Bath Abbey’s public fundraising campaign to raise £7 million towards its Footprint project has been given a massive boost by its congregation and the Friends of Bath Abbey. Together they have pledged an amazing total of £1.1 million towards the appeal.
The Footprint project will repair the Abbey’s collapsing floor, install a new eco-friendly heating system using Bath’s unique hot springs, create 200 sq metres of additional space and provide new and improved facilities for the half a million people who use the Abbey every year.
Commenting on the Abbey community’s generosity the Rector of Bath Abbey, the Reverend Prebendary Edward Mason, said: “It’s wonderful, what a remarkable group of people! Less than six months ago, the Abbey invited its members to consider the Footprint project by pledging gifts. In this short space of time, the total raised has risen to £1.1 million, an amazing response. Footprint is about sustaining a Christian presence at the Abbey in the heart of Bath for the next century and these gifts demonstrate the congregation and The Friends of Bath Abbey’s commitment to the project.”
Preparatory work for the Abbey’s Footprint project dates back to 2009 but this is the first time the Abbey will be making a fundraising appeal to the public. Laura Brown, Footprint Appeal Director, said: “We’re very grateful to our congregation and the Friends of Bath Abbey whose support means that our fundraising campaign has got off to an unbelievably great start. £1.1 million is a substantial amount and puts us well on our way towards our target of £7 million. The next step is for the wider community to get involved and we hope the Abbey community’s belief in the Footprint project will encourage others to give as well.
“Most people in the city have some connection with the Abbey, whether they’ve come in for the architecture, the music or a service. Our challenge now is to get others to share our vision of making the Abbey more hospitable, more sustainable and more useable for everyone in order to make Footprint a reality.”
Commenting on why he is supporting the Footprint project, Jeff Jupp, Chair of The Friends of Bath Abbey, said: “As a member of this busy, thriving church in the centre of Bath, I cannot fail to appreciate what a wonderful place the Abbey is. However, such is the growing demand on this magnificent medieval building that its very fabric is beginning to strain.
We also want to open the church out and make it more accessible for everybody but unless it’s developed, the Abbey will become increasingly impractical for its busy programme of services and events, for visitors and worshippers alike.
“While I hope personally to enjoy the changes the Footprint project will bring to the Abbey, what is much more significant is that it will bring lasting benefits for future generations. The changes we make now will be here in over 100 years’ time and this is what I and The Friends are really pledging towards.”
Earlier this year, the Footprint project received earmarked funding* from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a £10 million bid. Development funding of £389,000 was awarded to help progress plans to secure the full grant at a later date. In order to unlock the full award of £10 million from HLF, the Abbey will need to raise around £7 million in additional funding. The Abbey community’s pledge of £1.1 million towards Footprint means there remains less than £6 million to raise from a combination of grant-making trusts and foundations, plus individual donations.
For more information about Bath Abbey’s Footprint project visit http://www.bathabbey.org/footprint or follow @bathfootprint on Twitter.