Peterborough Cathedral’s young historians

03 SEP 2020

An annual grant from Allchurches Trust will help Peterborough Cathedral to re-engage with young people and encourage them to ‘virtually’ explore the wonders of its rich heritage

Peterborough Cathedral is an awe inspiring example of Norman architecture, founded as a monastic community in 654 AD. It has become one of the most significant medieval abbeys in the country and is the burial place of two queens – including Katharine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s first wife!
The cathedral’s vision is shaped around four key areas: worship, hospitality, service and learning – the last of which has been a key focus over the past few years, deepening the community’s understanding of God and engaging with the Diocesan schools.
The Diocese covers a wide area and the cathedral is positioned at one end of it, so access can be a real challenge for the more remote schools. So, in 2019, an annual grant from Allchurches Trust helped Peterborough Cathedral to reach out to their schools and improve the resources they offer.
Exciting activities were put in place, so that the cathedral could easily interact with children and pique their interest, including traditional songs and stories for the younger visitors and arts, crafts and exploration, teaching the older children about days gone by. 
A group of children in Peterborough Cathedral
However, the harsh realities of COVID forced the cathedral to re-think how they connect with schools and the wider community. The pandemic curtailed the hard work that had been put in to building great relationships and the cathedral felt they were back to square one.
This year’s grant from Allchurches, will help Peterborough Cathedral to get back to where they were and better! Over lockdown they had a 3D scan of the cathedral which has allowed them to start re-imagining their physical and online resources so that they are more interactive and engaging. 
Their aspiration for the new work will be underpinned by fantastic digital imagery and the results should be more impactful and long-lasting. The cathedral also wants to focus on inclusivity, ensuring they are reaching all children, from different cultures, faiths, backgrounds and abilities.
Alexandra Carton, Head of Learning and Engagement at Peterborough Cathedral, said: “We are developing virtual learning opportunities for learners of all ages. Using our comprehensive 3D scan of the building and its treasures, visitors and school groups will be able to immerse themselves in the building’s story at home or school.  
“At a time when our ability to access to the country’s rich cultural heritage is challenging, it is more important than ever to provide opportunities for virtual visits. We hope this project will enable us to open up the cathedral in a way that will excite, engage and inspire visitors.”

Chloe Ewen, Grants Officer for Allchurches Trust, added: “It is fantastic to see that growing relationships with local schools is a major priority for Peterborough Cathedral. The children will benefit from learning about the rich history of the building as well as the religious values. We’re proud to support their hard work which is creating an exciting experience for young people whether they visit physically or explore from their classrooms.”
A group of children around the font in Peterborough Cathedral
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