York Minster Centre of Excellence for Heritage Craft Skills £4m fundraising campaign launched as costs almost double

A £4m fundraising campaign has been launched to fund the completion of the new York Minster Centre of Excellence for Heritage Craft Skills after the costs of the project almost doubled.

Planning permission was granted by City of York Council in September 2022, with the project scheduled to be completed in summer 2024.

The project had initially been earmarked to cost in the region of £5m to deliver but it has now been revealed the figure has increased to over £9m.

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Neil Sanderson, Director of the York Minster Fund, said: “The Centre of Excellence will deliver long term sustainable benefits both financially, and in the maintenance of heritage skills to York Minster, the heritage community, and the wider city.

An artist's impression of the new centre.An artist's impression of the new centre.
An artist's impression of the new centre.

"However, since the initial inception of the idea of the centre in 2018, we have been working against a backdrop of rising costs and supply chain issues, and its full delivery is now expected to cost in excess of £9m, significantly more than at the start of this journey.”

As a result, the Minster is inviting organisations and the public to help to support the delivery of the project through donations.

The Very Rvd Dominic Barrington, Dean of York Minster, said: “The Centre of Excellence is a first-of-its-kind project and is critical for helping us achieve the aims of our wider Neighbourhood Plan, which seeks to secure the environmental, financial and heritage sustainability of the Minster for many years to come.

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“We are incredibly grateful to everyone who already supports the Minster’s work and expensive ongoing upkeep through donations and visits. However, we have been hit by multiple challenges since we began this project in 2018, most notably the ongoing volatility of the construction industry.

“We are therefore hopeful of securing further funding and pledges to ensure this once-in-a-lifetime project can be delivered on schedule as planned, with donations being very gratefully received.”

It comes as it was announced specialist heritage contractor Simpson has been chosen to deliver the project by the Chapter of York and will create a campus facility for research, education and training in the ancient craft skills required to preserve and maintain the Minster for future generations.

A spokesperson for the scheme said: “The Centre of Excellence’s benefits will be far reaching, as not only will it prolong the traditional crafts of stonemasonry and glaziery through the introduction of cutting-edge technology, but it will also establish the Minster as an international example of best practice in managing complex heritage estates.

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“The funding for the Centre is being underwritten through the generous support of the York Minster Fund, which is also announcing today a campaign to raise £4m in support of the completion of the project.”

The York Minster Neighbourhood Plan is a masterplan to secure a sustainable future for York Minster.

Formally adopted by City of York Council last year, its delivery will signal the largest planned programme of works at the Minster and its surrounding Precinct since the Victorian era. It was recently nominated for a Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) award for Planning Excellence.

To donate to the Centre of Excellence fundraising campaign, visit: https://yorkminster.org/discover/centre-of-excellence-for-heritage-craft-skills-and-estate-management/. Pledges can also be made be emailing [email protected].