Nayler Awards: for Excellence in Church Maintenance 2021


A special event to celebrate the magnificent effort of thousands of volunteers who look after the UK's church buildings.

This year's Nayler Awards ceremony took place on Friday 19 November, at the start of Maintenance Week.

We hosted a special free online event to shine a light on the people who look after local church buildings and to announce the winners of The Nayler Awards: for Excellence in Church Maintenance 2021. 

£12,500 in prizes were awarded towards the care of one winning church and two runners up. The awards are supported by The Pilgrim Trust.

Guest speakers included Sue Bowers, Director of the Pilgrim Trust, Georgina Nayler, Former Director of the Pilgrim Trust and after whom the awards are named, Luke March, Chairman of the National Churches Trust and Claire Walker, Chief Executive of the National Churches Trust.

This year we hosted the awards from St Giles, Wrexham. We enjoyed a special welcome and short tour of the building with Revd Dr Jason Bray. One of the Seven Wonders of Wales, the church has been an active part in our recent tourism project in Wales.

We also:

  • Heard from last year's winners at Christ Church, Sowerby Bridge
  • Found out about our nominees churches, chapels or meeting houses
  • Watched as Claire Walker gatecrashed the winning church's PCC meeting to announce that they had won

You can watch the whole broadcast here: 


About the winners

St Matthew, Surbiton, Surrey

The judges thought that there was one entry in particular which exemplified excellent maintenance, practice and management. The church has a good maintenance plan, which is easy to follow, and showed that it is being used on a regular basis. It’s a real living document. The church makes very good use of volunteers and actively tries to include everyone with Maintenance Mornings. They even provide bacon butties to keep everyone going!

Overall, the application and the activities felt very real to the judges. They explained all the difficulties they are facing in maintaining an old building but have good practical solutions which they are seeing through.

The church wins £7,500

Find out more about the church on our ExploreChurches website here.

All Saints, Shillington, Bedfordshire

Named by Sir John Betjeman the ‘Cathedral of the Chilterns’, All Saints church is a Grade One listed ironstone and clunch building. The judges could see how maintenance is an integral part of the whole church structure not just an add on. There were also impressed by the balance of looking after the building as well as the ‘living churchyard’. There is something for everyone to get involved in.

The church wins £2.500

Find out more about the church on our ExploreChurches website here.

St Andrew, Harberton, Devon

A 15th century building set in a beautiful tranquil space with the churchyard in the centre of the village. Here the judges were impressed by a simple but very clear maintenance plan which, although filled in by hand, felt like it was used and guided the work done. It just goes to show that you don’t need to overcomplicate things! The church also demonstrated very clearly how it looks after its volunteers, with clear policies and risk assessments. Its clear to see their journey from having no maintenance policies in 2016 to where they are today, winning one of our awards.

The church wins £2.500

Find out more about the church on our ExploreChurches website here.