February 2013

The Greenwich Foundation, the charity set up in 1997 to run the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, has been awarded a £1m grant from the Catalyst Endowment programme. Funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Arts Council England, the Catalyst Endowment programme aims to build the capacity and skills of heritage organisations and to encourage more private giving to culture.

Within the next 4 years, the Greenwich Foundation will need to match the £1m grant with a further £1m raised from other sources thus creating a £2m endowment. This sum will be invested to generate income for the future preservation and maintenance of the two most important and iconic buildings within the ORNC: the Painted Hall and the Chapel of St Peter and St Paul.

“I’m delighted that the Foundation has been given this opportunity to help create a stable, long-term financial base,” says Brendan McCarthy CEO of the Greenwich Foundation. “As a charity we are dependent on the generosity of a wide range of donors and supporters. With an additional £2m capital behind us we will have a much better ability to deal with the vital maintenance and conservation works needed year-on-year.”

“The matched funding challenge will be just that!  However I’m confident we can rise to the challenge of meeting it over the 4-year period that we have to achieve our target.  We will need all the generous support, large and small, of our existing donors, as well as other individuals, trusts and corporations who care about the future of this outstanding place.”

The ORNC will introduce a “50p campaign” inviting all visitors to donate at least 50p to help meet the Foundation meet its Catalyst Endowment target and ensure that Sir Christopher Wren’s twin domed riverside masterpiece continues to be available for future generations to enjoy.

The funds raised from the endowment investment will be used, on the one hand, to underpin the vital on-going maintenance and cyclic renewal of the fabric of the Painted Hall and the Chapel, and, on the other hand, to maintain and improve the way people engage with our heritage.

Ends        February 2013

Notes for Editors
• The Greenwich Foundation took over the management of the estate on the departure of the Royal Navy in 1997 with the aim ‘to preserve the exceptional architecture, interiors and grounds of the ORNC as a legacy for future generations, and to provide access, inspiration and enjoyment to a wide and diverse audience’. Since then, the principal buildings have been refurbished, the grounds have been re-landscaped, suitable tenants for the buildings have been found and a new visitor centre, Discover Greenwich, has been opened to critical acclaim.
• Built between 1696 and 1751, the Painted Hall and the Chapel are part of the King William and Queen Mary Quarters, grade I listed buildings located at the heart of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site.
• Often described as "the finest dining hall in Europe", the Painted Hall is one of the country’s most important interiors, comparable to that of the main hall in the Banqueting House. Painted between 1708 and 1727, it is a masterpiece of baroque interior decoration, and the place where the body of Admiral Lord Nelson lay in state in 1806. Yet it was built for some of the most impoverished people in the land – old or injured naval pensioners.
• The Chapel of St Peter and St Paul, where Greenwich Pensioners worshipped daily, was completed in 1751. Originally it had a plainer interior, with a flat ceiling and an apse at the east end. It was gutted by a disastrous fire in 1779, and re-designed by James 'Athenian' Stuart in the highly decorative Greek revival style. The imposing altarpiece is by American artist Benjamin West.

Issued by New Century PR. 
For further information, images and interviews contact:  Lesley Booth
0779 941 4474    lesley@newcenturypr.com

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