Bath’s historic Abbey has received £155,800 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to help support its recovery from the impact of the COVID 19 closure of over three months – which affected all places of worship.
Due to the pandemic and UK lockdown, the church was closed for 15 weeks – from 24 March to 6 July 2020 – during which time it was anticipated that close to 150,000 people would have visited the Abbey.
In addition the Abbey has been unable to hold any events or large-scale services, including during Holy Week and Easter. In normal times, this is one of the busiest times of year for the church, attracting people from all around the world.
Despite being open for a month now, the number of worshippers and visitors have had to be restricted and are expected to be greatly reduced for the rest of 2020 and beyond. The loss of visitor donations and inability to hold large-scale services will have a severe and far- reaching financial impact on the Abbey.
The Revd Canon Guy Bridgewater, Rector of Bath Abbey said: “We are most grateful to receive this much-needed funding to support the Abbey’s mission, by helping us continue to care for this beautiful building and its role in the community. In these challenging times the National Lottery Heritage Fund is a lifeline for us and many others, who are passionate about sustaining heritage for the benefit of all. Certainly Bath Abbey has rarely needed it more.”
The funding, made possible by National Lottery players, was awarded through The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Emergency Fund. £50million was made available to provide emergency funding for those most in need across the heritage sector.
The UK-wide fund aimed to address both immediate emergency actions and help organisations to start thinking about recovery.
Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Heritage has an essential role to play in making communities better places to live, supporting economic regeneration and benefiting our personal wellbeing. All of these things are going to be even more important as we emerge from this current crisis.
“Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players we are pleased to be able to lend our support to organisations such as Bath Abbey during this uncertain time.”
Like Bath Abbey, other charities and organisations across the UK that have been affected by the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus outbreak are being given access to a comprehensive package of support of up to £600 million of repurposed money from The National Lottery. This money is supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and span the arts, community, charity, heritage, education, environment and sports sectors.
Thanks to National Lottery players, £30 million is raised every week for good causes, including heritage of local and national importance. By playing The National Lottery, people up and down the country are making an amazing contribution to the nationwide-response to combatting the impact of COVID-19 on local communities across the UK.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Emergency Fund is now closed for applications. To find out more about how The National Heritage Emergency Fund is supporting the sector at this time please visit: https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/responding-coronavirus-covid-19
To find out more about the National Lottery Good Causes , visit: www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/coronavirus-pandemic-response