A new generation of craftspeople will learn traditional heritage skills from their homes thanks to the support of specialist insurer Ecclesiastical.
For the past 10 years, Gloucester-based Ecclesiastical Insurance has provided sponsorship and grant funding to the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship (CWF) which provides university level education and training in traditional heritage craft skills in collaboration with nine Anglican cathedrals in the UK, including Gloucester Cathedral.
Since COVID-19, CWF has delivered virtual workshops including online lectures, presentations and pre-recorded demos so students can continue to learn from home. This year’s £12,500 donation from the specialist insurer will support CWF staff to adapt and deliver learning modules online.
CWF enables apprentice stonemasons, carpenter/joiners, plumbers and electricians to learn from master craftspeople at Canterbury, Durham, Exeter, Gloucester, Lincoln, Salisbury, Winchester, Worcester and York Minster cathedrals.
Each cathedral has its own in-house team of craftspeople working on a wide range of restoration projects which provide challenging and varied learning and teaching environments for the CWF students.
The donation is the latest investment in traditional skills by Ecclesiastical, which supports a number of projects across the UK aimed at preserving the UK’s irreplaceable heritage for future generations.
Faith Kitchen, heritage director at Ecclesiastical, said: “As the leading insurer of Grade I Listed buildings in the UK, the protection of heritage skills is hugely important to us. We’re involved in a range of projects aimed at preserving the UK’s magnificent historic places and paving the way for the creation of our future heritage. We’re delighted to continue to support the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship which nurtures much needed traditional crafts skills for future generations.”
Frances Cambrook, Executive Director at the CWF, said: “What makes the CWF approach to craft training unique, and so popular with our students, is the opportunity to study on-site in each of our cathedrals under the guidance of Master craftspeople. Covid-19 restrictions mean that we shall not be able to deliver the course in the usual way for the foreseeable future and our team of tutors are working hard to develop creative ways of delivering their modules so that our students can continue with their studies. This is time consuming and we are very grateful for Ecclesiastical’s continued support which, together with generous funding from Historic England’s Emergency Response fund, will help to ensure we can create the resources we need to keep the course running this year.”
Ecclesiastical is a proud supporter of heritage skills. The insurer sponsors the sustainable heritage master’s degree at University College London and The Prince’s Foundation’s Building Arts Programme.
Ecclesiastical recently launched its latest Impact Report to celebrate some of the many good causes it has helped.