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19 Monday December 2011

Cathedral wins Heritage Lottery Fund support




Carlisle Cathedral has something extra to celebrate this Christmas. It has been given the green light by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to develop their plans for a £1.7million scheme to develop the Fratry as a centre for learning and educational work.

This HLF first-round pass*, including £90,000 of development funding, means that Carlisle Cathedral can progress to the second-round of the HLF application process, where they will be applying for over £910,000 HLF in 2013.

The Fratry project is called “Bringing untold stories to life”. The title points to the way in which the Cathedral has always tried to tell its stories of faith, hope and love. More than 160,000 visitors a year already enjoy finding out about the Cathedral and its remarkable stories but now much more will be on offer.

The Dean of Carlisle, the Very Revd Mark Boyling said: “We have always had great stories to tell at the Cathedral and we do our best to tell them at present – with the sterling support of volunteer guides and welcomers and our Education Officer. But we know there are many people who pass through our grounds regularly who miss out on what is on offer. Our project will help us provide better displays and much better facilities for local residents and visitors. We are even hoping to provide a phone app which will tell the stories of great characters here – past and present. We hope people will see this is a ‘once in a generation’ initiative and will be keen to support us.”

Sara Hilton Head of Heritage Lottery Fund North West, said:

“We at the Heritage Lottery Fund are pleased to support Carlisle Cathedral and bring their vision a step-closer to reality. The proposed new education activities and facilities have the potential to give people from across the community the chance to explore, learn about and enjoy this wonderful heritage treasure. There is still work to be done in developing the project but HLF will be offering their full support in taking their application further.”

The Fratry building at the heart of the Cathedral precinct will be the hub for this new work. The Fratry was the dining hall for the monks of the mediaeval Priory and its Undercroft houses the popular Prior’s Kitchen restaurant. But access to this wonderful building has always been hard for anyone who finds stairs difficult. At last plans have been developed which give easy access to both floors of the building. Both floors will be re-fitted for learning activity and hospitality. A new welcome area will also be built and there will be much better toilet provision.

Mr John Nixon, Chairman of the Carlisle Cathedral Development Trust said: “This grant is really good news for the Cathedral. We have wanted to bring the Fratry back into regular use and develop our teaching work for a long time. After four years careful work to develop these proposals, we are confident that our plans will make the Cathedral precinct an even more special place to visit. It’s good that English Heritage has already given its support in principle to the proposals and now the Heritage Lottery Fund has done so as well.

“The immediate challenge for us is to raise the match-funding to set alongside the grants from HLF. We face the big push, in what are challenging times, to raise £750,000 of match-funding by the summer of 2013. We know that this is a big sum but we believe the project is trying to do great things. The Cathedral Chapter and the Cathedral Friends are already committing funds to the project.”

Dr Jason Gooding, Chief Executive of Carlisle City Council said “It has been good to work with the Cathedral in developing this scheme. The City Council is promoting the City’s heritage as part of its tourism strategy and the Cathedral has always been a wonderful asset. It deserves to be better known. I have no doubt that this project will increase the contribution the Cathedral makes to the City and this region.”