A vicar tells his congregation, “I have good news and bad news. The good news is – we have enough money to pay for the roof restoration. The bad news is – it’s still in your pockets”.
This old joke remains true for many churches but for ancient cathedrals like Canterbury, the huge financial burden of upkeep and conservation has to be shared more widely.
Canterbury Cathedral Trust was established in 1974. Its sole aim today remains to raise money for the Cathedral’s conservation, education and music. Whilst the Cathedral’s day-to-day operations are financed largely by property and entrance charges, the Dean and Chapter are dependent on funds raised by the Trust from private and charitable sources to meet the high costs of fabric conservation and development. For example, with the Trust’s support, the Cathedral has been able to continue business as usual whilst undertaking major projects like the restoration of the Great South Window. They have also provided funds to help maintain apprenticeships.
The Trust has run a number of fundraising appeals on behalf of the Cathedral. The last was initiated in 2006 by Allan Willett CMG CVO, and since has been led by Richard Oldfield as Chairman of the Canterbury Cathedral Trust Development Committee. Thanks to the amazing generosity of our donors, the appeal has raised £20 million to date – a milestone achievement.
Passing the £20 million mark has been a great boost to the Cathedral’s fundraising team and marks a significant milestone in our efforts to keep this great building in good order. It is especially notable because a large part of this sum has been raised within Kent and reflects the commitment of the county to help us.
Brigadier John Meardon, Receiver General of Canterbury Cathedral
A staggering £4.9 million has been raised since April 2012. Of this, a donation of £1 million has generously been given by an individual and a further £1 million has recently been awarded through charitable sources. This funding will be used to help safeguard the Cathedral and its activities for the enjoyment of future generations:
• £603,005 from the Landfill Communities Fund has been awarded by Viridor Credits Environmental Company. This grant will help fund the restoration of the Cathedral’s historic North West Transept. The project will focus initially on the Transept’s roof, stair turret and Romanesque masonry. Work is expected to start this spring and will take two years.
• $500,000 (£300,000) from the Peter Cundill Foundation will fund a three year music and education programme, supporting the Canterbury Cathedral Girls’ Choir and inspiring children, young people and the wider community to learn more about their history and heritage through the intriguing story of the Cathedral.
• £42,000 has been given by Mid Kent Decorative and Fine Arts Society in memory of Elizabeth Hammond – a long term supporter of decorative and fine arts. £20,000 will be put towards the restoration of the Great South Window, and £22,000 will support stonemason apprentices.
• £40,000 from the Church of England’s Cathedral Amenities Fund will assist in conserving the ruins of the Cathedral’s 12/13th century Infirmary Chapel. Work is due start this summer.
• £22,000 from the Freemasons’ Grand Charity will help fund an apprentice stonemason.
The Trust spends much of its time making funding bids, inspiring new supporters and finding interesting ways of keeping the Cathedral’s benefactors and supporters informed and engaged. It is also running a funding campaign in the USA which is beginning to pay dividends. The Trust’s regular givers are generally closer to home or have local connections, and many are members of our wider Cathedral community – congregation, Friends, volunteers, and Precincts pass-holders.
We value our supporters as partners who bring much more than money. Without your passion, commitment, and experience, the Cathedral would be a poorer place all round.