Government’s Culture Recovery Fund – Heritage Stimulus grant

We’re very pleased to share that we are due to receive a very generous grant from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

This money will cover 80% of the cost of major repairs to the roof and masonry of our Grade II* listed chapel. It’s a huge step towards our larger ambitions for our buildings on St Saviourgate.



Work is due to happen over this winter and spring, but worship and all room bookings will be unaffected. More details to follow soon.


Massive thanks to all who have worked with us to make this possible.

New collaboration with Central Hall Venues

Venue management organisation, Central Hall Venues (CHV) today announces the launch of its second UK site, St Saviourgate York. The news follows the successful launch of its first UK site, Nicolson Square Edinburgh, in March 2021.

CHV was established to support and manage UK venues based at Methodist public meeting places which share the same values of community, sustainability and well-being as its original venue, Central Hall Westminster. (CHW). As a nationally and internationally renowned conferencing and events centre for 20 years in the heart of London, Central Hall Westminster Ltd created CHV to replicate its own model by supporting and managing similar venues.

St Saviourgate York (SSY) is a conference and events venue situated in the historic city walls of York. Its Grade II* listed building, designed by architect James Simpson as a meeting and community space, dates back to 1840 when it was built to mark the centenary of Methodism. Conveniently positioned in central York next to The Shambles and with a stunning view of York Minster, the venue offers five flexible event spaces that can host events for up to 400 people. Its stunning Great Hall contains an ornate high ceiling and an impressive organ. A network of buildings connected to the Great Hall via a corridor lead to an oasis of a sunny and green courtyard in the heart of the venue.

Primary event spaces for up to 100 people each are the Fulford and Rawcliffe rooms. When the two rooms are combined – using a remarkable piece of Victorian engineering, a movable wall – the space can accommodate up to 220 people.

The venue’s versatile spaces can host all kinds of public and private occasions including musical concerts, performances and rehearsals, conferences and meetings, as well as seminars and training events. The building’s stunning 19th century architecture is also ideal for filming and TV locations.

Each room at SSY is filled with natural daylight and high ceilings with staff on hand to provide full guidance to event organisers. SSY works with a selection of caterers who can provide bespoke options, whatever the event.

Paul Southern, Managing Director of Central Hall Venues, comments: “Following the successful launch of our Scottish venue, Nicolson Square Edinburgh, we are absolutely delighted to be adding a second venue within the same year in York. SSY, which has the same community and sustainability values as our own, is the perfect addition to our expanding family of venues in the UK.”

“Our close ties with Methodism will ensure the venue will maintain its ethical principles and while all kinds of events will be held there, it still retains its original purpose as a place of worship and community in York,” he adds.

More information can be found on the new SSY website

Central welcomes new minister – Rev David Bidnell

During this morning’s Covenant Service we not only celebrated communion together for the first time since March 2020, but also bid our farewell to Rev Rory Dalgliesh. Not only that, but it was our first service with Rev David Bidnell, our new minister.

David Bidnell
David writes a little about himself:

“In coming to live and work in York and its surrounding area we have not moved too far – from Huddersfield and West Yorkshire. Previous to that we were in Ruislip, West London, where we went to live on our return from working overseas in Haiti. One of the delights of living in Haiti was learning the indigenous language, Haitian Creole, made a little easier by the fact that I had already spent time studying French (along with German) at Durham University. Being fascinated by languages and enjoying literature and drama of various kinds, I often find myself intrigued by the role of narrative, plot and character in the stories we read and in the stories which our ours to tell. Several years ago this led me into a PhD on the parables in Luke’s Gospel, looked at particularly from literary and cultural perspectives. I find running a helpful way to relax and have managed to complete a few marathons and half marathons from time to time, and music has always been significant for me, though now it ends to be more listening than playing or singing.”

Circuit welcome service at Central

This Sunday morning (5th September 2021) we’re very pleased to be hosting the welcome service for new staff at York Methodist Circuit, including our new Presbyter at Central, Rev David Bidnell.

Please note that in a change from our normal Sunday mornings, the service will begin at 10am.

We would appreciate it if you can let us know that you are planning to attend the welcome service, so we can manage numbers for refreshments and the service. Please email yorkcircuitoffice@gmail.com or call the Circuit office and leave a message. There will be some congregational singing during the service, and we would ask people to please wear masks if possible while singing, and indeed during the service as a whole.


We’ll be streaming the service on the circuit YouTube channel: http://youtube.com/channel/UCMZll3vyksFEonZ-EQbbhuQ/live


The service will also be available on Zoom at the normal link:


Central Methodist Church York has received £21,400 from second round of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund

  • We were among more than 2,700 recipients to benefit from the second round of awards from the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund 
  • This award will allow us to keep our building’s historic facilities open to the whole community, providing affordable space that brings different groups together and facilitates the work of people in all parts of society.
  • Nearly £400 million has been awarded to thousands of cultural organisations across the country including our church in the latest round of support from the Culture Recovery Fund, the Culture Secretary announced in April.

Over £800 million in grants and loans has already been awarded to support almost 3,800 cinemas, performance venues, museums, heritage sites and other cultural organisations dealing with the immediate challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

This brings the Government’s total investment across grants, capital and repayable finance from the Culture Recovery Fund so far to more than £1.2 billion across over 5,000 individual cultural and heritage organisations and sites.

The second round of awards will help organisations to look ahead to the spring and summer and plan for reopening and recovery. After months of closures and cancellations to contain the virus and save lives, this funding will be a much-needed helping hand for organisations transitioning back to normal in the months ahead. 

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said:

“Our record breaking Culture Recovery Fund has already helped thousands of culture and heritage organisations across the country survive the biggest crisis they’ve ever faced.

Now we’re staying by their side as they prepare to welcome the public back through their doors – helping our cultural gems plan for reopening and thrive in the better times ahead.”

Ros Kerslake, CEO of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

“Spring is definitely here, bringing not only sunshine but that sense of optimism and hope for the future. We are all looking forward to heritage places and other visitor attractions reopening and I am very pleased that we have been able to support DCMS in delivering this vital funding to ensure the UK’s heritage sector can rebuild and thrive, boosting local economies, creating jobs and supporting personal wellbeing.” 

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, said:

“The value of our heritage sites and the people who run them has been amply demonstrated, as they have provided an anchor for so many of us through the dark days of the last year. Vital grants from the Culture Recovery Fund have helped them survive and will now help them recover, as the places we all cherish start to reopen in the months ahead.”

The funding awarded today is from a £400 million pot which was held back last year to ensure the Culture Recovery Fund could continue to help organisations in need as the public health picture changed. The funding has been awarded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England as well as the British Film Institute and Arts Council England 

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund 

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future. www.heritagefund.org.uk.  Follow @HeritageFundUK on TwitterFacebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund   

About Historic England

We are Historic England, the public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate England’s spectacular historic environment, from beaches and battlefields to parks and pie shops. We protect, champion and save the places that define who we are and where we’ve come from as a nation. We care passionately about the stories they tell, the ideas they represent and the people who live, work and play among them. Working with communities and specialists we share our passion, knowledge and skills to inspire interest, care and conservation, so everyone can keep enjoying and looking after the history that surrounds us all.