The Good Guardianship Awards 2019


Run by the National Churches Trust in partnership with The Pilgrim Trust, these new awards reward local people for excellence in planning the maintenance of a church or chapel. Good maintenance practice, including annual maintenance plans, regular inspections and small preventative repairs stop many minor problems from escalating into large, expensive repairs that can threaten the future of a building.

Volunteers and staff at places of worship can find it difficult to source appropriate contractors to carry out maintenance, and are sometimes unsure which maintenance tasks are needed. Concerns about health and safety, lack of volunteers and knowledge are also challenging, as well as a shortage of funds.

In 2018, the National Churches Trust, in partnership with 2buy2 and supported by Ecclesiastical Insurance launched MaintenanceBooker, an online maintenance and repair booking service which makes it easier for churches to carry out essential maintenance tasks.

Grants for a range of maintenance tasks, works and preventative repairs are available through MaintenanceBooker and the National Churches Trust’s grants programmes. 

These grants are made possible thanks to The Pilgrim Trust’s generous support and funding of this area of our work.

Nominated for excellence in organising maintenance planning, the churches and chapels chosen have all received grants from the National Churches Trust. The 2019 winner of the Good Guardianship Award will receive £5,000 towards the maintenance of their church or chapel. Two runners up will receive £1,500 towards the ongoing care of their place of worship.

Winner - St James the Great, Cradley, Herefordshire

Grade II* listed, this has been a place of worship for many centuries. Open daily for visitors, including walkers, self-service free tea and coffee facilities are always available. Currently the community is working towards being taken off the Heritage At Risk Register. The church received a prize of £5,000 towards the ongoing care of their place of worship.


Runner Up - Brighton Unitarian Church, Brighton, Sussex 

Built in1820 and part of Brighton’s Regency streetscape, Grade II listed, this striking building has now been removed from Historic England’s Heritage At Risk Register following successful major works. The maintenance plan they have introduced will help to secure the building’s future as an active centre of worship, cultural and community activity. 
The church received a prize of £1,500 towards the ongoing care of their place of worship.


Runner Up - St Botolph’s, Colchester, Essex 

Grade II listed late Georgian town church with excellent acoustics, St Botolph’s is an important spiritual centre in Colchester and is widely regarded as Colchester’s best concert venue.  
The church received a prize of £1,500 towards the ongoing care of their place of worship.


The following projects were also shortlisted for the awards.

  • St Buryan, St Buryan, Cornwall  

A huge, Grade I listed collegiate church, ‘the Cathedral of the West’ dedicated to St Buriana, a 5th century Irish Saint. Successfully now removed from Historic England’s Heritage At Risk Register, sustainable maintenance planning is key to its ongoing success.

  • St Peter & St Paul, Bardwell, Suffolk 

A Grade I listed thirteenth century church that has recently undertaken major repairs, regular maintenance will help the congregation to continue to serve the local community into the future. 

The Good Guardianship Awards were announced during our Local Treasures event on Friday 15 November at the Mercers' Hall in London.