Finalists 2022

We're very excited to announce the finalists in the first National Church Awards

Discover the shortlisted churches, volunteers, architects and projects below. 

Where the church has a page on our website, we have linked to it.


Join us to celebrate churches and their volunteers

This year, for the first time, we have brought all our awards schemes together into one nominations process and one event.

Winners will be invited to an event, to be held at Mercers Hall in the City of London, on 24th October 2022. Unfortunately spaces are extremely limited, but the event will be livestreamed so we’d love all churches, and your volunteers to join us online.

Register FREE for the livestream here

Please share this invite with your volunteers, because alongside the winners we will also be congratulating all longlisted projects and indeed all the work done by volunteers at churches across the country. For those that can’t attend, why not have your own tea and cake and celebrate with us.

Church architecture awards

The church architecture awards are run in partnership with the Ecclesiastical Architects & Surveyors Association (EASA). They honour excellence and creativity in church architecture. There are three awards.

The King of Prussia Gold Medal is for innovative, high quality church conservation or repair work.

Amesbury : St Mary & St Melor

After prolonged water ingress, the central truss above the nave was given just 6 months until structural collapse prior to the repair work. The repair solutions retained as much of the historic fabric as possible, introduced stainless steel, timber, mortar and weakened resin repairs to consolidate and work with the existing structure.

Beverley : St Mary

One of the characteristics of St Mary’s are the carved grotesques. Where there was discernible shape left, the carvings were carefully cleaned and conserved, but where they were too badly eroded, they have been replaced with new carvings. This project has brought joy, creativity, confidence and friendships to the church community, which has continued to grow in number and activity throughout the project.

Middleton : St Leonard

The church was built from a ‘cross-bedded and part ripple cross laminated’ sandstone much of which was laid in vertical beds making it susceptible to delamination. This project has addressed some of the most serious repair needs, helping safeguard the church’s significant, historic fabric for the future. The addition of a new disabled toilet has made the church more accessible.

West Dereham : St Andrew

The east window was in very poor condition having originally been in clunch which is a very soft stone. Masonry and other stone dressings were covered in biological growth causing damage. The window is now secure and the fabric is protected with its traditional lime finishes reinstated. It makes St Andrew's look alive again, and certainly makes it more prominent in the landscape.

The Presidents' Award celebrates the best new church building, including re-ordering, extensions or alterations to existing church buildings.

Barrow upon Trent : St Wilfrid

The transformation of the church took a tired and under used building and has transformed it into a warm, welcoming and very flexible space for many and varied activities. The building now has a suspended and insulated floor, with underfloor heating, modern lighting that enhances the ancient building, superfast broadband for films and music, a kitchen area, disabled access toilet and other useful additions.

Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey has been a centre for Christian faith for more than 1300 years. The project ensures it remains so for generations, through repair and conservation work including of historic stone floor, which has more memorials than any church or cathedral in the UK. The Abbey has also utilised the Roman Great Drain, with over 1 million litres of natural hot spring water each day as a low carbon heat source.

Great Tew : St Michael & All Angels

The new vestry has transformed accessibility and our ability to use it for many community functions as well as services. Toilets and a kitchen has made it possible to host concerts and other events. The extension uses locally sourced materials and has been designed to a high level of thermal efficiency with a draft lobby between the church and extension to moderate the environmental conditions. 

Raynes Park : Dundonald Church

Dundonald Church is a new build, mixed use, community church and housing development, providing a contemporary place for worship and a social hub that is at the heart of the community. The building delivers an architectural approach that is open, inviting and inclusive, expressing an intention to engage with the local community and contemporary culture, reflecting the church’s ethos.

London : Westbourne Park Baptist Church

The primary place of worship can accommodate 300 and is at lower ground level to create a double height space naturally lit by clerestories. Above the community hall, Paddington Children's Library is on the ground floor at the back of the building nestled amongst the quiet calm of verdant residential gardens. Above that are 32 apartments of intermediate affordable housing.


The Young Architect or Surveyor of the Year celebrates up and coming talent.

Emma Mullen RIBA AABC Associate Architect

Associate at St Ann's Gate Architects.

Inspecting architect to St Mary & St Melor church and over 30 other churches in south England and cathedral architect at St Woolos cathedral in Newport.

Matthew Wilde RIBA IHBC

Associate architect, also a RIBA Conservation Registrant.


Church maintenance awards

The Nayler Awards for Excellence in Church Maintenance are run in partnership with the Pilgrim Trust. They shine a light on the people who look after local churches.

This is the first year that these awards are open to all churches, chapels and meeting houses across the UK. We are looking for a winner from each of the four nations; England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

As part of the submission we asked 'what the best thing is about being involved in church maintenance'. 

