FACED with a £1m plus yearly bill for its upkeep, Chester Cathedral is asking visitors to dig a little deeper into their pockets.
Administrators at the centuries old cathedral say the cash is needed to care for the landmark grade one listed building on a regular basis as well as to improve what it can offer to visitors.
“No funding is received from either central or local government for regular maintenance, so every penny must be raised by the cathedral’s own efforts,” they explain.
Following similar decisions by bodies ranging from other cathedrals to the National Trust, the cathedral is now inviting its visitors to add a small extra donation to the standard admission charge.
This enables its finances to qualify for the Gift Aid scheme.
“Many charities benefit from this scheme which increases the value of donations by allowing the charity to reclaim basic rate tax on gifts,” says the cathedral.
“It will still be possible to enter the cathedral at the standard admission rate, but by adding just 10% extra as a donation, the cathedral could benefit by a considerable amount each year which will help to preserve the building for the next thousand years.”
Andrew Backhouse, the cathedral’s director of hospitality and welcome, added: “People have been asking to pay by Gift Aid for a while and I’m delighted we are now able to accept their contributions.”
Previously it has not been possible for the historic building to take part in the scheme but the installation of new tills now allows the admissions team to quickly and easily handle Gift Aid donations.