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Four Catholic cathedrals are among the 22 who will benefit from £5 million in the first round of grants from the First World War Centenary Cathedral repair fund.
Westminster is to receive £290,000 to re-cover the asphalt roof of the nave, Southwark £385,000 to renew 1980s gas boilers, St Mary’s, Newcastle, £185,000 to replace some external stonework and Northampton £35,000 for the removal and repair of stained glass windows.
The biggest grant was £535,000 for new lighting at Derby Cathedral.
The £20 million fund was announced in the latest Budget and set up in April this year in recognition of the powerful symbol cathedrals are of Britain’s shared history, as well as the significant role they will play in First World War commemorations.
Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said: We are ensuring these magnificent buildings are preserved for future generations so they continue to serve their communities and congregations. This fund is just one part of the Government’s preparations to ensure the UK is ready to remember and mark the heroic sacrifice so many made a century ago.”
There will be a further round of grants in September and again in January next year.
In a recent article in The Tablet, the Chancellor, George Osborne, said: “Just down the road from my office in the frantic bustle of Whitehall sits Westminster Cathedral. There, dozens of volunteers help in all kinds of ways, from acting as information guides and staffing the bookshop to hosting regular school visits and a musical outreach programme.
“But there is another, more troubling feature that our cathedrals also all have in common – that is the need for urgent repairs. These are not glamorous restorations but essential work to keep the buildings weatherproof and open to the public.”
Cathedrals can still apply for grants via an online form at the cathedral and church buildings division of the Archbishops’ Council (http://www.churchcare.co.uk/cathedrals/funding-and-grants).