Funding Boost Announced to Protect the next Generation of Heritage Craftspeople

23rd August 2023

£500k funding boost from the Hamish Ogston Foundation.

Sixteen trainee heritage craftspeople at our cathedrals have been given a welcome boost today with the news of over £500k funding from the Hamish Ogston Foundation (HOF) to support their training this next academic year.

This latest grant of £534,768 to the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship (CWF) will be used to ensure there is a steady stream of students progressing through the CWF’s comprehensive training programme, the Hamish Ogston Foundation Craft Training Programme, which will in turn contribute to the preservation of heritage sites by ensuring the skills needed to care for them are passed from one generation to the next.

Protecting the next generation of heritage craftspeople: We thank you!

Canterbury, Chester,  Durham, Exeter, Gloucester, Lichfield, Lincoln, Salisbury, Winchester, Worcester and York Minster – make up The Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship (CWF) – will be able to offer training places to their trainee stonemason and carpenter/joiners from September.

This will include funding five stonemasonry students at Improver Level 3, which will allow them to move onto the CWF’s Foundation degree course in 2025, as well as enabling the recruitment of an additional eleven Level 2 students in both joinery and stonemasonry.

There are also plans to pilot a scheme to retain six developing and recently qualified stonemasonry students at their home cathedrals guaranteeing that they gain valuable, on-the-job experience whilst learning from the very best heritage professionals, enhancing their future employability.

This announcement coincides with the current cohort of thirteen students receiving the final results for their Foundation degree in Applied Historic Building Conservation and Repair.

Ten students passed with Merit and three students achieved a Distinction.

Robert Bargery, Heritage Project Director of the Hamish Ogston Foundation, said:

“The UK is home to some of the world’s most historic and awe-inspiring cathedrals. These buildings have been built to last, but like all great pieces of art, they sometimes need repair and maintenance work by specialist skilled workers to meet the demands of the 21st century. 

“This training programme with the Cathedrals Workshop Fellowship is integral to ensuring there is a steady stream of these skilled workers, and that the architectural magnificence of these cathedrals may be enjoyed by generations to come. The Foundation is pleased to grant this latest round of funding and to provide the unique opportunity of a career in heritage conservation to another cohort of trainees.­­”

This latest tranche of funding to the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship is part of a wider £29m investment into heritage skills training in the UK and the Commonwealth announced by the Hamish Ogston Foundation.

Between September 2022 and August 2025, the Hamish Ogston Foundation is awarding £2.3 million in funding to the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship (CWF).

The Hamish Ogston Foundation has now pledged nearly £44 million towards heritage skills training since its establishment in 2019. It is the largest single private donor to heritage skills training in the UK and is committed to support the training of more than 3,300 conservation trainees in the UK and Commonwealth.

Frances Cambrook, Executive Director at the CWF, said:

“We are enormously grateful to the Hamish Ogston Foundation for this generous grant. There is no doubt that the last few years have been exceptionally challenging due to the lasting impact of the pandemic and the subsequent cost of living crisis, but the support of the Hamish Ogston Foundation has enabled us to continue to deliver a wide-ranging education of the highest possible standard.

“The results achieved by this year’s cohort are testament to that, and we are proud of each and every student for all that they have achieved.

“We are excited to enter into this new phase of the project with the Hamish Ogston Foundation, which is vital to ensure the sustainability of the heritage craft skills needed to care for the buildings that we love.” 

The CWF was set up in 2006 to provide education and training for the craftsmen and women who maintain cathedrals and other historic buildings.