A SOMERSET cathedral has been given more than £47,000 thanks to The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Wells Cathedral is planning to use the funding to start re-open safely.

The Very Reverend Dr John Davies, Deane of Wells, said: “Thanks to the National Lottery and its players we can now bring more of our staff back from furlough, fund equipment needed to safely further open up the Cathedral under the ‘new normal’ and work to re-deploy our army of dedicated volunteers to support visitors.

“All this is vital to re-start income generation and ensure we can safeguard our unique heritage.

"We’re grateful that The National Lottery Heritage Fund is supporting us at this crucial time – it’s a lifeline to us and others who are passionate about sustaining heritage for the benefit of all.”

After being closed for 12 weeks during lockdown, a few staff have worked since then to offer socially distanced visits.

An estimated 118,000 people have been unable to visit and so the financial impact of Covid-19 has badly affected the cathedral.

They have applied for several grants and introduced spending cuts. As well as introduced the Bounce Back Appeal, launched in June which has raised more than £70,000 in donations.

Donate to the Bounce Back Appeal here.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund made £50million available to provide emergency funding to those most need in the heritage sector.

Ros Kerslake, chief executive, said: “Heritage has an essential role to play in making communities better places to live, supporting economic regeneration and benefiting our personal wellbeing. All of these things are going to be even more important as we emerge from this current crisis.

“Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players we are pleased to be able to lend our support to organisations such as Wells Cathedral during this uncertain time.”

The UK-wide fund aimed to address both immediate emergency actions and help organisations to start thinking about recovery.