£2.8million of National Lottery funding pledged for Worcester’s historic churches

Worcester Cathedral and St Swithun’s Church have both received support of over £1million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to help more people to explore their heritage.

Thanks to National Lottery players, two projects, led by Worcester Cathedral and the Churches Conservation Trust, will work to conserve these historic buildings and create innovative new learning spaces for visitors and local people.

Vanessa Harbar, Head of HLF West Midlands, said: “This is an important investment that will help to protect and enhance Worcester’s rich heritage for years to come. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, these two transformational projects will work to create exciting new spaces and cement the buildings’ places in the city’s significant cultural offer.”

More than £1m has been earmarked for a project to open up the 12th-century undercroft at Worcester Cathedral to the public for the first time. A former monastic cellar, the space will be transformed into a unique new learning centre with teaching rooms, storage and administration space, reception area and a lift.

The three-year project aims to provide a permanent venue for the Cathedral’s award-winning education programme, reaching more people across Worcestershire and beyond. It would also enable conservation and research on the internationally significant ‘Christ in Majesty’ 13th-century stone carving.

Development funding of £168,000 has been awarded to the Cathedral by HLF to progress the project in order to apply for a full grant of just over £1m at a later date.

The Very Reverend Dr Peter Atkinson, Dean of Worcester Cathedral, said: “We are delighted to receive this initial support from HLF and send our warmest thanks to National Lottery players and everyone else involved. This grant will enable the Cathedral to develop our plans to bring into public use for the first time a wonderful 12th-century former monastic cellar, and provide a unique historic venue to make learning, arts and heritage accessible for the whole community.”

The Churches Conservation Trust has received a confirmed £1.64m National Lottery grant from HLF for a project to transform St Swithun’s into an inspirational sensory space and cultural venue.

Located in the heart of Worcester, the Grade I listed church will install ground-breaking new interpretation, which will creatively use sound and art to engage, enthuse and inspire a greater connection to heritage and history. Sound and Art @ St Swithun’s (SASS) will enable the splendid Georgian architecture to be repaired and conserved, transforming the building into a cutting edge space for new innovative forms of engagement.

The project, which was previously awarded HLF development funding of £196,100, will also run an exciting programme of events, from night-time tours to training placements, alongside the capital works.

Sarah Robinson, Acting Chief Executive and Director of Conservation at CCT, said: “I am delighted that HLF has supported this project, thanks to National Lottery players. St Swithun’s epitomises Georgian splendour, but the fabric and future of this building have been at risk for some time. This grant, coupled with generous matching donations collected during our annual appeal, will enable us to save St Swithun’s and create a vibrant, sustainable future for the building and the community.”



Pictured: Worcester Cathedral and St Swithun’s Church have both received support of over £1million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)