Families flocking to Wakefield Cathedral

Wakefield Cathedral is attracting record numbers of families thanks to a new community outreach post funded by Allchurches Trust.

Community Outreach Officer, Gillian Bunn, joined the cathedral team last year and was given a mission to better engage with the community at large – but especially with younger families.

And in February 2018 - exactly one year into her three-year post – visitor numbers rose to an incredible 560 for the Music Makers workshop during half term week, and Rhubarb Rhubarb, which complemented the city’s Rhubarb Festival. Many of the participants had never visited the cathedral before.

Gillian organises free family fun arts and crafts workshops to coincide with all the major festivals and school holidays. These free drop-in sessions explore a range of themes through discovery, arts and crafts.

During the summer holidays, there were three different workshops encouraging families to get creative. These saw the children making boats, plants and animals as they explored the themes of light, water, and creation. Most of the workshops also include a discovery trail through the cathedral.

Last September, Wakefield Cathedral was named in the top 10 of inspirational places to visit during Heritage Open Days for its family friendly event themed around Extraordinary Women.

Over the last year, Gillian has organised 138 events which have been attended by 3,782 people of all ages – from babies through to those in their eighties. On average, the workshops attract around 300 people per month.

Gillian said: “I love my job, I think my favourite part is being able to share such a wonderful place with everyone who comes in to the cathedral – regardless of their faith, their age, their background or their culture.

"And I never cease to be surprised by the things that some of the children notice in the cathedral – little things that they see as special. It helps me to look at the cathedral with fresh eyes every time.”

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