A first for MaintenanceBooker
Published: Tuesday, June 6, 2017
A Sheffield church has become the first in the country to benefit from MaintenanceBooker, an innovative maintenance service from the National Churches Trust.
The historic Grade II listed St Augustine's church in Endcliffe, Sheffield, is the first church in the UK to carry out vital maintenance work booked through the MaintenanceBooker website, which makes it easy for the people who look after historic churches to keep them in good condition.
On Monday 5 June, working at height on extension and jacking ladders, a team from Stone Technical Services Ltd, building and structure experts, cleaned the gutters and downpipes at the church. They also reported on the building's condition at high level.
St Augustine's church also received a £1,000 Preventative Maintenance Micro-Grant from the National Churches Trust, to help cover half the cost of this vital work. Our photo above shows priest in charge of St Augustine's Claire Dawson (right) and Janet Edmund with Stone Technical Services Contractors Steeplejack and General Foreman Paul Tinkler (left) and Rope access Technician Liam Baird take a look at the MaintainanceBooker.org website (Copyright Paul David Drabble)
Below, Azz Mohammed reports about the day for Sheffield Live.
Pam West, Churchwarden at St Augustine's church said:
"We have a very large Victorian church which is difficult to reach so we have not had our gutters cleaned for a long time."
"We are very grateful to MaintenanceBooker for allowing this job to go ahead."
Based on the principle that prevention is better than cure, MaintenanceBooker is a new website that provides an online 'one stop shop' where churches and chapels can book accredited contractors for services including gutter clearance, tree maintenance and inspecting lightning protection systems. It helps overburdened church wardens, volunteers and clergy to identify and book professional help to maintain their buildings, helping prevent the need for expensive repairs and saving them for the future.
Contractors are selected based on their experience working with churches and historic buildings; qualifications; and references from previous work.
MaintenanceBooker is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and run by the National Churches Trust and 2buy2. It is initially available in Yorkshire, but will be expanding into the rest of the country.
Dr Julie Banham, Secretary to the Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Diocese of Sheffield, said:
"Caring for large and complex listed church buildings is a difficult task which relies on the time and commitment of volunteers. Most damage to a church building is caused by leaking roofs, blocked gutters and drains."
"MaintenanceBooker offers a major service to churches by professionally and safely accessing high level gutters and drains to ensure they are running freely. It is a very welcome addition to the variety of means used to ensure church buildings are well maintained and valued assets for wider community use."
Richard Pavlou, Group Business Development and Operations Manager at Stone Technical Solutions, said:
"Having been selected by the team at MaintenanceBooker we are delighted and refreshed to see Yorkshire churches take a more preventative and planned approach to their beautiful and historic buildings."
"We have been spreading the good word for many years that small amounts of expenditure on a regular and planned basis can be far more cost effective to any organisation in comparison to the huge costs associated with a catastrophic structural repair caused by neglect."
"It is genuinely reassuring that this process was driven not only by seeking contractors who were able to offer the best pricing but also by those that offered the correct provenance, credibility and quality!"
"We look forward to offering our decades of experience, advice and skills to the churches of Yorkshire to keep their legacy intact and so they may be utilised for many generations to come."
Janet Edmond, Project Manager of the Yorkshire Maintenance Project at the National Churches Trust, said:
"I am excited that St Augustine's church in Sheffield will be the first of a number of jobs booked through MaintenanceBooker to take place in Yorkshire over the coming months."
"After working with 2Buy2 to develop the MaintenanceBooker website and appoint highly qualified contractors to deliver maintenance services, I am now very pleased to see that many churches are registering for MaintenanceBooker and using it to arrange their gutter clearance and tree maintenance work.'
"I look forward to seeing MaintenanceBooker become available in other parts of the country and offer much needed help to churches struggling with their maintenance issues."