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QEST: funding to support Britain’s cultural heritage

stained glass scholar working on new piece

QEST: funding to support Britain’s cultural heritage

In 2018, Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) was selected as a partner to benefit from Benefact Trust’s Heritage Grants Programme. 11 scholars and apprentices have received funding support from the £114,000 awarded to QEST– the final recipient being Nicola Shreeve, a scholar training in the conservation and restoration of polychrome sculptures and surfaces.
Nicola has almost 20 years’ experience as a furniture and sculpture restorer, and recently returned to formal education to advance her skills in sculpture and monument conservation, with a specialism in polychrome painted sculpture – originally associated with Ancient Greece and Rome, and describes all manners of pigmented decoration, gilding, and the application of varied colour to a three-dimensional surface.
After completing a three-year Bachelor’s degree in specialist conservation skills, Nicola is now studying a Master’s degree in Conservation at London School of Art; the QEST Scholarship will help fund the second half of her degree. 
After completing the QEST Scholarship, Nicola will continue to develop her skills, and expand her specialist knowledge by working with other conservators within the heritage and ecclesiastical sectors. She wants to work with Church Fabric Advisory Committees and Diocesan Advisory Committees to promote the conservation of polychrome surfaces and other monuments and decorative surfaces. As she becomes a fully-qualified, highly-skilled conservator, she also hopes to train others in this unique and intricate skill.
Paul Playford, who heads up Benefact Trust’s heritage programmes, said: “It has been a pleasure to support 11 skilled craftspeople through QEST’s scholarships and apprenticeships. Over the course of our funding, we have seen apprentices blossom into masters of their craft, and we have had the unique opportunity to help secure the future of some of the most at-risk skills. From instrument makers, to clay sculptors and stained glass artists – it has been amazing to support such a variety of talents.”
Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust was founded in 1990 to celebrate the 90th Birthday of HM Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother. The Trust is dedicated to supporting Britain’s cultural heritage, by supporting the education and training of talented and aspiring craftspeople. QEST has awarded £5m to over 600 individuals working across the UK in different craft disciplines. Nicola joins nine other talented craftspeople to benefit from Benefact Trust’s contribution:
• Kate Rochester – a scholar training in the art of fine bookbinding.
• Alistair Lewis – an apprentice learning how to build and restore traditional clocks.
• Attilio Medda – a scholar refining his skills in calligraphy.
• Marlene Lagnado – an apprentice stonemason.
• Grace Ayson – a scholar training in stained glass windows.
• Agniezska Nalazek – a scholar perfecting her skills as a traditional musical instrument maker.
• Matt Jacques - an architectural leather-worker who trained as an apprentice and now has a permanent role at Bill Amberg Studio.
• Elaine Wilson – completed an apprenticeship as a tapestry weaver at Dovecot Studios.
• Katalina Caliendo – training as a clay sculptor.
• Alison Wooten – learning the art of iconography painting.
We’ve now evolved our Heritage Grants Programme by launching the Heritage Skills for Christian Buildings Grants Programme, which is open to applications and will focus on supporting craft skills which can be used on Christian heritage buildings. 
Polychrome sculpture restored by Nicola Shreeve

*Polychrome Sculpture restored by Nicola Shreeve


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Benefact Group's work

As a Trust, our ability to support and fund so many worthwhile causes, is made possible by the hard work of the award-winning specialist financial businesses that make up Benefact Group – which gives all its available profits to the Trust, sustaining our giving. As a part of the Benefact Group each business, whether it be in specialist insurance, investment management, broking or advisory shares the Trust’s ethos of giving back.