York Minster receive £500,000 pledge for Centre of Excellence

The Garfield Weston Foundation has pledged £500,000 towards York Minster's Centre of Excellence for Heritage Skills and Estate Management. This grant is the largest philanthropic gift granted by a charitable foundation towards the Minster’s work to date.

A family-founded grant maker, The Garfield Weston Foundation supports a wide range of charities across the UK and donates around £90m each year.

York Minster’s new Centre for Excellence will open later this year and will bring multiple benefits, including improving the productivity of restoration work; helping to retain traditional craft skills and practitioners; supporting young people in the early stages of their careers; and providing dedicated residential facilities for apprentices and trainees.

The vision for the Centre of Excellence is also a key element of the adopted York Minster Precinct Neighbourhood Plan which sets out a policy-led approach to creating a sustainable future for the Minster and its seven hectare estate.

Alex McCallion, director of works and precinct at York Minster, said: “This incredibly generous donation by the Foundation will help hugely towards realising our vision for the Centre of Excellence, in turn encouraging national and global learning and knowledge sharing of traditional heritage crafts and cutting-edge technologies. The Centre is crucial for helping us to secure the environmental, financial and heritage sustainability of York Minster for many years to come and the Trustees’ support has played a key part in enabling this to happen.”

Philippa Charles, director of The Garfield Weston Foundation, said: “We are delighted to support the state-of-the-art training facilities and affordable trainee accommodation provided at the York Minster Centre for Excellence. In a time of dwindling numbers of heritage craft practitioners learning the skills required to preserve and maintain beautiful historic buildings such as York Minster, we are delighted to help support this important project. We look forward to seeing the Centre develop.”