Published: 09:00, 27 May 2014
A new visitor entrance to Canterbury Cathedral through its cafe in Burgate is to be created with the help of a £12 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant.
The huge donation, announced by the Lottery Fund today, will also pay for a new landscaping project in the grounds as well as financing restoration work to the crumbling fabric of the building’s western end.
But to release the grant, the cathedral has to raise £7.4 million in matched funding itself over the next two years.
The £19.4 million vision, called The Canterbury Journey, aims to radically transform access to the site, increase visitor numbers and enhance their experience.
New trails will guide visitors through the Cathedral and its newly landscaped Precincts, interpreting their journey and revealing unseen treasures from Canterbury’s past.
Visitors will be able to join the journey as a programme of outreach to schools and communities unfolds.
A new Pilgrim Pass scheme will also benefit local people and enhance the cathedral’s relationship with its neighbours.
The Dean of Canterbury, the Very Revd Dr Robert Willis, said: “This initial support from the HLF is a public endorsement of the Cathedral’s plans both for maintaining its wonderful architecture, as well as enabling even more people to be a creative part of the Cathedral’s community and enjoy all that it has to offer.
“We are hugely grateful to the Trustees of the HLF for their very generous support.
"Now we have two years to crystallise our plans – and to raise the £7.4 million of matched funding that is required.
"That will be an immense challenge, but it is one that my colleagues and I accept with relish”.
Canterbury Cathedral was founded by St Augustine in 597AD, Canterbury Cathedral is the mother church for 85 million Anglican Christians worldwide,
It is part of Canterbury’s World Heritage Site and has been described by Lord Hattersley as “England in stone”.
Heritage Lottery Fund trustee Angela Dean said: “Canterbury Cathedral is an extraordinary part of our collective heritage. Regardless of faith, its magnificent structure cannot fail to impress.
“Proposals for the conservation of the site will ensure a resilience for the future but will also be a catalyst for much wider community involvement.
“This is just the beginning of a long but exciting journey for the cathedral and those who work there, and we will be supporting them as they continue to develop the project.”
The cathedral’s bid was supported by the city council whose chief executive Colin Carmichael said: “We’re delighted at this marvellous news which will benefit not only the cathedral but the whole city.
“The cathedral is the heart of the Canterbury journey, on which our universities, businesses and the council are also travelling.
“The fact that this journey is recognised with such a significant award gives the whole city even more confidence in our future.”
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