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House of Commons Hansard
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26 November 2009
Volume 501
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6. Whether the Church Commissioners provide guidance to parishes and cathedrals on making applications for grants from Departments, national lottery funds and charitable bodies. [301670]

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As I told the House on 23 October 2008, Official Report, column 449, the Church provides such advice via the Churchcare and Parish Resources websites. In addition, the lottery providers give specific advice on their own schemes via their websites.

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The hon. Gentleman will know that cathedrals, including Lichfield cathedral, have made several applications to people at, for example, the Heritage Lottery Fund, and have often been successful, but when they are unsuccessful, it has cost the cathedrals tens of thousands of pounds. Large applications have to be made and decided upon down in London. Surely, there is an argument for the Commissioners, who are based in London, to have a relationship with the Heritage Lottery Fund, so that they can advise cathedrals around the country.

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The hon. Gentleman makes an important point and has highlighted an important paradox: cathedrals have never been in better condition, nor better cared for, but might soon be at risk if they cannot carry out their planned repairs. In relation to the specific point, he will recall that we had an exchange about Lichfield cathedral’s application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for funding for a scheme to improve visitor facilities. Colleagues at Church House supported the application, but unfortunately a ballot was held in which Lichfield cathedral was unsuccessful. However, his point about the centrality was well made, and I shall take it back to Church House.