The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has announced that it has given initial approval to a Â£4.5m bid for repairs to Guildford Cathedral and the development of the project: Securing Guildford Cathedralâ€™s future: treasures, memories and stories revealed.
The HLF has awarded a grant of Â£329,100 to the Cathedral to fund development work towards submitting a full application for the total sum next year with a view to starting work in 2015.
The project aims to carry out urgent repairs, removing acoustic plaster throughout the ceiling containing asbestos and to protect the Cathedral for current and future generations.
Through the help of volunteers the project will also record the unique story of the 200,000 brick-givers, whose generosity completed the building of â€˜The Peopleâ€™s Cathedralâ€™. An educational programme and improved archives will enable more people to learn about and engage with the Cathedral and its story.
In addition, upgraded access, facilities and information are planned to transform the experience of the 100,000 people who we welcome to the Cathedral each year.
The project is part of a wider Â£7m Cathedral Appeal to raise urgently needed funds for repairs and development. In addition to the HLF full application, a further Â£2.2 million is needed â€“ of which Â£1.3m is partnership funding for the HLF project.
The Appeal is a crucial aspect of the Cathedralâ€™s vision, Guildford Cathedral 2020, which was launched last week, and has already attracted backing from supporters including Penelope Keith.
Head of HLF South East Stuart McLeod said: â€œThis building has a real community story to tell but is in great need of urgent repairs. Proposals will not only protect its future but also reveal the remarkable story of how it was built. We look forward to working closely with the Cathedral as they develop their plans.â€
The Dean, the Very Revd Dianna Gwilliams said: â€œWeâ€™re absolutely delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this support. The building is at risk and this is a vital first step towards both its repair and to secure its future.
â€œIt is now our turn to do our bit to raise the remaining Â£2.2 million. We hope the public will be supportive - if you think you can help please get in touch.â€œ
Appeal Vice-President and member of the Cathedral community Penelope Keith, urged people to back the Appeal, saying: â€œWe are all guilty of taking landmarks for granted and yet the stark truth is that Guildford Cathedral, this remarkable feat of 20th Century perseverance, is struggling to survive.
â€œFor me it is so much more than a landmark. It is a place of beauty and light, peace and life. I would urge you to take time out and instead of walking or driving past next time, make a short diversion and visit your cathedral. It is a precious place, built by everyone for everyone and it urgently needs your help. Through the Cathedral Appeal we hope to be able to secure its future and equip it to serve its community, so it can form not only part of the landscape but part of peopleâ€™s lives, now and in the future. Please support us.â€
Built in 1961, Guildford Cathedral is one of the great ecclesiastical buildings of the modern era. Designed by Sir Edward Maufe, it combines Gothic tradition and 20th century construction techniques with a simple aesthetic of space and light. Its construction, funded by ordinary people who â€˜bought a brickâ€™ for 2s 6d (12.5p) in times of austerity, was in an extraordinary demonstration of modern community spirit. This remarkable feat of local engagement is reflected in the new Appeal logo with its brick-like graphic.
To find out how you can help the Appeal please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit www.guildford-cathedral.org/appeal