19 July 2010
The Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England (CFCE) has
welcomed a new fund of £500,000 for cathedral fabric repairs thanks
to the Wolfson Foundation, a charity supporting excellence in the
fields of science and medicine, health, education and the arts and
CFCE Chairman, the Rt Hon Frank Field MP, said: "We
welcome this important initiative from the Wolfson Foundation,
which has continued its support for England's historic cathedrals,
after English Heritage had to stop their ring-fenced
Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson
Foundation, said: "Cathedrals are the country's most precious
buildings. They are a critical part of our
national heritage. Through this partnership with
the CFCE we hope, not only to aid their conservation, but also to
encourage other funding too. We are delighted to
be working alongside the CFCE."
All Church of England cathedrals with some Pre-Reformation
fabric will be eligible. Grants will be for
major repairs to historic fabric (eg, stonework and roofs)
but will not be offered for development works.
Cathedrals will be expected to obtain matching funding.
Frank Field added: "This new fund is a tangible response
to changing economic and political conditions, and demonstrates the
key role that private funding can play in securing the future of
England's magnificent cathedrals. We hope that
this initiative will fire the imagination of other
foundations. I believe that this is an early
example of how 'The Big Society' will work."
The CFCE is a statutory
body, with both regulatory and advisory functions. It draws
together many of the country's most respected experts in their
particular fields, who give generously of their time on a voluntary
basis. Its Annual Review for 2009 may be found on-line
The Wolfson Foundation is a
charity established in 1955 to support excellence, generally
through the funding of capital infrastructure in the fields of
science and medicine, health, education and the arts and
humanities. The Foundation's endowment is
currently some £725 million, with an annual allocation of
approximately £35 million. By 2010 more than £600 million had been
awarded in grants (in excess of £1 billion in real terms). Over
8,000 projects have been funded.
Cathedrals are great shrines
not only for worship but also for welcoming the modern pilgrim, and
it is a responsibility as well as a privilege to consider mission
and worship alongside the preservation of the
heritage. They 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.
According to English Heritage's Cathedrals Fabric Survey
of 2009 six cathedrals (Canterbury, Chichester, Lincoln, Salisbury,
Winchester and York) face major repairs with an estimated cost of
more than £3.5 million in each case and totaling approximately £50
The Cathedral and Church Buildings Division also runs a
number of other grants programmes for churches and cathedrals and
the CFCE is responsible for two of them.
- The English Cathedrals Repair Fund covers repair and
conservation of contents of Church of England Cathedrals; it also
makes small grants towards fabric repair schemes.
- The Cathedral Amenities Fund assists with the
preservation and improvement of the visual amenity of UK
cathedrals, abbeys and parish churches which substantially date
from before 1714. Three categories of
applications will be considered: physical improvements; fabric
conservation; and enabling work.
More information about the Joint Cathedral Fabric Repair
Fund (and the online application form) can be found on the
Churchcare website: http://www.churchcare.co.uk/funding.php?IP