£3.9m grant to make Hull Minster a hub for city’s history, heritage and community

A computer-generated image showing the extension to Hull Minster, which will be funded by the Highways England grant. It will house a visitor and heritage centre and café, with tables spilling out into Trinity Square when weather permits.

A £3.9m grant to complete the transformation of Hull Minster into a hub for the city’s history, heritage and community has been announced following funding from Highways England.

The investment comes from a dedicated fund which is designed to protect historic features in areas near to major roads, helping them to be harmonious with their surroundings. The Highways England Environment Designated Fund will safeguard the Minster’s heritage for future generations and create a sustainable future for the church as a magnificent place of worship, focal point for the community and magnet for visitors.

With work set to start this Spring, the majestic Minster can now be restored, renovated and extended to fulfil its rich potential. The grant is linked to the proposed A63 Castle Street scheme, which passes just 100 metres from the church. This major project is designed to improve access between the Port of Hull and the national road network via the city centre.

Highways England’s funding for the Minster allows for a number of major improvements, including a glass, bronze and stone extension which will house a visitor and heritage centre with exhibition spaces, a café and other new visitor facilities. The extension will lead into a “heritage corridor” within the church, creating a home for carefully-curated exhibits about the history of Hull and the central role the church has played in it. 

Highways England senior project manager James Leeming said: “It is a real pleasure to support an iconic venue like Hull Minster as part of our important work in the city.

“Our Designated Funds programme empowers us to invest in projects beyond our traditional schemes. The grant for Hull Minster will transform the church in the short term and build a brighter future in the long term.”

Further new features will include an education and learning centre, disabled access ramps and accessible toilets, a modern electrical system, and a community garden providing homegrown fruit and vegetables for the café.

An interval view of the planned visitor and heritage centre, which will include a café, exhibition spaces and heritage displays.

The Vicar of Hull Minster, the Reverend Canon Dr Neal Barnes, said: “This is wonderful news for the Minster and the city of Hull. It will enable us to fulfil the Minster’s potential to be a hub for visitors and tourists to the historic Old Town.

“Maintaining a heritage asset is very expensive and draws resources away from the core work of the church, so this grant is particularly useful in sustaining our mission to be a positive force and a place of care, compassion and support.

 “It means we can now put more of our own resources into our outreach work, our education programmes and our support for the most isolated and vulnerable members of our community.”

The funds have been awarded to the Hull Minster Development Trust, which has led the transformation of the Minster over recent years to enable it to host flexible and inclusive forms of worship and a wide range of social, cultural and community events.

Hull Minster Development Trust Vice Chair Stephen Martin said: “This is very exciting as it means we will be able to deliver the final phase of our development project and much more. 

“It’s a tribute to our success in raising £3.5m over the past four years from donations and trusts to rejuvenate the church and place it once again at the very centre of community life in Hull.

“But it’s vital to stress that these funds are strictly ring-fenced for capital projects. Not a single penny will go towards day-to-day running costs, which remain a major challenge. 

“While this grant will support the Minster’s sustainability in the long term, we still need financial support from donors and well-wishers to help cover essential running costs and increased community support work. We also need people to contribute more when they visit, to close the gap between our day-to-day incomings and outgoings.”

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, said: “It was my privilege and joy to join the people of Hull for the re-designation of Holy Trinity Church as Hull Minster in 2017. In doing so, it was my prayer that Hull Minster was to be a place of blessing, witness and prayer for the city of Hull and all humankind. 

“Please join me in praise and thanksgiving to God for this Highways England grant which represents further growth in the partnership between Hull Minster and the local community it serves.” 

For more information about Highways England’s Designated Funds programme visit https://highwaysengland.co.uk/designated-funds/

[John Meehan – Meehan Media & Comms]

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