Award to Safeguard Nationally Significant Heritage

Building Resilience – Safeguarding our Ecclesiastical Heritage.

£186,700 has been awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to help sustain community facing churches in the Catholic Archdiocese of Cardiff.

The Archbishop of Cardiff, George Stack stated, ‘St Mary’s Church, our Lady of Peace, St Michael’s Church and St Dyfrig’s Church are immensely valuable community assets as well as being outstanding architectural ‘gems’ serving some of the most deprived households in Wales.  Research shows that to thrive church buildings must be both valued by and useful to their communities. With a little imagination this project will provide a template for other places of worship to follow in terms of developing sustainable volunteering and engagement. We are most grateful to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for their support’.

Underpinning the three-year project is the belief that the only sustainable way of maintaining the charity’s stock of heritage buildings is giving communities the skills to maintain them. The ambition is to implement best practice models in four target communities and sharing learning to improve heritage management across the entire charity and wider places of worship sector.

Commenting on the award, Andrew White – Director of the National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales said:

“Places of worship provide comfort and practical support – particularly at difficult times such as these, for communities right across Wales. But with an often growing demand for this support, coupled with pressure of the ongoing cost of maintaining ageing buildings, it’s also a difficult time for them.

“This grant will support the Catholic Archdiocese of Cardiff to put infrastructure in place– including staff, volunteers, resources and well-maintained and safe buildings, to become self-reliant and continue to support some of our most vulnerable people in some of our most deprived communities now and in the future.”

The project will look beyond immediate building repairs and help develop new ways of collaborative working with local communities. The Archdiocese of Cardiff serves the South East area of Wales and the Herefordshire region of England. The Building Resilience project features specific support for:

  • St Mary’s Church, Newport Grade II*
  • St Michael’s Church, Newport Grade II
  • Our Lady of Peace, Newbridge Grade II
  • St Dyfrig’s Church, Treforest Grade II

Thriving churches are all about people and their community. The project team includes Gareth Simpson as Volunteer and Project Manager, Lauren Williams as Church Care Officer and Martin Buckridge as Fundraising Officer. They will provide specialist skills, knowledge and training to support those involved. The project will build on the work of the charity’s 2,500 volunteers and will seek out new volunteers to meet the needs of churches.

The project pivots around the conservation and protection of listed places of worship and their related buildings such as halls, presbyteries and land. Bringing communities together through shared learning, the project aims to help parishes care for both the tangible and intangible heritage of the church. Ensuring that the relevant skills are secured for the future means that generations to come may enjoy the benefits of our wonderful buildings. Building long-term funding strategies and sustainable sources of income is central to the project.

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