Blundellsands : St Nicholas

Despite the challenges, it is hugely satisfying when a problem is identified and a solution is found. Grant awards and successful insurance claims have been absolutely critical in extending the life of the building. From restoring treasured, stained glass windows with the dangers of falling masonry to identifying the problems and repairing the 118 year old heating circulation system, this church has been blessed with care. The social conviviality and camaraderie of the team has also been been extremely uplifting.

Clapham : St Mary the Virgin

The community spirit is great. Everyone coming together to work in the building or churchyard, regardless of their religious beliefs, they all share a passion for the building. The two maintenance mornings are a chance for people to work on something eg; cutting back foliage, polishing the beautiful brass no matter what their ability

Grappenhall : St Wilfrid

The variety of challenges, constantly learning. Problem solving provides great satisfaction when issues are resolved. Others take pleasure from the satisfaction that people’s increasing expectations are being met (and exceeded) when they experience a light airy building in summer and a warm and welcoming church in winter. Some take pride in continuing a 900 year old tradition, doing their bit. Seeing the pleasure in people’s faces. Making plans and making good things happen. gives a great sense of accomplishment.

Kidderminster : St George

The team feel that the sense of belonging, the camaraderie an fellowship, and the easy way that people relate to one another are very important. There is a sense of pride in working together to improve our beautiful building and its churchyard. Several close friendships have developed through membership of the team. We feel a great sense of achievement and pride when we are invited to help other churches with their baseline surveys. To date we have helped six churches and worked with two others.

As part of the submission we asked 'what the best thing is about being involved in church maintenance'. 

Llangunnor Parish Church

The friendship within a group of wonderful people promoting a can do attitude whatever challenges appear and through faith helping others who may be going through a tough time for various reasons. This has come into sharp focus with the days of covid having such dreadful impact on peoples lives. It's good now to get back to having a good Welsh cwtch (hug). We find when completing our weekly maintenance visitors always comment on how lovely the church and churchyard are.

Marchwiel : St Deiniol & St Marcella

For the wardens it is difficult to identify the best thing because at times it is hard work trying to remain positive about the future of our Christian places of worship, especially when you feel passionate about maintaining standards and being caretakers for such a valuable asset in the community. For me personally it is the joy of finally seeing a particular project complete and well done, and knowing that this will contribute to the continued survival of our Christian place of worship for future generations.

As part of the submission we asked 'what the best thing is about being involved in church maintenance'. 

Bishopton Parish Church

The satisfaction of seeing cherished buildings maintained and, through appropriate projects, improved for current and future use. The satisfaction and fellowship of working with like minded others in pursuit of this task. The opportunity to keep up with modern maintenance methods and to enhance individual skills and experience. Working collaboratively with the Church Congregation and wider Community to enable new methods of outreach and participation.

Largs : Clark Memorial Church

The committee feel they are making a worthwhile contribution to keeping the building and heritage in good order and attractive for the users / congregation and visitors. As the architect for the major repair project and then the subsequent tower repairs, it has been good to see the commitment to good repairs and attentive maintenance.

As part of the submission we asked 'what the best thing is about being involved in church maintenance'. 

Augher : St Macartan

The best thing about being involved in this is the sense of satisfaction in identifying an issue and seeing it through to its conclusion. There is also a great sense of camaraderie in this work, we have a very strong committee made up from people right across the parish who have met, found a new outlet and made new friends hence breaking down any sense of rural isolation people may have had. The fact that we won a Heritage Angel Award in 2021 for our work restoring our windows also gave the whole community a sense of pride. 

Termonamongan Parish Church

There is a great feeling of camaraderie when a group of us meet on an evening or a Saturday morning to carry out work to the church or adjoining graveyard. We enjoy the banter, and go away feeling that we have done something worthwhile.



Church volunteer awards

The Church and Community Volunteer Awards are run in partnership with the Marsh Charitable Trust. These awards celebrate the vital contribution which volunteers make to both looking after and making best use of churches to benefit local communities and people.

Judges are looking for innovative and engaging activities which involve the wider community. We are looking for a winner from each of the home nations; England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

As part of the submission we asked 'what is your star community activity'. 

Bournemouth : Urban Green Project

Our Urban Gardening Team have worked in the grounds on the green project for two years in all weathers. The volunteers are church goers, community volunteers, Bournemouth Rotary Club and members of the local homeless and transient community. They have cleared excess vegetation, planted a wildlife and a heritage trail. Regular meeting up, the purpose of the work and support and friendship of their fellow volunteers has been hugely beneficial to their health during past difficult years.

Gorleston : St Mary Magdalene Community Volunteers

At its height, our foodbank was providing food for 95 households per week and added a delivery service for those isolating. There are currently 130 volunteers, including children who water the garden, teenagers who prepare refreshments, people who volunteer in their spare time, people who are unemployed, disabled and unable to work, people who are homeless or retired; people who are illiterate and people who are educated, people battling live addictions and people recovering; people who do it for sheer passion.

