The new outdoor space will provide more than an opportunity for local people to find some green space in the city. The churchyard offers seating, imaginative landscaping, and terraces as a welcoming place of sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Puncturing the new paving is a ribbon of words linking ten stopping places and wrapping around the cathedral. The ribbon creates a series of flowing spaces that encourage visitors to explore the new churchyard and the words invoke a set of values for living: love, peace, justice and worth – values to remind people of what matters and how they can live better.
A Benefact Trust grant of £80,000 supported the creation of this new outdoor sanctuary, but also helped to fund the cathedral’s new entrance which welcomed back visitors in August 2021, following the cathedral’s multi-million pound transformation.
The 20-month-long redevelopment was undertaken to re-establish the cathedral as a dynamic community hub and attraction in Newcastle city centre. It included an overhaul of the cathedral’s interior and the launch of a new community café, as well as the transformation of the outdoor space.
Café 16 will provide training, mentoring and employment opportunities for prison leavers; and interpretation panels with a new sound and light show will bring 900 years of cathedral history to life – chronicling the development of the cathedral.
Andrew Bass, Grants Officer for Benefact Trust, said: “We’re proud to have supported this amazing cathedral transformation. It was a pleasure to see the new Benefact Trust funded outdoor space in person and see first-hand how it will connect the community with the cathedral, but also how it will function as a space for quiet reflection in the heart of this busy city.”
John Sadler, Trustee and Coordinator for Newcastle Cathedral Trust, said: “Compared to the previous drab and unwelcoming churchyard, the landscaping has transformed it. We are extremely grateful for the funding from Benefact Trust.”