Young campers restore UK Cathedrals

 Group at Southwark Cathedral

Group at Southwark Cathedral

This summer young people will be touring UK’s cathedrals, chapels and churches in a bid to protect and restore UK faith buildings, as part of CSV’s Cathedral Camps volunteering summer programme.

Cathedral Camps, which are run by UK volunteering charity CSV, will see young people getting stuck in all areas of church and cathedral life in painting walls, polishing spires, ringing bells, sweeping the grounds, surveying tombstones and cleaning graveyards. ‘Campers’, all aged between 16 – 25 years old, will get the chance to see the hidden dark corners of the nation’s most iconic religious buildings across the UK.

It is the ideal opportunity for any young person who has a personal or career interest in heritage conservation; is doing a Duke of Edinburgh award or just likes having fun and getting to know people from all over the world!

Cathedral and historic church enthusiast and TV presenter, Loyd Grossman, supports CSV Cathedral Camps. He said: “As the Chairman of The Churches Conservation Trust, a partner of Cathedral Camps, I know first hand the importance of protecting our historic religious buildings. Small changes, such as lime-washing church walls, recording ancient tombstones or archiving precious paintings can make a huge difference. CSV Cathedral Camps is a wonderful opportunity for young people to have a stake in the future of heritage buildings.”

Venue highlights for 2012

Islington Union Chapel is the perfect camp for young people interested in comedy, music and amateur dramatics as this Grade I listed building serves a multi-purpose of worship and popular culture. Campers will be painting, polishing and cleaning the grounds.

Winchester Cathedral offers a wealth of beauty and stunning architecture. Set in idyllic South East England, Winchester is packed with historic buildings, museums and tranquil green spaces. This is the perfect opportunity for young people to explore Winchester’s hidden treasures including a fortified medieval gateway, 150 years of prisoners’ graffiti and King Arthur’s Round Table.

Bangor Cathedral is situated in a region of outstanding natural beauty where the Snowdonia Mountains reach the sea. Campers will get a chance to explore the UK’s smallest city, which boasts of its own Victorian Pier and longest High Street in Wales; perfect for shopping enthusiasts.

Ripon Cathedral is described as the ‘perfect’ Cathedral due to its epic proportions and is set in the Yorkshire countryside. Dominating the Ripon skyline, this amazing building with its medieval woodcarving which decorates the choir stalls inspired the likes of author Lewis Carroll.

St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh is the largest ecclesiastical building in Scotland, which stands in the heart of the busy West End but maintains an aura of stillness and peace. It was built in the 19th Century and designed in a Gothic style.

Somerset churches with CCT is a chance to work in four historic rural churches in idyllic countryside.

Experts will be on hand as campers discover the wonders of these hidden gems and help with crucial conservation tasks. Literary skills will be needed too as participants will develop a much-needed ‘walkround’ guide at one church, in a single day.

CSV Cathedral Camps leader, Hannah Foxon said: “Cathedral Camps is a fantastic chance to help preserve and maintain some of this country’s finest architecture whilst meeting new people and learning new skills. Most volunteers come away with the feeling of great pride, success and achievement. This year is my fourth year and fifth camp as a leader for CSV Cathedral Camps, and each camp I have attended has been totally different. I especially enjoy the varied opportunities the camps provide.”

Wendy Lee, CSV’s project manager for Cathedral Camps, said: “CSV Cathedral Camps is a great opportunity for young people, aged 16-25 to learn new skills, whilst protecting historic places of faith. The charity celebrated its 30th anniversary last year, which is a testament to its success and the young volunteers who show great enthusiasm and commitment. Without the time and energy of volunteers, these jobs will not get done and spectacular buildings may be at risk.”

Cathedral Camps Summer programme 2012

4 July – 11 July
St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh

11 July – 18 July
Wells Cathedral

11 July – 18 July
Churches Conservation Trust, Somerset

18 July – 25 July
Holy Trinity, Kendal Parish Church

25 July – 1 August
St Mark's Church, London

25 July – 1 August
Islington Union Chapel, London

1 August – 8 August
Ripon Cathedral

1 August – 8 August
Truro Cathedral

1 August – 8 August
Canterbury Cathedral

1 August – 8 August
Winchester Cathedral

8 August – 15 August
Chester Cathedral

15 August – 22 August
Tewkesbury Abbey

15 August – 22 August
Bangor Cathedral

15 August – 22 August
Wimborne Minster

22 August – 29 August
Southwell Minster

Each camp runs from Wednesday to Wednesday for one week with Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday free for relaxation or exploring the local area. Activities are arranged for the evenings to see the sights and have some fun with fellow campers.

Campers make a contribution of £195 towards accommodation, food, instruction and supervision.

For further information and booking details about Cathedral Camps visit: or call 0121 643 8080

Tags: Cathedral Campers, CSV

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