Bath Abbey’s ‘Footprint Project’- an ambitious and transformative programme of works planned to secure the Abbey’s physical future and open it up to the community – took a huge step forward today with the formal announcement of its success in its latest bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) – unlocking £10.7 million of funding.
This grant will help fund the physical work needed to the fabric of the Abbey and provide the space to enable the Abbey’s facilities for education and for music to be developed.
The project will make a major impact on the ability of the Abbey to fulfil the various roles that it plays for the city of Bath and the surrounding region. The success of this application means that the Heritage Lottery Fund is confident in Bath Abbey’s plans and believes that a high-quality project will be delivered.
Footprint will provide a stable, level and restored floor within the Abbey by filling voids caused by thousands of burials together with an innovative, eco-friendly hydrothermal heating system, using energy in the water from Bath’s famous hot springs.
In addition, the HLF funding will enable the Abbey to realise exciting plans for a Discovery Centre and a Song School, two key resources that will enable the Abbey to better serve both the residents of Bath and the hundreds of thousands of visitors it welcomes every year.
The Reverend Prebendary Edward Mason, Rector of Bath Abbey, said: “We are all delighted to learn that we have secured this support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
I asked him what it meant for the Abbey and its future.
Nerys Watts, Head of HLF South West, said: “The great medieval Bath Abbey has a rich history and the innovative Footprint project will ensure that this special place can continue to play a vital role in the lives of the thousands of people who visit every year.
Our support for the essential capital works, collections care and use of sustainable energy will bring the Abbey into the 21st century, enabling people from Bath and further afield to enjoy this special place long into the future.”
Charles Curnock, Director of the Footprint Project, said: “We are enormously grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund for this wonderful grant. We can now believe that we really have a project. The grant also provides a fantastic boost to our remaining fundraising. In addition to other funds which have been so generously given, the total project cost of £19.3 million is now firmly within our sights – there is £1.5 million left to raise.
We don’t – however – underestimate the effort which will still be needed to secure this funding; we do however very much appreciate all those who have helped the project to date in many different ways.
This final fundraising phase is now a chance for everyone to get involved. In particular, we are collaborating with LocalGiving and the Bath Percent Club with the aim of raising £50,000 from friends and visitors – with the added bonus that every pound donated will be matched with another pound from the Bath Percent Club.
This campaign is being run on LocalGiving’s secure online giving platform, meaning that everyone can keep a track of progress, and donate online, at http://www.footprint.gift. Bath Abbey belongs to all the people of the city and we hope very much that local residents will want to leave their own footprint here for hundreds of years to come.”
About Bath Abbey
Bath Abbey is a flourishing Church of England parish church which technically serves a small city centre parish (Bath Abbey with St James). This parish has a small residential population and primarily consists of commercial properties; and most of the regular congregation and the 692 people on the electoral roll live in other parishes or come from outside the city of Bath.
The Abbey holds daily services of morning or evening prayer or Holy Communion; and the standard pattern of Sunday worship is for five daily services attended on average by 630 people. Special services at Advent, Christmas and Easter are well attended; and many local organisations hold annual services in the Abbey.
The Abbey has four choirs: Men’s, Boys’ and Girls’ choirs support worship in services; whilst Melody Makers is a choir for younger children which performs in concerts in the Abbey once a term and at other events in and around Bath. The Abbey runs a successful Schools Singing Programme, an outreach activity which supports singing within local schools and holds regular workshops and concerts in the Abbey.
The Abbey welcomes approximately 400,000 visitors annually and is open daily all year round; many of these visitors being families and school parties. Apart from being a place of prayer, worship, weddings and funerals, the Abbey has an important role as a visitor destination, a performance space (for audiences anywhere between 10 and 1,000), a general civic space and an exhibition space.
About Bath Abbey’s Footprint
The £19.3 million Footprint project aims to carry out essential repairs to the Abbey’s collapsing floor, install a new eco-friendly heating system using Bath’s unique hot springs as a source of energy and enlarge capacity by creating 200sq metres of new facilities to fulfil the Abbey as a place of congregation, equal access and hospitality. A programme is also planned to record and interpret the Abbey’s 1,200 years of history and this iconic church for millions of visitors including educational visits. www.bathabbey.org/footprint
Consultants working on the project include:
- Lead design & architecture – Feilden Clegg Bradley Studio – (Bathampton Mill)
- M & E engineering– Buro Happold – (Lower Bristol Road)
- Structural engineering – Mann Williams – (Queen Square)
- Quantity surveying & project management – Synergy Bare, Leaning & Bare – (Bath Street)
- Legal work – Clarke Willmott (pro bono) – (Bristol)
Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)
From the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife, we use National Lottery players’ money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about. For more information , visit http://www.hlf.org.uk