Approaching our Phase 1 target
Selby Abbey’s 950th Anniversary Roof Appeal was launched in 2018 with the aim of raising £3 million to stop water seeping into the Abbey through failing lead on the Nave roof and eroded and damaged masonry, much of it original 12th Century. This is placing at risk some of the more recent fabric restoration and creeping damp is exacerbating an already serious salting issue.
To build momentum and to make fundraising more manageable, the Selby Abbey Trust decided to divide the roof project into two phases. The first phase, although appreciably the smaller of the two, is concentrating on the south side of the Abbey where the effect of the water seepage is worst.
The target for Phase 1 is £950,000.
By March 2020, our total of grants and pledges had reached £918,000 so we are closing in on our first target.
We have benefitted from many local/community fundraising initiatives; we have researched and approached national Charitable Trusts/Foundations as well as corporate and private donors; we have also staged a number of high profile musical events.
The stand-out occasion of last year was the Celebration Concert on 6th September marking the 950th Anniversary of the Abbey’s founding. The Prince of Wales gave his support by kindly writing the Foreword to the Commemorative Programme and by donating to the appeal.
We are cautiously optimistic that we will be fully funded for Phase 1 by May as planned and that the schedule associated with commencing a restoration project of this scale will be well advanced by mid-summer. We had planned to complete Phase 1 by December 2020 but the Corona Virus Pandemic will assuredly impact on these timings.
We have also begun considering the way forward for the appeal’s second phase focusing on the north side of the Abbey, the Nave roof and gutter system. The cost is estimated to be £2 million. We appreciate that this will be a huge undertaking which will require us to investigate seeking help. Now in partnership with Selby District Council, we are actively pursuing a new innovative strategic plan to create a heritage-led regeneration of the Town.
Our combined aim is to link a number of local historical assets into an enlarged Heritage Action Zone, with the Abbey at its hub. We have invited senior members of the District Council onto the Selby Abbey Trust to facilitate the planning of this exciting concept. We are hopeful that discussions with national non-governmental agencies including the National Lottery Heritage Fund can continue during the coming months. Any new initiative will still need a match-funding element!
Our fundraising for Phase 2 can therefore only begin once all the details of this community-based project have been finalized. Our judgement is that this phase of the Appeal is likely to take up to four years to complete but we are all absolutely determined to navigate a way forward.
I would like to thank everyone most sincerely on behalf of the Selby Abbey Trust for their generosity and support for Phase 1 of our Roof Appeal. We very much hope that we can continue to count on you for help. Restoring this ancient and nationally important building is essential for the Town’s exciting plans for regeneration and its future economic prosperity.
The Appeal Director
'By March 2020, our total of grants and pledges had reached £901,000 so we are closing in on our first target. '
Chairman of Trustees
The Rt Revd
Dr John Thomson,
Bishop of Selby
The Revd Canon
Vicar of Selby Abbey
Selby District Council
Selby District Council
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