs.

The scheme has been set up by the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England (CFCE) and the Wolfson Foundation.

Grants from the fund for fabric repairs will go towards maintenance projects totalling £4.5 million at six cathedrals.

Durham, Ely, Lichfield, Lincoln, Rochester and York were chosen out of 18 candidates to receive funding.

Janet Gough, Director, Cathedrals and Church Buildings Division, Archbishops’ Council, added: “Given the demand for funding for fabric repairs to cathedrals, we are thrilled that the Wolfson Foundation has agreed to extend the scheme for a further two years.

"We continue in conversation with other funding bodies with a view to attracting further participants to this important scheme.”

The CFCE and Wolfson Foundation are planning to extend the scheme to a further £1 million over the next two years by inviting other grant-making bodies to join the fund.

Frank Field MP, Chairman of CFCE, said the fund represented the first positive move showing that the Big Society was stepping up to the table as the Government withdraws some of its funding.

He said: "These handsome grants are entirely due to the generosity of the Wolfson Foundation, as part of its charitable support of excellence in the fields of science and medicine, health, education and the arts and humanities.

“Cathedrals not only have to find the necessary funds to maintain some of England’s most architecturally and historically significant buildings, but 2009 was the last year of English Heritage’s 19-year-old ring-fenced Cathedrals Grant Scheme.”

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation, said: “Cathedrals are the most significant buildings within England’s wonderful architectural heritage. The Wolfson Foundation is glad to be involved in maintaining them for current and future generations.”