Demand for church repair funding soars

Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012


A big increase in the number of the UK’s Christian places of worship seeking funding for repairs and modernisation has been reported by the National Churches Trust.

Figures released by the National Churches Trust in its Annual Review for 2011-2012 show that the number of churches, chapels and meeting houses applying  for funding has doubled.

In 2011 the National Churches Trust, an independent charity which supports places of worship of all Christian denominations across the UK, received 618 applications for grants, compared to 309 received in 2010.  

The charity’s Annual Review, published in London on Wednesday 19 September 2012, also shows that in 2011 the National Churches Trust awarded or recommended 170 funding grants totalling £1,549,279.  This was an increase on the 123 individual grants awarded in 2010.

Also featured in the first issue of a new-look National Churches Trust Annual Review are articles about the importance of places of worship written by broadcaster Huw Edwards, historian Bettany Hughes and authors Harry Mount and Richard Taylor. View an interactive version of the Annual Review for 2011-2012. NEED TO ADD

Claire Walker, Chief Executive of the National Churches Trust said:

“Places of worship help so many people with their lives and are a vital part of the social fabric of the country.”

“The increase in demand for grants to the National Churches Trust shows a growing need for funding to help the UK’s churches, chapels and meeting houses continue to serve their congregations and improve the way they can help the wider community.”  

“Our National Survey, published in 2011, showed that urgent repairs would cost an average of £80,000 to those buildings in our sample in need of them.  These costs can rarely be paid for by the church congregation alone.  As a result, the National Churches Trust anticipates that over the next few years there will continue to be high level of demand for funding and assistance for church repairs and modernisation. “

“In 2011, National Churches Trust funding helped places of worship to fix leaking roofs, crumbling stonework and deteriorating woodwork. The poor condition of some places of worship is demonstrated by the fact that we regularly receive requests for repair grants from churches where the congregation have to worship surrounded by buckets set out to catch rainwater falling through the roof.”

“Through our community grants programme we were also able to help churches to install up to date facilities including cafes, accessible toilets and environmentally friendly heating. This allows them to become more welcoming places where local people can meet one another, which helps to build community cohesion and strengthen local neighbourhoods.”

“In this age of austerity, the closure of facilities such as libraries and community centres means that in some parts of the country, places of worship are becoming the last place where local organisations and people can hire a room to meet either for free or at an affordable price. “

“Our National Survey estimated that nearly 80 per cent of the UK’s church buildings are also used for purposes other than regular worship, such as providing nursery and playgroup education, homeless shelters or employment or addiction counselling.”  

“Although the National Churches Trust is able to support many churches with grants, we sadly are only able to fund a minority of those which come to us for money, despite the clear value of many such projects. That’s why we will continue to vigorously make the case for church buildings and re-double our efforts to secure increased funding from trusts, foundations and individuals to continue our vitally important work of supporting places of worship. ”