Portsmouth Cathedral has been awarded a grant of £266,500 from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage. They are one of 445 heritage organisations across the country set to receive a lifesaving financial boost from the government thanks to the £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund, from which the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage is the first major tranche of funding to be awarded.
This grant will provide a lifeline to Portsmouth Cathedral, an important part of the heritage ecology of Portsmouth. The funding will sustain them through possibly the most challenging time in the history of our Cathedral, and complement their newly launched Cathedral Vision as they work towards a brighter and financially sustainable future where their heritage is celebrated and shared widely.
The Very Rev’d Dr Anthony Cane, Dean of Portsmouth, comments “I am absolutely delighted that Portsmouth Cathedral has been awarded a grant from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage, part of the government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund.
Coronavirus has had a profound impact on Portsmouth Cathedral. Projected income for 2020 has dropped by 24% and many of our fixed costs have remained constant. In March 2020, our situation was so serious that we were unsure whether we would be able to meet our salary bill from May 2020 onwards.
Thanks to support from the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Church Commissioners, Portsmouth City Council and the generosity of members of our Cathedral community, combined with rigorous cost-cutting, we averted financial disaster for a few months. But the situation was still grave. This grant from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage will sustain us through to March 2021, supporting vital salaries, building, cleaning and insurance costs and thereby safeguarding our heritage in the short term.
Furthermore, over half of the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage’s grant will enable a six-month programme of work to drastically improve Portsmouth Cathedral’s long term financial sustainability. This will include work to encourage more people from all backgrounds to visit, exploring why more people do not visit Portsmouth Cathedral and overcoming these barriers to engagement. We will improve the experience of all visitors, new and returning, through better showcasing our heritage. We will design and run new events that will not only engage our local community but also contribute valuable income. We will also commission new merchandise for our shop which celebrates our heritage and Portsmouth and open an online shop for the first time.
In short, the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage will play a vital role in safeguarding Portsmouth Cathedral’s heritage for our city, our communities and future generations.
Alongside this, it is absolutely essential that we also significantly increase our fundraising and commercial revenues and continue with agreed reductions to our operating budget in order to achieve financial sustainability.”