Birmingham Cathedral has been given £500,000 to carry out vital internal repairs.
The 300-year-old building is one of 30 English cathedrals to get a share of The First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund, a government-sponsored scheme set up to help finance repairs to some of the country’s most important historic buildings.
Nearby St Chads Cathedral received £227,000 from the same fund in October of last year.
The Anglican cathedral is planning to use the cash to help replace obsolete lighting and wiring systems. The building needs outdated fittings replaced with more sustainable and energy-efficient alternatives.
The Very Reverend Catherine Ogle, Dean of Birmingham, said: “This is marvellous news and means that we can improve the facilities that we offer to everyone who comes to the cathedral.
“Birmingham deserves the very best and we’re excited now to look forward to a newly refurbished interior.”
The Church of England’s 42 cathedrals are estimated to contribute around £220 million to the national economy every year through employment and tourism. They welcome more than 11 million visitors annually, employ more than 7,000 people and are supported by 15,000 dedicated volunteers.
Anna Pitt, director of fundraising and development at Birmingham Cathedral, said: “This hugely supportive grant, alongside the generosity of our congregation, local trusts and Birmingham based companies will enable us to light up Birmingham Cathedral in 2015.
“It will be delightful to see this long awaited project come to fruition, and we look forward with anticipation to welcoming one and all into our newly lit cathedral.
“Our intention is that the cathedral will stay open during the works, so please continue to visit us and share in our progress. In our tercentenary year as we look back on the changes of the last 300 years, we can now be confident that we are securing this building for use by future generations.”
Additional funding for the repairs project has been made up by support from the cathedral’s congregations, £40,000 from local grant-making trusts, and the support of local businesses.
One of the cathedral’s closest neighbours, Hortons’ Estate has made a £15,000 contribution.
Hortons’ chief executive Tony Green said: “The cathedral is a key part of Birmingham life both physically and pastorally and we are delighted be able to be part of the tercentenary fund raising initiative.”
The cathedral has launched a photography competition to mark this year’s 300th anniversary.
Called Faith in Focus, the competition is asking local photographers to submit their iconic images of the place of worship.
The challenge, run in conjunction with the Birmingham Post, will continue until the summer, after which winning images will be chosen and displayed in the Library of Birmingham.
They will also feature in cathedral literature and be published in the Post. Visit www.birminghamcathedral.com/faithinfocus/ for more information.