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U.K. government issues grants for repairs to churches

Westminster Cathedral
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Culture Recovery Fund announces funding for renovations during pandemic.

Historic Catholic churches in England and Wales are among the beneficiaries of new government funding to help preserve their structures. The grants have been announced in the midst of a pandemic, which has made renovation work difficult for the churches.

The British Government’s Culture Recovery Fund announced that about 445 organizations will share £103 million of funding. That includes £3 million going to the Catholic Trust for England and Wales “to distribute to Grade I and II historic Catholic churches across England.”

The funding will be used to help restart vital reconstruction work and maintenance on cherished heritage sites, keeping venues open and supporting those working in the sector.”

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales said the funding “will provide much needed support for these important historic buildings — helping them fund essential repairs and remain open both for their regular visitors and the wider community.”

Speaking about the grant, Archbishop George Stack, chairman of the Patrimony Committee of the Bishops’ Conference, commented, “We’re extremely grateful to the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage for this grant of £3 million to help with the maintenance, upkeep and repair of a number of our Grade I and II listed buildings in England.”

Stack, who is also archbishop of Cardiff, Wales, said that many projects have had to be put on hold during the pandemic lockdown and that other churches have not had the resources to carry out necessary repairs.
Grade I churches are those that are considered of “exceptional interest,” while Grade II churches are those of particular importance.

As an example, Westminster Cathedral, the “mother church of Catholics in England and Wales,” is a Grade I-listed building and will receive almost $250,000, according to Catholic News Agency.

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King in Liverpool, a Grade II-listed building, will receive around $600,000, CNA said. The cathedral has a distinctive conical design and has suffered from architectural problems ever since it was completed in 1967, said the wire service.

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