Grants of £546,000 to benefit 30 places of worship

Published: Wednesday, June 27, 2012


30 places of worship in England Wales and Scotland are set to benefit from grants totalling £546,000 from the National Churches Trust.

The grants from the National Churches Trust – the only independent charity dedicated to supporting church buildings of all Christian denominations across the UK – will support projects including repairing ancient stonework and architectural features and the replacement of stolen lead roofing. They will also help pay for  providing new facilities such as meeting rooms, kitchens and accessible toilets to enable greater community use.

The grants include £154,000 for listed places of worship outside the care of the Church of England from a one-off Capital Grant from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which is being administered on their behalf by the National Churches Trust.

Churches, chapels and meeting houses awarded grants include:

•    The Bronte church of St Michael and All Angels in Haworth, Yorkshire.

•    St Michael and the Holy Angels Catholic church, West Bromwich. One of the church’s first priests was George Spencer, the great great great uncle of Diana, Princess of Wales.  He is now being considered for beatification.

•    The church of St John of Jerusalem in Hackney, London , serving one of the most deprived communities in England.

•    St Barrwg in Bedwas, Monmouthshire, dating back to 1002 and one of the oldest churches in Wales.

•    The parish church formed from Crowland Abbey, an 8th century Benedictine monastery in Lincolnshire. The first bells to be hung in Britain were in the belfry here and the current bell pull is one of the longest in the UK.

•    St Catherine, Hoarwithy, Herefordshire, an internationally renowned Grade I listed church built in an Italian Tuscan style . The church includes sculptured choir stalls, a white marble altar inlaid with lapis lazuli and Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris stained glass.  

A selection of photos can be viewed here:

£8 million of grant support since 2007

The latest grant allocations come as the National Churches Trust celebrates its fifth anniversary. Since June 2007, the Trust has provided grants of over £8 million to almost 900 places of worship in the UK.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, Joint President of the National Churches Trust  said: “We can be grateful to the National Churches Trust, which, since its formation in 2007, has helped to fund the repair and maintenance of almost 900 places of worship. Facilities have been modernised, disused spaces utilised, buildings converted and interiors reordered enabling these churches to play an even more active and valued role and in sustaining local communities.   As it looks to the years ahead, the National Churches Trust will continue to provide much needed financial and practical help thus ensuring the future of church buildings as a vital focus for neighbourhoods in city and country areas. The Trust deserves our unstinting support.”

Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, Joint President of the National Churches Trust said: “It’s important we celebrate Church buildings and how these buildings serve their local communities, whether it’s a Cathedral or a local church.  Since 2005, the National Churches Trust has worked hard to distribute over £8 million in grants to restore and modernise hundreds of places of worship which open for regular services.  Congratulations on the Trust’s 5th anniversary and achievements – keep up the good work”.

John Penrose MP, Minister for Heritage and Tourism  at the Department for Heritage, Media and Sport said: “I warmly congratulate the National Churches Trust on the fifth anniversary of its launch as the successor to the Historic Churches Preservation Trust. The financial and practical support provided by the Trust helps many of Britain’s churches, chapels and meeting houses continue to flourish at the heart of their communities, by preserving their architecture and keeping their facilities up to date. I wish the Trust all the very best for the future.”

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

“Our latest grants will help ensure the future of 30 places of worship in England, Wales and Scotland.

“Many of the church buildings we are supporting are major architectural landmarks. They are much loved both by local people, and by visitors who enjoy the beauty and history of these sacred spaces. Our grants, together with funding from partner organisations, will help pay for urgent repairs to roofs, stonework and precious architectural features.”

“As well as being used for worship, churches are also vital to the well-being of the wider community. With local facilities such as libraries and social clubs closing, places of worship are often the only community spaces available for use by charities. Our grants therefore also fund new community spaces and up-to-date heating, kitchens and toilets. Improved facilities help places of worship support the local community and strengthen our society.”

“The last few years have seen an epidemic of the theft of lead and a number of our grants will help fund the replacement of lead roofs. The National Churches Trust welcomes moves to increase the penalties imposed on the criminals who carry out these crimes, which can only increase the financial burden on hard-pressed church buildings.”

 “In these tough economic times, places of worship are finding it harder than ever to pay for essential repairs. This is reflected in a major increase in the number of grant applications we are receiving. In the first five  months of 2012, the Trust received 425 requests for grants, a rise of 40 per cent when compared to the same period in 2011.”

“As a result, with our resources we are only able to support a small proportion of the many worthy projects that apply to us for funding. We rely on the generous support of trusts, foundations and individuals to continue our work supporting places of worship. So if you share our belief in the value of these buildings please consider supporting the National Churches Trust and becoming a Friend ”