BLACKBURN Cathedral is to bid for a £100,000 share of a £20 million fund for urgent repairs to England's major church buildings announced in this week’s Budget.
The new cash was hidden in the Chancellor George Osborne’s financial package on Wednesday.
Dean of Blackburn Christopher Armstrong confirmed yesterday the Cathedral would be applying for a £100,000 for important future work.
He said: “We are really grateful to The Chancellor for this money set aside for cathedrals but I would also like to think that the Chancellor’s statement is also an endorsement of the place which cathedrals play in the fabric of our culture, both locally and nationally.
“Cathedrals are a key part of forming the cultural identity of many of England’s cities and are powerful symbols of our shared history.
“We shall initially be seeking about £100,000 for urgent pointing work.
“We regularly spend money on repair and maintenance to ensure that the cathedral fabric remains in a good and safe condition.”
Canon Andrew Hindley, responsible for the Blackburn Cathedral maintenance programme, said: “This is such good news for cathedrals like ours which do not have historic monies to help with repairs.
“We shall be applying for funds to repair the transepts and Jesus Chapel stonework as soon as we have details of the fund.”
Blackburn Cathedral is creating a new creating £33 million Cathedral Quarter in the centre of the town, including a hotel, two office blocks, a Clergy Court, a small hall of residence for music scholars, library, new refectory, underground car park and a new cloister garden.
The Church of England’s 42 cathedrals alone welcome more than 11m visitors a year with only 6,000 staff but more than 15,000 dedicated volunteers; demonstrating how much cathedrals contribute to the communities around them. Church of England cathedrals generate at least £350 million annually for the economy.
The £20m of grant funding over two years will help meet the costs of urgent repairs to these buildings and support local fundraising efforts by Church of England and Roman Catholic Cathedrals.