Preserving heritage skills for future generations

14 February 2020

Specialist heritage insurer, Ecclesiastical, has donated £50,000 to help support eight students to take part in The Prince’s Foundation’s new Building Arts Programme.

Art class with teacher and student

The nine-month training programme will be delivered at Dumfries House and students will have the opportunity to learn new skills first-hand from master craftspeople.

The cohort of students come from a range of disciplines including architecture, building crafts, decorative and applied arts.

The Prince’s Foundation, in partnership with Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST), established the course to help preserve valuable skills, which are gradually being lost as the average age of workers in the heritage sector approaches retirement age.

The donation is the latest investment in traditional skills by Ecclesiastical, which supports a number of projects across the UK aimed at preserving the UK’s irreplaceable heritage for future generations. In 2018, Ecclesiastical donated £225,000 to The Prince’s Foundation over three years to enable 36 students to take part in the charity’s Building Craft Programme.

Faith Kitchen, Heritage Director at Ecclesiastical, said: “As the leading insurer of Grade I Listed buildings in the UK, from castles and contemporary heritage and homes to cathedrals and churches, the protection of skills is hugely important to us. We’re involved in a range of projects aimed at preserving the UK’s magnificent historic places and paving the way for the creation of our future heritage. We’re delighted to be supporting The Prince’s Foundation’s new Building Arts Programme which will help to nurture much needed traditional crafts skills for future generations.”

Michael Goodger, Built Environment Education Manager for The Prince’s Foundation at Dumfries House, said: “Students from a broad range of discipline areas will learn together, exploring both the interdisciplinary nature of architecture, the decorative arts and traditional craft, and the role that these practices can continue to play in shaping the world around us.

“We hope to inspire a future generation of designers, artists, and makers to create a built environment which draws on a vast array of different skills, and celebrates the physical, temporal and even symbolic connections which can be realised through our buildings and places.”

Deborah Pocock, CEO of QEST, said: “With nearly 30 years’ experience of supporting excellence in British craftsmanship, QEST is delighted, once again, to be collaborating, with The Prince’s Foundation on this new and exciting programme.  We will draw on our wide network of master craftspeople to ensure the skills that they have learnt are passed onto the next generation. This course presents a wonderful opportunity for students to learn from each other, across a broad range of craft disciplines.”

Ecclesiastical is a proud supporter of heritage skills. The insurer sponsors the sustainable heritage master’s degree at University College London and the Cathedral Workshop Fellowship (CWF) based in Gloucester which provides a degree level qualification in stonemasonry.

Last year, Ecclesiastical launched its second Impact Report to celebrate some of the many good causes it has helped.