£150k boost for Project Pilgrim to be considered by Gloucester City Council


Gloucester City Council Cabinet is to consider whether to contribute £150,000 in support of Gloucester Cathedral's bid to the National Lottery Heritage Fund in order to continue Project Pilgrim in to Phase 2.


Gloucester City Council’s cabinet is considering giving £150,000 to Gloucester Cathedral for the next phase of Project Pilgrim.

A report going to Cabinet on 6 November makes the recommendation in order to help Gloucester Cathedral secure a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF). The money would match that put forward by the cathedral in its bid for up to £8.39 million for ‘Phase 2: Project Pilgrim: Reveal – Sustain’.

‘Phase 1: Project Pilgrim: The Heart of Gloucester’ included restoration of aspects of the building, including much-needed work on the Lady Chapel, as well as transforming the grounds to create a welcoming and open public gathering space. The work has been a great success, attracting 120,000 additional visitors, securing 120 new volunteers, increasing average visitor donations, and creating an extremely high standard of space for the public and visitors to the Cathedral to enjoy. It has also been a flagship project for the city, gaining a national reputation with awards for sustainability, landscaping, interpretation and accessibility. 

Project Pilgrim is now ready to move on to Phase 2: Reveal - Sustain, which will focus on the western quarter, restoring the remarkable Parliament Rooms and adjacent buildings, creating a learning centre and exhibition space, and redeveloping the restaurant and shop.

Phase 2 also intends to be more community focussed, with plans to bring in wellbeing spaces, community allotments, better and more accessible facilities and educational and recreational spaces, all with the aim of being carbon neutral.

The project aims to interpret and redesign the landscape to support the vision of being ‘in tune with Heaven and in touch with daily life’. There will be opportunities to work with homeless, vulnerable and young people, while promoting wellbeing and environmental sustainability.

Project Pilgrim has offered employment for apprentice stonemasons, and this is set to continue in to Phase 2 with the establishment of a long-term apprenticeship programme for future generations.

The Very Reverend Stephen Lake, Dean of Gloucester, said: “Project Pilgrim Phase One has transformed sacred space into common ground, helping to breathe new life in to Gloucester and playing a leading role in its heritage-led regeneration. None of this could have been achieved without the significant support given by Gloucester City Council.

“Phase Two will build on this track record and we are thrilled that Cabinet is considering renewing its faith in the project. We look forward to continuing the Pilgrim journey in partnership.”

Paul James, leader of Gloucester City Council and cabinet member for regeneration and economy, said: “Gloucester Cathedral has been at the heart of the city for centuries, and is an important heritage site. Project Pilgrim has already achieved great things with conserving and restoring the building and generating fantastic engagement opportunities.

“Phase 2 looks to build on that even further, and the opportunities to engage homeless, vulnerable and young people in Gloucester are very welcome. This next step will ensure Gloucester Cathedral continues to provide a focal and rallying point for the whole city.

“Our previous, relatively modest contributions to Lottery funded projects like Project Pilgrim Phase 1, Llanthony Secunda Priory and Discover DeCrypt have helped to lever in millions of pounds of funding by demonstrating our commitment and support”.

If approved, the grant from Gloucester City Council would only be given if the bid to the National Lottery Heritage Fund is successful. If so, the amount would be split over 3 years, starting in the 2020/21 financial year and would come from Gloucester City Council’s Regeneration Account which is ring fenced for the regeneration of the city.