TWO historic places of worship in Worcester have are being supported by nearly £3 million of lottery funding.

Worcester Cathedral and St Swithun’s Church have both received a combined £2.8 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to help more people to explore history.

More than £1 million has been earmarked for a project to open up the 12th century undercroft at Worcester Cathedral, for the first time.

A former monastic cellar, the space will be transformed into a unique new learning centre with teaching rooms, storage and administration space, reception area, and a lift.

The three-year project aims to provide a permanent venue for the Cathedral’s award-winning education programme.

It would also enable conservation and research on the internationally significant ‘Christ in Majesty’ 13th-century stone carving.

An initial development funding of £168,000 has been awarded with a full grant of just over £1m for a later date.

The Very Reverend Dr Peter Atkinson, Dean of Worcester Cathedral, said: “We are delighted to receive this initial support and send our warmest thanks to lottery players and everyone else involved."

Meanwhile St Swithun's Church has received a £1.64m grant for a project to transform the church into a sensory space and cultural venue.

The Grade I listed church will install ground-breaking new interpretation, which will creatively use sound and art to engage, enthuse and inspire a greater connection to heritage and history.

Sound and Art @ St Swithun’s will enable the Georgian architecture to be repaired and conserved, transforming the building into a cutting edge space.

Sarah Robinson, acting chief executive and director of conservation at CCT, said: “I am delighted that HLF has supported this project, thanks to lottery players."

"St Swithun’s epitomises Georgian splendour, but the fabric and future of this building have been at risk for some time.

"This grant, coupled with generous matching donations collected during our annual appeal, will enable us to save St Swithun’s and create a vibrant, sustainable future for the building and the community.”

Vanessa Harbar, head of HLF West Midlands, said: "Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, these two transformational projects will work to create exciting new spaces and cement the buildings’ places in the city’s significant cultural offer.”