Ben Howlett, the Member of Parliament for Bath, recently visited Bath Abbey’s Footprint project which has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a £10million bid for a transformative programme.
The £19.3m Footprint project aims to carry out essential repairs to the abbey’s collapsing floor, install a new eco-friendly heating system using Bath’s unique hot springs as a source of energy and enlarge capacity by creating 200 sq metres of new facilities to fulfil the abbey as a place of congregation, equal access and hospitality.
A programme is also planned to record and interpret the abbey’s 1,200 years of history and this iconic church for millions of visitors including educational visits.
Development funding of £390,000 has been awarded to help the abbey progress its plans to secure the full grant in 2016.
The abbey is expected to use this to further develop its design plans and implement its interpretation programme which will then unlock the full award of £10 million.
Ben Howlett, MP for Bath, said: “I was delighted to see this ambitious project at Bath Abbey today. The Abbey has been at the centre of the Bath community for over 1,200 years, and the Footprint project is an innovative approach that is sure to secure its future.
“I am impressed by the hard work of all those involved, which has been greatly supported by the HLF. I hope to see other heritage projects in Bath follow the Abbey’s example.”
Nerys Watts, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund South West, said: “The great medieval Bath Abbey has a rich history, and the innovative Footprint project will ensure that this special place can continue to play a vital role in the lives of the thousands of people who visit every year.
“Our initial support for the essential capital work plans, collections care and the use of sustainable energy will bring the abbey into the 21st century, enabling people from Bath and further afield to enjoy this special place for many more years to come.”
In order to unlock the full award of £10million from HLF, the abbey will need to raise around £7 million in additional funding through a combination of grant-making trusts and foundations, plus donations from individuals.