We aim to support all the different aspects of cathedral life. Here are some of the ways we have helped in the last few years. These tend to involve larger grants; most of our grants are for much smaller amounts, but can be equally valuable. Our total of gifts in the three years April 2013 to 2018 amounts to over £400,000.
We make a donation of £15,000 each year to support the choir. In addition, because they are expensive to put on, we often make a contribution to the costs of concerts by any of our choirs.
Over the Cloister Café between the Chapter House and the southeast transept is an area of the Cathedral that visitors seldom see. This is known as the Parlour and it’s used by the vergers as office, common room and vestry; its cupboards hold Cathedral vestments. The Friends paid for the refurbishment of the whole area with new furniture and lighting. As well as improving working conditions for the vergers, it has made space for occasional visits at which some of the Cathedral treasures can be shown. The Friends’ contribution was £68,000.
For the Cathedral’s many visitors we have a new touch screen display system, covering the history of the building. The Friends have paid for the third and final stage of this excellent development – £55,000. Recently the display panels have been installed in the north transept showing the life of the Cathedral today. The Friends gave £4,500 for these boards.
Our challenge for 2018 to 2020
The Priory Cathedral’s former refectory is now the College Hall of the King’s School. Beneath it is a large twelfth century cellar (though partly above ground), known as the Undercroft, which has never yet been brought into public use. The Chapter have now launched an ambitious project to use the area to support the Cathedral’s ever-growing education programme. The total cost is expected to approach £2m, much of which will be funded by a Heritage Lottery grant. Included in the project is a lift to College Hall to give access for disabled persons, and the conservation of an important thirteenth century sculpture of Christ in Majesty which is a feature of the Hall. It was badly damaged by iconoclasts at the time of the Dissolution but its uniqueness makes the conservation a worthwhile cause.
The Friends’ contribution to the whole project is to fund this conservation, which means raising £50,000 – about 10% of the money the Cathedral has to raise itself -- over the next two to three years. Several fund-raising events have already been held. As we approach the end of 2018 we have already raised a substantial amount. However, we still have some way to go, and more events are planned for 2019. You can find out about these by looking on our Events Page.
The Cathedral’s medieval (but still working and relevant) library contains both ancient manuscripts and early printed books. The conservation of these is expensive. The Library has its own Adopt-a-Book scheme, and the Friends contribute to this, or similar work, from time to time. In 2018 the Friends have made a grant of £7,500 towards improved lighting in the Cathedral Library.
We have helped with items from the workaday (new hymn books; vergers’ gowns and vergers' workwear) to the ceremonial (a set of new copes for use by the Cathedral clergy at very formal services).
As a pump-priming measure we funded (£33,000) a part-time education post for three years, starting in 2012/13. This post now continues without subsidy.
Want to support us?
Visit the membership page where you will be able to find out how to join the Friends organisation. You will also find out what benefits you will receive as a member.
The magazine of the Friends, The Shield, contains lots more information about the recent work of the Friends, as well as lots of other information about the cathedral and what the Friends have been up to socially. You can download the latest copy here.