Cathedrals and their Communities

December 29, 2017

The  Department for Communities and Local Government has published Cathedrals and their Communities: A report on the diverse roles of cathedrals in modern England. It summarises the findings from the tour of all 42 Church of England cathedrals undertaken by Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth as Minister for Faith at DCLG. It makes no formal recommendations but concludes with three ‘suggestions’:

  • Charging policy: We understand why some cathedrals have charging policies in place, but it is worth considering the example of Chester who did away with charging [and] have reported increased profits since, or Durham Cathedral which has pledged to keep its main space free to enter. For lesser-known cathedrals, creating an active programme of events and training of staff and volunteers in welcoming people can bring more people through the door and increase income.’
  • Using spare space: The use of crypts and naves for events seems to be a fairly widespread practice but Sheffield cathedral has built a new space below the cathedral to help the city’s homeless residents. This may not be feasible for all cathedrals but a project like this can really help turn people’s lives around.’
  • Sharing excellent ideas: There are good networks between cathedrals, whether that’s through formalised meetings and conferences or through the movement of staff from one town or city to the next. However, we suggest there’s always room to build better connections both with other cathedrals, with other faith bodies and with local museums, charities and local authorities to learn about how they approach similar problems and opportunities.’