The Catholic Trust for England and Wales will receive a share of the £1.57 billion pounds set aside by the government’s Culture Recovery Fund (CRF), as part of their #HereForCulture campaign to preserve the arts, culture and heritage industries.
The £103 million pounds dedicated to the Heritage Stimulus Fund (HRF) will be divided between 445 heritage organisations to support them through the coronavirus pandemic. The financial injection will be administered at arm’s length by the Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Twelve organisations, including English Heritage, Landmark Trust, Historic Royal Palaces and the Canal and River Trust, will receive £34 million from the HRF to restart construction and support maintenance on important heritage sites to protect jobs for specialists and contractors in the sector.
The £3 million given to the Catholic Trust for England and Wales will be distributed to Grade I and II* historic Catholic churches across England. Grade I and II* are categories of listed building defined as being of more than exceptional interest and more than special interest respectively. It will permit them to fund essential repairs and remain open for their regular visitors and the wider community.
The Most Reverend George Stack, Chair of the Patrimony Committee of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales was ‘extremely grateful’ and thanked the government for the maintenance grant. He observed that:
“Tthe recent closure of churches during lockdown has impacted seriously on the many planned projects which have been unable to proceed. A significant number of churches have simply not had the resources to carry out much needed repairs.
“This grant will give encouragement and support to local congregations determined to preserve and enhance these churches which are so important a part of our national heritage.”
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has said that ‘As a nation it is essential that we preserve our heritage and celebrate and learn from our past. This massive support package will protect our shared heritage for future generations, save jobs and help us prepare for a cultural bounceback post-covid.’
Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s Chief Executive, said that the funding was an “essential lifeline for our heritage and the people who work tirelessly to conserve it for us all, so that we can hand it on to future generations.”