CGISS Project Engagement Day – 27 June 2017

Posted on: July 10th, 2017

We were delighted to publicly launch our Common Ground in Sacred Space (CGISS) Project on Tuesday afternoon 27 June at Newcastle Cathedral. Our very first CGISS Engagement Day heralded the start of the project and enabled us to reach out to a wide-ranging audience including staff, Chapter, congregation, the Diocese, Cathedral support groups, local partners, and representatives from the City’s arts, culture, heritage, tourism, tertiary education, and business sectors in attendance.

The afternoon began with an introduction and overview of the event by Sara Hilton, Project Consultant and formerly Head of HLF in the North West. Followed by the Very Revd Christopher Dalliston, Dean of Newcastle who spoke about our rich heritage and the city’s extraordinary historical stories.

We were delighted to welcome Niall Hammond from HLF North East Committee who explained the importance of our successful bid and the impact of investment for the local and wider region. David Silk, Learning Officer at Newcastle Castle also gave great insight into the Castle’s experiences, successes, and achievements since receiving their own Lottery Funding a few years ago.

Next, we had the opportunity to hear from Adrian Waddell, Director of Operations at NE1 – the business improvement company – and Jennifer Hillyard from the Mining Institute who both spoke of the positive impact our development project will have on the wider locale, including the Bigg Market, Mining Institute, and other areas of ‘Old Newcastle’.

Last but not least, we heard from Interim CGISS Project Manager, Canon John Sadler, who spoke enthusiastically about realising Our Vision to bring 900 years of history into the 21st century by reviving the medieval role of our unique building as a distinct space for worship, events and activities. He also detailed the proposed timetable for the Project. He spoke about how the transformed Cathedral will be a dynamic hub for community engagement as well as a special place of prayer and spiritual discovery, and was able to explain in more detail:

  • how the HLF grant award will bring significant investment to the Cathedral;
  • how people can get involved with the project and seek expressions of interest;
  • some of the fascinating stories of the Cathedral that will be revealed through the project.

Canon John emphasised that “this is not just a capital project – it is more about changing lives than bricks and mortar!”

Following Canon John’s presentation, participants were given the opportunity to share their hopes, fears, and dreams for the project during round table discussions. Discussion questions to consider included:

  • What excites you about this project?
  • What role can you imagine the Cathedral playing in the city?
  • What other things can the Cathedral be and do to make a real difference in people’s lives?
  • What can you offer? What can we offer?

The general consensus was that this is the beginning of a long journey of change – there will be challenges along the way, but it will lead to a transformed Cathedral, meeting the needs of its congregation, wider users, and partners. Each table raised very valid points and insightful feedback, all of which was noted by Cathedral facilitators.

The event was rounded off with a glass of fizz and nibbles and a beautiful choral celebration by the Newcastle Cathedral Choir.

If you have any questions about our Common Ground in Sacred Space project, would like to be kept up to date with project milestones, or find out about ways in which you can support the project, please email: or telephone: 0191 232 1939.