A bumper number of children have dropped in for arts and craft sessions run at Wakefield Cathedral during the last 12 months.
Community Outreach Officer, Gillian Bunn, joined the cathedral team last year with one job: to better engage with the community at large – but especially with younger families.
And last month, one year into her three-year post, she saw her visitor numbers rise to 560 which included her Music Makers workshop during the half term, and Rhubarb Rhubarb to complement the city’s Rhubarb Festival. Many of the 560 participants had never visited the cathedral before.
Gillian, who is funded by AllChurches Trust, 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.
Over the last year, she 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.
Said Gillian: “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,” she added.
During the summer holidays there were three different workshops encouraging families to get creative and which saw them 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 ten of inspirational places to visit during Heritage Open Days for its family friendly event themed around Extraordinary Women - one of only three cathedrals and seven churches name-checked on the Explore Churches website by the National Churches Trust set up to promote churches and cathedrals.
Family fun Easter activities on Monday, April 15
10am to 12pm and 1pm to 3pm
Free Drop-In activities.
Children must be accompanied by a responsible adult