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Cathedral crafts given funding lifeline

Canterbury Cathedral is one of ten English cathedrals to benefit from vital skills funding from Hamish Ogston Foundation (HOF) and the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship (CWF) to fund stonemasonry and joinery trainees in 2021.

This emergency funding will support three of our trainees during the current academic year – two masons and one joiner – and ensure that they can continue their studies and further develop their skills despite the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canterbury Cathedral’s Head of Conservation, Heather Newton, said: “The CWF has trained 12 of Canterbury Cathedral’s crafts- and trades-people, since it was founded in 2006. Young people who have just completed their apprenticeship and who had not studied since taking their GCSEs have succeeded at Foundation Degree level, and older members of staff, who have not followed a formal course of study since leaving school at 15, have achieved similar success. The course offers opportunities for enhanced training in stonemasonry, carpentry/joinery, decorative lead work and plumbing (including heating installation) and electrical installation. It supports a diverse range of students and is always beneficial for the individual and for the organisation.”

“Frances Cambrook (CWF Executive Director) has done a fantastic job in securing the HOF funding and I look forward to seeing the course grow and develop over the next few years. During these stricken times it remains vital that our built heritage is repaired and conserved for future generations to enjoy. This must include recruitment and training of young people and securing the posts of older craftspeople, so that they can pass on their skill and experience.”

Tony Nothard is one of Canterbury’s stonemasons to have benefitted from the training programme. “Study on the Cathedrals’ Workshops Fellowship course has given me a great opportunity to further develop my skills and craft in a broader heritage context that includes many types of built heritage not exclusive to churches” he said, “We at Canterbury are very grateful for the support of the Hamish Ogston Foundation”.

The Hamish Ogston Foundation is a UK registered charity that provides strategic support for heritage, health and music initiatives, with the objective of securing long-term viability for projects and promoting sustainable employment. The Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship (CWF) is an association of ten Anglican cathedrals established in 2006 to provide education and training for the craftsmen and women who maintain cathedrals and other historic buildings. Its students include heritage stonemasons, carpenter/joiners, electricians and plumbers.

CWF Executive Director Frances Cambrook said: “We are very excited to be working with the Hamish Ogston Foundation on this important initiative. Cathedrals, like everyone, have been hit hard by the pandemic and the immediate future of our craft training programmes was in jeopardy. The funding will enable training to continue online throughout the rest of this academic year, avoiding the loss of trainee positions, and enable us to plan confidently to increase training opportunities over the next four years”.

To find out more about The Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship and the Hamish Ogston Foundation, see and


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