Bath Abbey has been presented with a cheque for £175,000 towards the Footprint project by well-known local philanthropist, Andrew Brownsword.
The Abbey’s Rector, The Reverend Canon Guy Bridgewater, met with Mr and Mrs Brownsword to receive the cheque which forms part of The Brownsword Charitable Foundation’s pledge of half a million pounds in match funding towards Bath Abbey’s Footprint project. The pledge is triggered every time someone makes a donation to the project.
In 2018, the Abbey raised around £175,000 from individual donors through a variety of fundraising activities including abseiling down the Abbey Tower and the Great Bath Bake Sale that has been match funded by The Brownsword Charitable Foundation, bringing the total raised in 2018 for Footprint to £350,000.
Essential works are currently being carried out inside the Abbey’s East end, as part of the Footprint project, to repair the collapsing floor and to install underfloor eco-heating that will be powered by Bath’s famous hot springs. Building work is also taking place along the south side of the Abbey to create space underground for new and improved facilities, as well as in the adjacent terrace row of houses in Kingston Buildings.
The Footprint project is a £19.3 million programme of restoration, building works and interpretation that will secure the Abbey’s physical future and improve its hospitality, worship and service to the city. Of this total, the Abbey has just over £1 million to raise largely thanks to a grant of £10.7 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and additional funds from private individuals and trusts, the Abbey’s own congregation and visitors.
The Revd Canon Guy Bridgewater, Rector of Bath Abbey, said: “We are extremely grateful to the Brownswords for their generosity. 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. With the best part of £1 million left to raise, 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 the Abbey, I urge you to find out more about how our Footprint project will benefit those in Bath as well as visitors to the city.”
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.”
The Abbey will remain open as usual during the Footprint project with Behind the Scenes tours on offer. These tours will give members of the public a chance to find out why the floor is collapsing, see the complex repair and restoration work, as well as some of the discoveries the archaeologists have found along the way. Tours usually run on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays and last an hour and 15 minutes.