St Anne’s Cathedral has an interface with various aspects of community life. Most immediately this is with and through the organisation, businesses and institutions of the Cathedral Quarter. This area of Belfast, dominated by the physical presence of St Anne’s Cathedral, Ulster University and the Metropolitan Arts Centre and St Anne’s Square, promotes integration, creativity and social awareness with a hub of lively hospitality venues and cutting-edge arts and cultural galleries and performance spaces. The cathedral plays an active part in this energising environment, both sharing its space with others and contributing to the development of this welcoming and open safe place for families and individuals alike.
The cathedral takes its responsibility for the management of large commemorative and celebratory events and services very seriously, seeing its role as a centre of Christian worship with the facilities to hold significant occasions for the whole community. Maintaining a choir drawn from across the political and religious divide is part of its role in reconciliation and encouraging the building of sustainable shared future for Northern Ireland.
Through the Cathedral Sit-out for Charity each Christmas the Dean and Chapter with the support of staff and volunteers raises in the region of £200,000 a year for the use primarily of local community-based charities. This engagement with society in Belfast and beyond, known affectionately as the Black Santa collection has been running since 1976
The music department of St Anne’s Cathedral maintains an out-reach project in primary schools in north Belfast, as the expertise of the cathedral’s musicians is shared with staff and pupils to encourage children to enhance their social skills and confidence as well as the more direct objects of the improving of singing ability and literacy that come naturally with these classes.