I saw this mini golf course on BBC News last week, although I had forgotten where it was, so this was a nice surprise. It’s a wonderful way of engaging families and children with the cathedral, all funded by the Rochester Bridge Trust. The trust is well financed, primarily through ancient land holdings, so it’s able to look after not only the bridges under its guardianship, but also give grants and support the community.
One of the cathedral’s staff, who saw me looking excitedly at a medieval book elsewhere in the building, told me that the cathedral was thrilled with all of the publicity. And so it should be, there was a long queue of mostly families waiting to give the course a go.
Compare and contrast to Ely Cathedral where I’ve seen children not going in because their parents didn’t want to pay…. I’m not suggesting that Ely Cathedral should install a Greggs in its nave (although I wouldn’t oppose such a move), but it’s a shame they have to charge so much.
The golf course takes up the main part of the nave and the staff member mentioned to me that the seating had been taken out for a deep clean and so the space was easy to temporarily convert.
And, in addition to the BBC, apparently NBC were also in the cathedral, so this project has attracted international attention. I noted that a few people complained about this on the news, including someone who said it was “desperation”. This cathedral is one of the most welcoming I’ve been to, I didn’t sense a great deal of desperation here, but quite a lot of hope. How very lovely.