The future of the UK's church buildings

Join our national debate to help safeguard the future of the UK's church buildings.

Future of the UK's Church BuildingsWith an increasing number of churches and chapels facing closure, the National Churches Trust's The Future of the UK's Church Buildings debate highlights the community, economic, heritage and spiritual benefits of churches.

It also gives you a chance to have a say on how some of the UK's most important local buildings can be saved for future generations. We've set up a special online survey which is easy to complete. Simply follow the link at the bottom of the page.

The Future of the UK's Church Buildings debate is backed by Michael Palin, Vice President of the National Churches Trust. He said:

"The UK has over 39,000 church buildings. The restrictions of COVID-19, resulting in reduced funding and fewer worshippers, has clouded the future for many of them. Yet churches remain a vital and much-loved part of the UK's history and heritage and we can't let them fall into neglect and disuse. If you care as much as I do about the future of these much loved buildings, do get involved with the National Churches Trust debate about 'The Future of Churches' and help shape their future."

 Keeping churches open

The number of churches open and being used for worship has fallen from around 42,000 to 39,800 in the last ten years.

A shortage of funding to keep churches in good repair is a key factor leading to closure. Latest figures show that the Church of England will have to find £1billion to fund repairs to its 16,000 parish churches in the next five years.

Funding for the repair and maintenance of church buildings has to be found by congregations as is it not provided by central church authorities. This is particularly difficult for churches in deprived areas or for rural churches with few worshippers

Church buildings manifesto

Future of the UK's Church BuildingsTo highlight the importance of the UK's churches and chapels churches, we have put together a 'church buildings manifesto' in which leading figures from around the UK make the case for their future.

This shows how churches and chapels are important for heritage and tourism, for building stronger communities and of course as places for worship and reflection.

You can download 'The Future of the UK's Church Buildings' or read all of the articles below. If you'd like to order a copy of the full colour 84 page report, please email us at

Read The Future of the UK's Church Buildings

We are doing our best to help

Our latest research which updates our pioneering 2020 The House of Good report, shows that the repair bill is vastly outweighed by the economic and social benefit of church buildings.

The annual social and economic value of church buildings to the UK is worth around £55 billion. This sum, calculated using the latest HM Treasury Green Book guidance, includes the contribution churches make to wellbeing and to local economies.

  Download our 2021 The House of Good update.

Have your say

Our online survey gives you a chance to have a say on how some of the UK's most important local buildings can be saved for future generations.

Please let us know what you think.

 Join us on social media

You can also let us know why you think church buildings are important at

Please also join us on social media by using the # (hashtag) futureofchurches

Watch our videos

We've got some great videos to watch with people telling us why they think church buildings have a future.


Harry Mount - Editor of The Oldie - The last chance saloon


Andrew Stokes - Director Visit England - Churches and Tourism


Jay Hulme - Poet and Performance Artist - Churches and History


The late Peter Ainsworth - Chairman Churches Conservation Trust 2016 -2021 -Churches and Heritage


The Rt Rev John Arnold - Bishop of Salford - The Roman Catholic view


Rev Lucy Winkett - Rector St James's, Piccadilly, London - Churches and Communities


Rev Eve Pitts - Holy Trinity Church, Birchfield, Birmingham - Churches and the inner cities


Rev Canon John McGinley - Executive Director, Myriad - Churches for the future


Barbara Eifler - CEO Making Music - Churches and music


Simon Thomson - FairShare - Churches and food poverty


Dominic Grieve QC - The communal benefits of sacred space


Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP - Churches and councils


Alexander Stafford MP - Churches do still matter


Christopher Catling - Secretary of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales - Wales


Stuart Beattie - Director, Scotland's Churches Trust - Scotland


Dr Julian Litten - Chairman of the Norwich Cathedral Fabric Advisory Committee - England's rural churches


Iain Greenway - Director of Historic Environment (Northern Ireland) - Northern Ireland


Claire Walker - CEO National Churches Trust - Churches and levelling up