A new Cathedral Centre for worship, learning and hospitality
Our diocesan Cathedral is home to a vibrant, committed and active Catholic community. 1,000 people attend Mass on a weekly basis and there has been a steady increase in attendance since 2009. The Cathedral parish covers rural areas of Northamptonshire, urban and suburban areas. Census data indicates that the neighbourhood immediately to the north of the Cathedral is comparatively affluent, while the neighbourhood just to the south faces serious social and economic challenges.
Over the years the limitations which prevent our Cathedral from fulfilling its role as Mother Church of our Diocese and in serving the needs of the Diocese and local community have become more apparent. There is nowhere to host gatherings or offer hospitality to visitors and worshippers. Following large services, such as the Chrism Mass, confirmations and the ordination of Fr Brendan Seery in February, refreshments have to be served in the sacristy, with people spilling out into the nave. Community and church groups have to meet in the sacristy or the “Upper Room” which is small, inaccessible to those with limited mobility and restricted to groups of no more than fifteen. The beautiful gardens and grounds remain a hidden secret.
A vision for the parish, Diocese and community
Over the last three years a project group led by Bishop Peter Doyle has developed plans to meet these pressing needs through the construction of a new purpose-built Cathedral Centre.
“The Cathedral is the Mother Church of the Diocese and a significant focus of prayer and service for the local parish, the parishes of the Diocese and for the wider community within Northampton. It must be a special and valued place where all are welcome and faith can grow. Our vision is to provide a place of worship, learning and hospitality for groups from around the Diocese, the parish and local community.” Bishop Peter Doyle
The Centre will be built behind Cathedral House, adjoining the current lower car park and Cathedral gardens. The construction will mainly comprise glass and timber, providing a tranquil view out to the Cathedral garden where visitors can spend time chatting with friends or spend time alone in quiet contemplation.
The current garages will be transformed into a distinctive entrance to the Centre. The spaces inside will be flexible and adaptable to accommodate a wide variety of meeting and event formats, such as conferences, exhibitions and concerts.
The Centre will be fully accessible to wheelchair users and those with limited mobility, with a lift to all levels. A café will welcome visitors and offer affordable refreshments to local people, visiting groups and others using the Centre. Modern, large and well-equipped kitchens will enable the function rooms to cater for the full range of events. The grounds will be landscaped to create beautiful gardens, including a children’s garden and a gathering place for prayer and reflection, offering an oasis of calm and refuge from our otherwise frantic world.
A carefully researched business plan explains how the Centre will be used; the range of activities it will accommodate, their costs and the income they will generate. It outlines how the centre will meet its operational and maintenance costs and become financially stable within a specific timeframe. Planning consent and Listed Building approval were granted by the local authority in January 2016. The estimated cost of the building, including professional fees, VAT and fitting out, is £3.8m, of which over £2.29m has already been raised through the sale of land within the Cathedral Parish, advance gifts and generous support from the Cathedral Community.
Examples of the benefits the new Centre will bring to the Diocese include;
- A venue for diocesan events such as days of recollection, catechetical programmes, retreats, musicians’ days, lay formation and training courses, educational and celebratory events for young people
- Hospitality provided within the Cathedral grounds following major diocesan events
- Fully equipped meeting spaces of different sizes; flexible multi-space rooms available to parishes and groups with a common interest drawn from across the Diocese
Can you help make the Centre a reality?
Four year pledge
Support can be given via a pledge over four years (made via a Pledge form). This is the most effective way to lend support to the Campaign because it enables individuals to give by way of a relatively modest monthly contribution. Please contact the Campaign Office for a Pledge form which includes a Gift Aid declaration if applicable.
Lump sum gift
For those able to make a one off lump sum payment, please contact the Campaign Office for a Single Gift form which includes a Gift Aid declaration if applicable.
Donations by Trusts and Foundations
For Trust and Foundations a specific and comprehensive application pack will be provided where the criteria for funding is met by the proposed Cathedral Centre. Further information is available from the Campaign Office.
Donations by companies
Companies can reclaim Corporation Tax relief on all donations to charities, including pledged donations. Companies wishing to make gifts via a Company Pledge should contact the Campaign Office for a Company Pledge form.
Address and contribution details
Cheques should be made payable to: Northampton Cathedral Development Campaign and sent to:
Northampton Cathedral Development Campaign, c/o Bishop’s House, Marriott Street, Northampton NN2 6AW.
If you would like to get in touch, Angela Madge, the Campaign Administrator, will be happy to hear from you. Angela can be contacted on 01604 712065 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org