Fabric grant funding made easier for churches

Published: Thursday, January 23, 2020


Changes have been announced making it easier for parishes to apply for funding to support fabric repairs.

The Church of England, working with the Wolfson Foundation and the National Churches Trust (NCT), has today announced that during 2020 administration of the Wolfson Foundation funds for fabric repairs of churches will move from the Cathedral & Church Buildings Division of the Church of England to the National Churches Trust.

The Wolfson Fabric Repairs grants programme supports fabric repairs for Grade I and II*, A and B+ listed Anglican church buildings throughout the United Kingdom. £400,000 per year is awarded to projects, including urgent roof repairs, improving rainwater goods, drainage works, and wall repairs. In 2019, awards were given to 79 parishes.

Simplified application process

The move to the National Churches Trust will result in a simplified funding application process for fabric repairs. Parishes will be able to submit one application form and be considered for up to two fabric repair grants. This will reduce form filling for the parishes. There will also only be one reporting and claims process for the two grants, again reducing the burden of paperwork on parishes.

Through making this small administrative change to the way funding is applied for, parishes can continue to benefit from the vital support the funds from the Wolfson Foundation can provide. The Cathedral & Church Buildings Division will continue to provide support and advice to parishes on faculty applications, and will also continue to provide input into the Wolfson grants programme through representation on the National Churches Trust’s Grants Committee.

The Church of England’s conservation grants programmes administered by the Cathedral & Church Buildings Division (ChurchCare) will continue with its focus on conservation of historic interiors whilst the National Churches Trust will focus on fabric repairs (in addition to its other programmes for maintenance, project development and installation of facilities).

What will this mean for parishes?

Parishes can still apply for a fabric repair grant from ChurchCare in January 2020 , with the application deadline of 27 January 2020. All parishes with ChurchCare grants will be able to claim their grant from ChurchCare. For all questions about existing grants contact John Webster, Cathedral & Church Buildings Division Conservation Grants Administrator (John.Webster@ChurchOfEngland.org).

From 28 January 2020, new applications for fabric repair grants should be made via the National Churches Trust. Applications can be submitted using the Cornerstone or Gateway grant application forms depending on the size of the repair project. For projects costing over £100,000 applicants apply through Cornerstone, with the first application deadline of 2 March 2020. For projects costing up to £100,000 applicants apply through Gateway, with the first application deadline of 14 May 2020.

For grant enquiries please contact:

Claire Walker, Chief Executive of the National Churches Trust said: “The National Churches Trust supports places of worship of historic, architectural and community value throughout the UK. Many of these are the nation’s most important historic buildings. Thanks to the expertise of our Church Support team and Grants committee, last year the Trust made 188 awards to churches and chapels totalling £1.3 million. We are very pleased to have collaborated with the Church of England’s Cathedral & Church Buildings Division on making it easier for parishes to apply for grants for fabric repairs, and we look forward to working with the Wolfson Foundation so that churches can continue to play a vital role in the life and well-being of local communities for many years to come.”

Becky Clark, Director of Cathedral and Church Buildings, welcomed the change: “We are delighted with this opportunity to simplify grants for our parishes. We know that, for those caring for our 16,000 church buildings, fundraising is ever more important, but we also know that much of this work is done by dedicated volunteers. Anything we can do to make their lives easier is a top priority. The transfer of the Wolfson Fabric Repairs Grants programme to our friends at the National Churches Trust provides a welcome reduction in paperwork for the amazing volunteers who keep our church buildings alive, open and sustainable for all to use. The value placed on this grant fund by the Wolfson Foundation is also important, and we are delighted that they have worked with us to ensure this new arrangement gets their funding out into communities across the country. Within ChurchCare we continue to work to provide support to our parishes through advice and guidance, and with grants for conservation of historic church interiors, monuments, bells, clocks and organs.”

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation said: “Historic churches are some of the country’s most wonderful and loved buildings – inspiring joy in visitors and worshippers alike. We are delighted to be continuing to support churches across the UK and hope that the new arrangements will make life easier and simpler – particularly for that noble volunteer band on whom most churches rely for their fundraising. I also want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the team at the Cathedral and Church Buildings Division. They are powerful advocates for church buildings, and we have appreciated and relied upon their expertise and wisdom over many years. They will remain valued partners. We look forward to working with the National Churches Trust.”