Peterchurch : St Peter’s and The Hub

The Hub at St Peter’s appeals to both sacred and secular supporters; as such, many of its volunteers are not churchgoers. We try to focus on the wellbeing aspect of the café and use it as a means to reduce social isolation. Preparing and sharing food takes place alongside wellbeing activities and drop in services. We also have a library in the church’s bell tower. About 20 of our volunteers help run the library and more than 6,592 books were borrowed during October 2018 to October 2021.

Wisbech : A Church for the Future

We saw an opportunity to work with schools as part of a project supported by the Heritage Fund and local charities. Our aim was not just to teach children about the heritage of the church, but to involve them in the project to develop key skills. Six schools took part in activities including work with a local reporter and photographer. Pupils work has been displayed in the church and they have created a guidebook being used by visitors. More recently, pupils took part in a Heritage Careers Day, having a go at heritage crafts and skills.

As part of the submission we asked 'what is your star community activity'.

Rhosesmor : The Outpost

The nearest shop is 3 miles away. transport are isolated. The shop and coffee area, called The Outpost has become much more
than a shop. The 37 volunteers themselves have become a mutually supportive community, where ideas thrive. Supporting local suppliers the shop has grown into a centre in the village with a book club, a jigsaw swop, a veg and plant swop, contributions to the
community garden, an annual scarecrow competition. In short from The Outpost radiates the connections in the village.

Roath : St Andrew’s Coffee Court Project

The Coffee Court was born during the pandemic and opens six days every week; selling numerous kinds of coffee, tea and soft drinks. All the proceeds are donated to the church. The area is used every Saturday by local craft traders. On Sunday afternoons is a Theatre Café where budding artists can entertain anyone who listens. One of the greatest achievements is reaching out to those who feel marginalised by the church, especially the LGBTQ+ community and the 'Dragged to Church' event is raising funds to repair and maintain the church.

As part of the submission we asked 'what is your star community activity'.

Bishopton : Enabling Volunteers to Care for Their Community

Our team of 14 volunteers spend time visiting or phoning people who are lonely, housebound, unwell or people who may just benefit from a friendly face. In May 2022 we commenced a weekly social group, the Thursday "Chit Chat" Group and ee meet weekly for one and a half hours. Activities include services, table games and a variety of musical items and speakers. The final half hour is always spent over tea and biscuits. Over 60 people attended our first session and we are absolutely delighted with this response. 

Wyndford : Saint Gregory's FoodBank

Our star community activity is our foodbank, first established in 2017 with food support for about 40+ people from the locale, but which has now grown since the start of the pandemic to serve more than 300 people each week. No referral is needed. People in need simply come in once per week and are given a basic bag plus a secondary one. Our greatest achievement we believe is that apart from Christmas Day 2020, we have been open every single weekday throughout the pandemic.

As part of the submission we asked 'what is your star community activity'. 

Strabane : Living History in the Community

We believe that our star community activity has been the creation of the amazing professional museum exhibition space in the church and sacristy that has uncovered and now displays our rich and varied heritage collection that had lain dormant and hidden in various homes and in the parochial house for many decades. Our volunteers tell us that they feel an immense sense of pride volunteering for the church,
connecting them to their community, improving their mental health, reducing isolation, learning new skills for fun and that could lead to employment, working as part of a team, and making new friends. One volunteer told us that she now “feels valued as a person".



Church tourism awards

We believe that churches should be open and welcoming for visitors to explore. Every church can give a warm welcome and has a story to tell. Millions of people visit churches every year; whether popping in on a day trip or as part of a walk, attending a wedding, or as a church crawler or heritage explorer.

This is the first year for these awards and they are open to all churches, chapels and meeting houses across the UK.

As part of the submission we asked 'why is being open important to you'.

Bournemouth : St Peter

I have been a member of the congregation for about 16 years and have seen the church evolve. It has become much more than just a place to go to every Sunday morning. It has become an integral part of the town and a catalyst for so many things.

We are open every day of the year for prayer and reflection. There is a constant stream of visitors from Britain and overseas to the church and the Shelley grave. The volunteers are spread throughout the building and grounds. They are very proactive and happily approach and greet visitors, provide them the new wildlife and heritage trails. We have installed picnic tables and benches in the grounds.

Escrick : St Helen

St Helen’s has always been open daily.We know that there are many times in life when, for lots of reasons, we need to find a place of quiet, tranquillity and peace. We feel it is important that visitors and the community can come in to enjoy the architecture, monuments and learn a little about the local heritage.

We're open everyday. On the second Monday afternoon of each month we hold our ‘Heritage Hub’. We make it known that volunteers will be in church. Most importantly we make it known that we have the kettle on and coffee, tea and cakes are available! 

