• Home
  • > Who we help

Holy Trinity Church: reviving Sunderland’s historical treasure

Apprentice in hard hat looking at beams of the church roof

Holy Trinity Church: reviving Sunderland’s historical treasure

Over £130,000 of our funding has helped to transform one of the most significant buildings in Sunderland’s history into a venue for culture, heritage and learning.
Grade I listed Holy Trinity is an early Georgian architectural treasure, located in one of the most economically disadvantaged areas of England, which also ranks in the top 3% of the most deprived neighbourhoods for educational attainment. Holy Trinity has been structurally unsafe and partly closed since 2014. Now cared for by the Churches Conservation Trust, it has undergone a huge regeneration project.
Launched in April 2022, the new cultural venue - named Seventeen Nineteen - is a place for visitors to discover Sunderland’s hidden stories and celebrate its living history. Children and families can explore the building’s heritage through a range of workshops and events; and the community can enjoy live music, plays and performances in this beautiful setting.
It has been a long road to get to this point, with the building needing major structural work to bring it back to life. The ground was broken in 2019, and since then the build has faced many challenges including delays due to Covid-19.
However, the result is astonishing, and the project has generated many opportunities for the community. With our funding support, three local people were trained as apprentices on the restoration project, learning traditional building skills. Two of the heritage trainees have gone on to secure permanent roles within their trade, and for one trainee in particular it has been truly life changing. 
Tyler said: “This apprentice position has given me so much, I’ve learnt from everyone on site, I’ve been able to learn to drive and buy a car and support my family, and now I’ve got a future. I would never have known about stonemasonry but now I really love it.”
Funding from the Trust has also supported the wider Craft Skills programme at Seventeen Nineteen, which has given young people, local residents and virtual audiences the chance to see behind the scenes, trying their hand at traditional crafts and developing skills and careers in heritage construction. To date, hundreds of people have been involved, connecting with each other and the craftspeople of the building.
Seventeen Nineteen has already proved to be an important cultural asset for the community, hosting an array of events and workshops. It also remains a consecrated space and it will host around six services a year. 
To find out more about the building and what it has to offer, visit https://www.visitchurches.org.uk/1719/
Outside of the Holy Trinity Sunderland church building
Header image credit: MVPhotography
Footer image credit: Andy Marshall
Children wearing life jackets sitting on a boat

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.