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Durham Cathedral is awarded £1.9m grant funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to aid their recovery

07 November 2020

Durham Cathedral is pleased to announce it has been awarded a £1.9 million support grant from the government’s #CultureRecoveryFund (CRF), administered by the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) and Historic England.

The availability of this fund was announced by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in July 2020 and was part of a £1.57 billion rescue package to safeguard cultural and heritage organisations across the UK from the economic impact of COVID-19.

Like many organisations, the pandemic has had an acute impact on the cathedral, not least on its ability to generate income, due to a temporary closure earlier in the year and reduced visitor numbers since reopening. This latest substantial grant from the Culture Recovery Fund will provide immediate help to support the cathedral’s recovery plans and build resilience to help safeguard this unique treasure for the people of the North East and those who visit from across the UK and the world. 

The Very Reverend, Dean of Durham, Andrew Tremlett said: “We are delighted to receive such a significant level of support through the Culture Recovery Fund. Durham Cathedral has served its community as a place of worship, learning, and wonder for almost 1,000 years, and this grant will ensure that the doors of one of the most iconic buildings of the North remain open to all. This year has been challenging for so many, and we are grateful to the Government and the National Lottery Heritage Fund for their support and investment in the cultural sector.

"I would like to also thank all our staff, volunteers, and the wider cathedral community for their valuable support and dedication over these last few months, including our Friends, Patrons, and corporate partners. Without them, the Cathedral wouldn't be such a special place and we look forward to working together to support the recovery of our great region."

The funding will go towards protecting the cathedral’s historic buildings, which accrue significant operating costs even during periods of closure. This includes insurances, environmental monitoring, fire alarms, CCTV, and security.  It will also be used to cover additional cleaning costs and equipment, such as PPE, hand sanitizer and signage so that the cathedral can continue to provide a safe welcome to its visitors and meet its Good to Go Visit Britain accreditation. 

Most importantly, the funding will do more than stabilise the cathedral in the short term – the grant will provide support in terms of staff costs for those who are providing essential services such as security and cleaning, as well as those working to support operational and cultural changes within the organisation. The grant will be essential in the cathedral’s recovery, restructure and the wider reopening of the site as and when government guidelines allow. It will also help to support greater financial resilience and organisational objectives which are rooted in growing visitor numbers, delivering exceptional experiences – both in person or online – improving organisational planning and harnessing the opportunities provided by digital working.

Gaye Kirby, Head of Development at the cathedral said: “The temporary closure of the cathedral earlier this year prompted us to create a new vision for the cathedral; one which recognises the changes we need to make to ensure we continue to meet the needs of our visitors and worshippers.  The Culture Recovery Fund grant will be instrumental in helping us to make those changes, putting people at the heart of everything we do and becoming a more responsive, collaborative and resilient organisation.”

This award comes three months after the cathedral received initial funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) to cover urgent costs, including emergency repairs to the building itself. 

The Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) is now closed for applications, but you can find out more about the incredible work the National Lottery Heritage Fund have been doing to support the heritage sector at https://www.heritagefund.org.uk.

#HereForCulture #CultureRecoveryFund