Grants and looking after your church during the coronavirus pandemic

Published: Friday, May 29, 2020

 

Information about church buildings and the coronavirus pandemic.

We have compiled a range of advice and information which we hope will be of use about our grants and how to look after your church.

Is the NCT still accepting grant applications?

Yes. All of our grant programmes are open as usual. Links to information, guidance notes and the online application forms are all online. Any questions can be emailed to grants@nationalchurchestrust.org

We are still hoping to launch the Treasure Ireland Project in Northern Ireland in May which will include a grants programme for churches in Northern Ireland. Further details will be announced here.

Will the next grants meeting take place?

Yes. The next Grants Committee meeting is due to take place in July as planned. Final decisions on Cornerstone applications submitted before 2 March 2020, and Gateway applications submitted before 14 May 2020, will be made. If it is not possible to meet in person the Committee will meet online. In the meantime Foundation and Preventative Maintenance Micro Grants continue to be made on a monthly basis.

What will happen to my grant if my project is delayed?

If you are the recipient of a National Churches Trust grant, the expiry date will be featured on your offer letter and acceptance form. If you are worried that delays to your project mean you will be unable to claim our grant before it expires, please email grants@nationalchurchestrust.org as soon as possible, using the name of the church / grant reference number in the subject bar if possible. Please provide a brief update on how far work had got to, and a rough idea of how long works might take once work can recommence. Extensions of up to 6 months will be considered on a case by case basis.

How can I meet the conditions of our NCT grant at this time?

The National Churches Trust asks its grantees to do the following:

  • Register for free on ExploreChurches – entries can still be submitted online even though it is not currently possible to visit churches - this is required before payment is made.
  • Register for free on MaintenanceBooker (England and Wales only) – registration can still be completed online - this is required before payment is made.
  • Be open for 100 days a year beyond worship within one year of a project – we realise that churches are unable to be open at the current time but once restrictions are lifted expect churches to meet this condition as soon as they are able to
  • Reporting at payment stage / a year after project completion (depending on the size of the grant) – smaller grants have a form to complete as part of their payment claim stage, reporting on the work done. Cornerstone grantees will usually be sent a feedback form via email approximately one year after estimated project completion. If a form is sent out to you during this time, we appreciate responses may take longer than usual, and some information may be difficult to obtain. All grantees may from time to time be asked to take part in adhoc programme evaluations / surveys to better inform our work and to better understand our impact for reporting to our own funders.
  • Project outcomes for preserving heritage, promoting sustainability and inspiring support – all of our grant applications invite applicants to tell us how their projects will meet our NCT strategy aims of preserving heritage, promoting sustainability and inspiring support. We understand at this time that some of the intended outcomes may be temporarily impacted by the current situation.

 

How often should I be looking/inspecting at my church building when it is closed?

General advice is that if possible, and if government restrictions allow it, buildings should still be checked on a weekly basis, at least externally. Further advice can be found at the following links:

  • Church building insurers, Ecclesiastical have this advice for those responsible for looking after church buildings.
  • The Church of England has issued this building advice – including how to look after your building, and what to do about stalled projects or projects that were due to start
  • The Methodist  Church has issued this building advice – including how to look after your building, and what to do about stalled projects or projects that were due to start
  • The Church in Wales has issued this building advice – including how to look after your building, stalled projects, and permissions process
  • The Baptist Union has an empty building checklist and advice from Baptist Insurance here
  • The Church of Scotland’s Coronavirus advice is here
  • The Roman Catholic Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales has Coronavirus advice here
  • The Quakers have Coronavirus advice here
  • The Church of Ireland have Coronavirus advice here
  • The Presbyterian Church in Ireland have provided the following resources
  • The Methodist Church in Ireland has Coronavirus advice here
  • The Diocese of Down and Connor have provided the following Coronavirus advice

     

What other advice is there regarding works that have stalled on site?

If work has stopped on a project at your church, be sure that the contractors have left the site safe and secure and the building protected from weather. You must also inform your insurer. Further information can be found at the following:

  • The Insurers, Ecclesiastical have this advice for those responsible for looking after church buildings.
  • Church of England building advice – including how to look after your building, and what to do about stalled projects or projects that were due to start
  • Methodist building advice – including how to look after your building, and what to do about stalled projects or projects that were due to start
  • The Church in Wales building advice – including how to look after your building, stalled projects, and permissions process
  • The Baptist Union has advice here

Reopening

As restrictions begin to lift and accessing buildings is being discussed in more detail, this new guidance will help in your efforts:

Does the NCT offer any grants to help our church get back up and running once restrictions are lifted?

Communities will no doubt be eager to have use of church buildings once again as soon as restrictions lift. Routine maintenance tasks may be overdue, and small works might be necessary to ensure church buildings are back in use in good condition. Our range of grant programmes should be able to help get your building back in shape:

  • Preventative Maintenance Micro Grants – 50% grants of up to £500 towards services booked via MaintenanceBooker costing up to £1,000 – decisions made on a rolling basis
  • Foundation – 50% grants of £500 up to £5,000 on urgent and essential maintenance works – decisions made on a rolling basis
  • Gateway – grants of £3,000 up to £10,000 (not exceeding 50%) for maintenance and small repair projects – next deadlines 14 May and 10 September

 

Does the NCT offer any grants to help if I spot any damage when my church building is closed?

Yes. Our usual small grant programmes should be able to assist, providing you are able to get quotes and permissions in place – unfortunately these may take longer than usual to obtain at the current time:

Does the NCT offer any emergency grants to support the impacts our church is facing as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, and our response to our local community need?

Unfortunately our funds are only available to support works direct to church buildings in line with our existing grant programmes. Please see below for information about other funders. You can view lists of funders on our website here and here.

Historic England and the NLHF have announced emergency funds, and NLCF will prioritise projects responding to the crisis. The NLCF is also distributing £2million on behalf of the DCMS. This scheme opened on 21 May and is designed to support small to medium sized organisations in England to continue to deliver services to people and communities affected by COVID-19. They can fund religious organisations if their project benefits the wider community and doesn’t include religious content. Find out more here.

The Aviva Community Fund has broadened its eligibility to support causes in addressing the imapcts of the outbreak. Deadline for applications on 5 May.

The Parish Resources list of sources of grants for places of worship remains useful, though it is not specific to the Coronavirus. They also have advice here on fundraising for your church whilst your church is closed.

Information made available by the AHF and Heritage Alliance will likely also be of use to you.