Grants to preserve and promote heritage building skills

Stonemason on the roof of Gloucester Cathedral

Grants to preserve and promote heritage building skills

Published: 15 May 2023
We’re delighted to share some of the exciting training schemes to receive funding through our Heritage Skills for Christian Buildings grants programme.
This time last year, we launched our grants programme to support training in ecclesiastical heritage skills. Our aim is to help preserve and build sustainable skills and care for our nation’s important, historic environment. 
The Heritage Skills for Christian Buildings grants programme focuses on supporting skills which can be used on Christian heritage buildings – but such skills will also benefit the wider heritage sector. The programme supports any registered charity offering training in heritage skills providing they can demonstrate that funding will support skills relevant to the preservation of Christian buildings. Relevant skills may include stonemasonry, carpentry, bricklaying, or thatching – just to name a few. 
To celebrate a year since the programme launched, here’s a selection of some of the successful organisations to receive a grant:
The Prince’s Foundation

Over £100,000, across three years, has been awarded to The Prince’s Foundation to create modern apprenticeships in traditional crafts to be taught at its Dumfries House headquarters in East Ayrshire.
Benefact Trust has supported The Prince’s Foundation through the Strata Florida Archaeology Field School in Wales and more recently the All-Ireland Heritage Skills training programme.
Building on their success, this next programme will train East Ayrshire-based apprentices in carpentry, bricklaying and stonemasonry and will build on The Prince’s Foundation’s status as a leader in building craft training.
Modern apprenticeship schemes are recommended by the Scottish Government as a key way to increase skills and to reduce youth unemployment. As part of this programme, two apprentice carpenters or joiners will embark on a four-year modern apprenticeship programme at Dumfries House, with placements at churches and cathedral buildings – and opportunities for permanent positions at the end of the training. 
Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST)

QEST supports excellence in British craftsmanship through providing funding for the training and education of talented and aspiring craftspeople across a wide range of craft disciplines, including those relating to the conservation of Christian buildings. Over the past 30 years since the charity was founded, QEST has been able to award £5.3 m to around 700 individual craftspeople enabling them to pursue fulfilling and long-term careers in their chosen field. 
QEST was one of the Trust’s original heritage partners having received funding in 2019, across three years, to support seven scholars and three apprentices in craft skills such as stained-glass window artistry, stonemasonry, iconography, clock restoration, and musical instrument making. 
A multi-year grant of £144,000 will enable QEST to support six more scholars and three apprentices over the next three years in relevant skills for the conservation of Christian buildings.
Gloucester Cathedral

Over £11,000 from the Trust is helping to provide world-class training to Gloucester Cathedral’s Senior Stonemasons, which is vital for ensuring this magnificent building stays in the best possible condition for years to come.
The cathedral is home to some of the world’s most significant architecture and is one of only 11 cathedrals to have an on-site stonemasonry workshop. The workshop is gaining a reputation as one of the finest Conservation Workshops in the country, and through an apprenticeship scheme with the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship, the cathedral provides education and training to the next generation of craftspeople.
To maintain a gold standard of stonemasonry, the senior stonemasons need to continue to develop and upskill throughout their careers too. The funding from the Trust will enable this, by allowing two members of the team to complete a series of specialist masterclasses and accreditation.
Find out more about Benefact Trust’s grants programmes.
Student practicing stonemasonry at The Prince's Foundation summer school
The Prince's Foundation Summer School

Ready to apply?

Once you've identified which grant is right for you, taken a look at how to apply and formed a project plan, it's potentially time to start your funding journey
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Benefact Group's work

As a Trust, our ability to support and fund so many worthwhile causes, is made possible by the hard work of the award-winning specialist financial businesses that make up Benefact Group – which gives all its available profits to the Trust, sustaining our giving. As a part of the Benefact Group each business, whether it be in specialist insurance, investment management, broking or advisory shares the Trust’s ethos of giving back.