The Masonic Charitable Foundation has awarded a £22,000 grant to continue its support of the stonemasonry apprenticeship scheme at Canterbury Cathedral.
The Cathedral employs its own team of stonemasons and the charity’s grant will fund a further year’s training for one of the young apprentices.
The Cathedral’s Head of Conservation Heather Newton said: “We are very grateful to the Masonic Charitable Foundation for its very generous and longstanding support of our apprenticeship scheme. Our apprentices gain such valuable experience and are fortunate to work on one of the most beautiful buildings in this country. They have been involved in rebuilding the Great South Window and are among those watching with immense pride as the new window emerges from behind the scaffolding.”
Canterbury is one of eight English cathedrals that have joined forces to form the Cathedral Workshops’ Fellowship. This aims to develop the cathedrals as centres of excellence offering the best possible training in the UK.
As well as acquiring masonry skills, the apprentices learn architectural and art history, archaeology, geology, structural engineering and project management. Two of Canterbury’s apprentices recently went on to complete a foundation degree.
The grant from the freemasonry charity came through the Canterbury Cathedral Trust which was established in 1974 and is an independent charity raising funds for the Cathedral from individuals, trusts and foundations, statutory bodies and corporate partners.
Income generated from visitor charges and property supports the day-to-day running costs at the Cathedral. However, the Dean and Chapter are reliant on funds raised by Canterbury Cathedral Trust for major conservation and development projects.
Trust Chief Executive Andrew Edwards said: “Thanks to the wonderful support of the Masonic Charitable Foundation, a young person will gain specialist skills, self-confidence and a career path. They will work on very special sites at the Cathedral representing centuries of architectural and social history and as part of the stonemasonry team, will protect Canterbury Cathedral’s fabric for the inspiration and education of future generations.”