Greenwich : St Alfege

The Heart of Greenwich project aims to reinforce the church’s position as a heritage asset at the heart of Greenwich, reveal and interpret our hidden spaces and heritage for everyone. Heritage at St Alfege is as much about the living as the dead.

The church is in the centre of Greenwich integrated into the heritage destination of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site. Part of the project aims has been to intergrate ourselves more deeply with the WHS and enhance the experience for tourists and visitors.

Scampton : Church & War Graves Heritage Centre

Thousands of people over the years have been touched by what is represented here. Recent comments in our visitors book tell their own story as to why it is important to be open every day for visitors from around the world : “so peaceful – just what a country church should be. Thanks for being open”.

Our building dates from the 14th century, and is closely linked with the RAF and the Red Arrows. It sits just one mile from RAF Scampton (where the Dambusters Squadron was formed). Along with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, we are the guardians of 107 Commonwealth War and Service Graves. 

Scarborough : St Martin on the Hill

By opening more frequently and all the year round we are welcoming more and more visitors, sometimes people who have tried to see the church before. Being open more frequently does improve our income, but also provides a refuge of peace and solitude to people who want or need it in a relatively private way. Plus it is a great place to study Pre-Raphaelite art and the associated artists.

We are located on the South cliff of Scarborough above the South Bay and in particular the Spa building complex. Our church is open every day between 11am and 4pm. The cafe is serviced by paid and unpaid volunteers so there are always people to help with any questions, the Friends offer a free guided tour on a Tuesday and Thursday.

As part of the submission we asked 'why is being open important to you'.

Llanynys : St Saeran

If we’re not open how could people come in? Churches are there to be sanctuary and a safe space for anyone and everyone whenever they come in whatever frame of mind.

The truth we have had to face in Llanynys is that the future of the church building lies outside of Sunday Worship and so we are reimagining what this can be that remains true to it’s 1,500 year old foundation as a place of spiritual nurturing and nourishments.The church itself is in the middle of nowhere with no population surrounding it. However we are surrounded by some of the most picturesque countryside in Wales with many small and hidden footpaths just waiting to be discovered. The church is never closed.

Lower Machen : St Michael & All Angels

Without visitors, the church is just a building. but what a building! By being open now we are looking to secure the future of the church in such a way that educates people of all ages and encourages them to find out more about the history of the place where they live. We hope some will even become future custodians of the church and its heritage.

Our church is located in the tiny hamlet of Lower Machen which comprises just 19 houses, only 5 or 6 miles from the sizeable city of Newport. We try to offer the best visitor experience we can with our welcome, website, audio/visual tours, guided tours and books.

As part of the submission we asked 'why is being open important to you'.

Challoch : All Saints

We fervently want to become a key part of the community. All Saints is recognised as being a ‘splendid example of a rural Victorian church’, but we want it to be a full church, in every sense of the word both to celebrate its peaceful ethos and so that it becomes a vital hub both for secular and non-secular use.

Over the past two years we have made determined efforts to raise the profile of the church. We have a regular rota of meeters and greeters who actively engage with visitors to the church. The porch area has lots of information about the church activities and other local
events and initiatives.

Isle of Eriskay : St Michael

From the comments in the visitors' book, I can see that it is important to visitors to be able to spend a quiet moment in a beautiful environment, to reconnect with God or simply to experience something of the soul of this island, encapsulated in the decor and fittings of the church.

Eriskay attracts tourists for its Jacobite history, its ponies and wildlife, its scenery and the story of Whisky Galore based on the SS Politician which sank here in 1941 with its cargo of whisky.

Kirkwall : St Magnus Cathedral

We believe that the cathedral is an essential part of any visit to Orkney. Its historic and spiritual significance is undeniable; we love it very much and want to share it with as many people as possible. Having regular, full day opening hours maximises the opportunity for visitors to come through the doors.

St Magnus Cathedral belongs to the people of Orkney, and has done since it was gifted to them in 1486 by King James III of Scots. The cathedral often plays host to free lunchtime concerts, and provides a venue for art and writing workshops for local groups. We were proud to welcome recently our 100,000th isitor since April.


Friends award

Through their support and generous donations, our growing number of Friends help us carry out our work of supporting churches in so many ways. Our Friends Award gives them the opportunity to help us select a church we have recently funded to receive an additional grant of £10,000. If you're interested in becoming a Friend of the National Churches Trust, and taking part in next year's vote, please do join us.

Voting for this competition has now closed but each of the four shortlisted churches produced a film about their project.

See the four nominated churches and their films here

Church of the year

Together with our partners we will judge all the awards between August and September. At a final panel, judges from all the partners will choose one of the winning churches to be our Church of the Year, to be announced at the National Church Awards on 24 October 2022.

To be eligible your church must be nominated for and win one of the above awards.

Register to watch the National Churches Awards 2022