Bath Abbey has received £155,800 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to support it in its recovery from the impact of the closure of all places of worship for over three months.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown in the UK, Bath Abbey was closed for 15 weeks, from 24th March to 6th July, during which time it was anticipated that close to 150,000 people would have visited.
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 Abbey, attracting people from all around the world.
Despite now being open for a month, 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.”
Thanks to National Lottery players, £30 million is raised every week for good causes.