New visitor figures show 3% increase since last year
Yesterday the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) announced the latest visitor figures on their website showing record numbers of engagement since they began a survey with Taking Part in 2005/06.
In line with this CCT are pleased to announce that in the past year visitor numbers have increased from 1,840,000 to 1,898,012 which is a 3% rise from last year's figure.
A further increase in visitors this year builds on long term trends boosted by a number of initiatives to inform and encourage people visiting churches.
York Holy Trinity, now managed fully by volunteer teams, welcomed a record 63,000 visitors and was awarded the Visit England ‘Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Standard’, making it the first parish church in England to achieve this mainstream national accreditation for its visitor welcome and experience. Shrewsbury St. Mary welcomed 56,000 visitors as did Keddleston All Saints, this site is now managed on our behalf by the National Trust.
A major investment in new signs over the past three years, is almost complete. This has seen the replacement of all 342 external wall plaques, which were wearing badly, with more durable stainless steel. New internal signs provide visitors with a much clearer explanation of CCT, its work and the need for public support. Most significantly, a rolling programme of improving directional signage with CCT fingerposts and ‘Brown Signs’ is well under way. Increases in visitor numbers and donations are one result of this investment.
Opening churches, at least during daylight hours, has a direct impact on visitor numbers and the Trust is rapidly increasing the number of sites where the public can gain access without recourse to a key holder. This work is completely reliant upon local volunteers, who open up the buildings and keep a watchful eye on them. In an increasing number of cases, churches can be left open for 24 hours, improving public access, increasing ‘eyes and ears’ surveillance, and reducing the likelihood of damage from attempts to force entry. In the West, for example, access was improved this year by leaving churches open at Princetown St Michael & All Angels and Maddington St Mary and through the installation of electronic door locks at Wilton St Mary and Portland St George.