Durham Cathedral has launched a joint fundraising appeal with Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books in Newcastle, to share the joy of reading with school children from County Durham. 

The #InspiringImaginations appeal aims to fund class visits to a new exhibition based on the book, ‘The Lost Spells’. With a target of £4,000, to raise before the end of July, the appeal is a response to the serious impact that Covid-19 has made on the education of young people in local communities.

For centuries, Durham Cathedral has been a place of inspiration, firing the imagination of artists and authors. This joint appeal will support the cathedral’s ongoing education and outreach work by removing the financial barriers preventing local young people from experiencing the new exhibition called ‘Shifter of Shapes’ at Seven Stories. The exhibition is based around Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris’ book, ‘The Lost Spells’, which is a celebration of the natural world.

The fundraising target of £4,000 will facilitate visits for 100 school children to the exhibition at Seven Stories. The pupils will benefit from exclusive use of the gallery and learning space, and receive book tokens to spend in the Seven Stories shop, to nurture a love of reading at home. Proceeds from the appeal will also contribute to Durham Cathedral’s education and outreach programmes.

The Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, Dean of Durham, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges to children’s education. I am delighted the cathedral is working in partnership with Seven Stories in this way to share the joy of reading and its lifelong benefits. The appeal is a celebration of learning and storytelling, and will help improve the mental health and well being of young people from this area.”

Mairi Kidd, recently appointed Chief Executive Officer of Seven Stories, said: “We firmly believe in the power of books to conjure a sense of wonder and wellbeing among children and young people. Durham Cathedral is a place that always inspires and we are delighted that the Cathedral has chosen to work with us to help extend the life-long benefits of reading to children and young people from across County Durham, through the #InspiringImaginations fund. We hope to bring as many young people as we can to experience the wonderful Lost Spells book, in the Shifter of Shapes exhibition, and to be inspired and uplifted in this period of healing and regrowth.”

To donate to the #InspiringImaginations appeal, visit Durham Cathedral’s Inspiring Imaginations project page on localgiving