St Philip’s Cathedral to receive grant from the First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund

Birmingham Cathedral’s funding application for vital repairs has been successful along with 30 other English cathedrals.

The First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund is a government-sponsored fund set up to support much needed repairs to some of England’s most important historic buildings. Nearby St Chad’s RC Cathedral received £227,000 in October 2014.

Birmingham’s Anglican cathedral welcomes the funding to help replace obsolete lighting and wiring systems. The building, currently celebrating its 300th year, needs outdated and malfunctioning fittings replaced with more practical, sustainable and energy efficient alternatives.

ChurchCare, the cathedral and church buildings division of the Church of England, has today welcomed Chancellor George Osborne’s announcement that the final phase of the scheme will provide 31 cathedrals with grants of between £12,000 and £800,000 for essential and urgent repairs ranging from repairs to roofs and stonework through to complete re-wiring.

The Church of England's 42 cathedrals are estimated to contribute around £220 million to the national economy every year through employment and tourism. They welcome more than 11 million visitors annually, employ more than 7,000 people and are supported by 15,000 dedicated volunteers.

Sir Paul Ruddock, Chair of the Expert Panel, First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund and Chairman of the Victoria & Albert Museum, said: “Cathedrals are perhaps the most multi-faceted of historic buildings, still in use for their original purpose, and representing our own shared history. They are very much public spaces, there for everyone, a heady mix of sacred and secular, with vast appeal to millions of people. In chairing the Expert Panel which allocated this money I have been privileged to see first-hand the heights of success which cathedrals can achieve through use of their wonderful buildings. I am also acutely aware that there is still much work to do in order to keep them safe and open.”

Rt Hon Frank Field MP, Chairman, Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England, said:

In the year of the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, six copies of which are still held by cathedrals, it is timely to consider the place of the church in the life of the nation. In the case of cathedrals it is clear that they provide much more than services. They offer a spiritual and physical sanctuary from everyday life, a chance to experience something greater. It is right and proper that the Government is supporting the care of these places and the huge range of initiatives – from food banks and night shelters to concerts and exhibitions – that cathedrals run for the benefit of us all.

This final round of grants has been made available as part of the £20 million First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund, which was first announced by the Chancellor in the budget in March 2014.

The Very Reverend Catherine Ogle, Dean of Birmingham said:

This is marvellous news and means that we can improve the facilities that we offer to everyone who comes to the cathedral. Birmingham deserves the very best & we're excited now to look forward to a newly refurbished interior.

Anna Pitt, Director of Fundraising and Development at Birmingham Cathedral, added:

This hugely supportive grant, alongside the generosity of our congregation, local trusts and Birmingham based companies will enable us to light up Birmingham Cathedral in 2015. It will be delightful to see this long awaited project come to fruition, and we look forward with anticipation to welcoming one and all into our newly lit cathedral. Our intention is that the cathedral will stay open during the works, so please continue to visit us and share in our progress. In our tercentenary year as we look back on the changes of the last 300 years, we can now be confident that we are securing this building for use by future generations.

Additional funding for this project has been made up by support from the cathedral's congregations, £40,000 of funding from local grant-making trusts, and the support of local businesses. One of the cathedral's closest neighbours, Hortons' Estate have made a £15,000 contribution to the project.

Speaking of their support, Hortons' Chief executive Tony Green said:

The cathedral is a key part of Birmingham life both physically and pastorally and we are delighted be able to be part of the tercentenary fund raising initiative. It is further evidence of our long standing commitment to the building and we would encourage all local businesses that benefit from its presence to join in and offer whatever support they can.

Anyone interested in lending their support to this exciting work should contact Anna Pitt by emailing anna.pitt@birminghamcthedral.com

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