Andrew and Christina Brownsword, via The Brownsword Charitable Foundation, have agreed to give £500,000 in match funding towards Bath Abbey’s Footprint project in order to encourage locals to support the project and raise £1 million.
The Footprint project is a programme of capital works and interpretation that will secure the Abbey’s physical future and improve its hospitality, worship and service to the city.
After nearly a decade of planning, consultation and development work, building work is due to start this Autumn.
However, the Abbey still needs to complete its major fundraising appeal in order for the building work to take place. This is where the Brownswords have stepped in.
The Footprint Appeal was set up to raise £19.4 million for the Abbey’s ambitious and transformative programme.
Thanks to a grant of £10.7 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and additional funds from private individuals and trusts, as well as the Abbey’s own congregation and visitors, the Abbey now has just over £1 million left to raise.
Charles Curnock, Footprint Project Director, said: “We are extremely grateful to the Brownswords for stepping in with their generous offer. By pledging half a million in match funding towards the Footprint Appeal, they are giving added motivation and a real impetus to our fundraising appeal.
“We hope businesses and individuals will join in and will be more inclined to give once they know that match funding is offered. With £1 million left to raise, you may think most of the hard work is done. However, there is still a mammoth task ahead.
“I understand that the hardest part of raising funds for any project is often the last and final hurdle. So, while we’re immensely grateful to everyone who has supported the Footprint project so far, we still need to raise this final amount in order for the project to succeed and, if you don’t already know about it, I urge you to find out more about how our project will benefit those in Bath as well as visitors to the city.”
Andrew and Christina Brownsword are well known in Bath for their generous philanthropy to various charities and good causes. The match funding will be triggered every time someone makes a donation to the Footprint project, up to a total of £500,000, thus raising £1 million in all.
Andrew Brownsword said: “The Abbey plays a vital role in the city, making a significant impact on those who live, work and visit Bath. Many people feel a connection with the Abbey, whether through worship and prayer, its beautiful music or architecture, or simply by popping in for a few moments of quiet.
“The Footprint project is essential in ensuring the Abbey is able to carry on these contributions to city life; as the city of Bath grows and changes, so must the Abbey.
“We can see from the huge amount of care and work that has already gone into the first stage of the Footprint project, that this programme of change will maintain, make the most of and improve this magnificent building and its resources.
“We feel now is the right time to offer our support so that we can inspire other individuals, businesses and trusts to help this ground-breaking project that is much needed in order for the Abbey to continue to inspire and bring lasting benefits to future generations.”
As part of Phase 1 of the Abbey’s Footprint project, some initial excavation work is taking place along the south side of the building, just outside the Abbey shop, on Kingston Parade from now until April 2017.
The work is to create new underground spaces and facilities which will help make the Abbey more welcoming and improve its service to the city.
The Abbey will remain open as usual during the Phase 1 work and, following discussions with local stakeholders and neighbours, some changes have been made to ensure as little disruption as possible to visitors, worshippers and neighbouring businesses and residents.
If you would like to know more about the Footprint Project, visit www.bathabbey.org/footprint, email: email@example.com follow @bathfootprint on Twitter.