CEO blog: Church Tourism week is back!
Our annual celebration of church heritage, Church Tourism Week (CTW), is now in its third year and is proving to be bigger and better than ever! Over 60 nationwide events are lined up, from craft skills and lectures on medieval wall paintings to fun and creative family activities, there is something for everyone.
Come on in, we’ve got so much to show you…
I’m aware that many people, on visiting a church, will pop their head around the door and say ‘yep, that’s a church’ and then pop back out again. This is such a shame as they are missing out on a fascinating visit.
Churches are often the oldest and grandest buildings in our communities, but more than that they tell the stories of those communities, the people that lived within them and the last thousand years of our country’s history in a way no other buildings can. We hope that CTW and its associated events will bring a new audience to the UK’s historic churches.
Every day is a holiday
But why have a week dedicated to visiting churches at all? For anyone who has looked online recently, you’ll see that there is now something for nearly every week / day of the year. Some are light-hearted like ‘National Dress up Your Pet Day’ or my personal favourite, ‘Talk like a Pirate Day’ whilst others are more serious. Many UK charities have created a dedicated day or week to encourage fundraising and raise awareness of their cause. Some of these have even escalated into more ongoing, national campaigns.
In three short years, CTW has proved to be a very successful campaign, with a relatively small budget. This is in part due to the digital element of the campaign which has allowed us to reach out to a huge audience.
The digital element of the campaign came into its own with the use of a ‘Thunderclap’ - a way of synchronising and sharing a single message on social media, flash-mob style, with supporters signing up together.
We employed the use of a Thunderclap for the first time last year and it provided a real boost to the campaign, which had a social reach of 1.5 million people.
Our wonderful partners are thunderous too and it’s great to see so many of our fellow heritage and conservation charities embracing CTW. Partners such as the Scottish Redundant Churches Trust, Salisbury Cathedral, Friends of Friendless Churches and Caring for God’s Acre are holding their own CTW events.
This year’s celebrations kick off today and continue until 29th July. There are events in every corner of the UK, from music concerts and theatre to family clubbing sessions, heritage trails, hands-on craft and conservation activities, tower climbs and art exhibitions.
As Champing™ continues to go from strength to strength, it too will be taking part in CTW with a special offer of ‘Kids Champ for £1.’ Champing™ is another great way of opening up our churches to a new audience and showing what creative and flexible spaces they can be!
Find out more at www.visitchurches.org.uk/ChurchTourismWeek
So what are you waiting for – it’s worth more than just popping your head round the door, don’t you think?