Grants and looking after your church during the coronavirus pandemic

Published: Friday, June 12, 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. We update this page on a regular basis. 

Please contact us if you require any more specific advice on how we can support your church during the challenging period. We will be providing information about re-opening your church in the very near future.

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. At the current time our eligiblity remain in line with usual practice i.e. 50% funds need to be in place at the point of application, as well as permissions, with projects overseen by a conservation accredited professional and with more than 2 quotes in place. Any questions can be emailed to grants@nationalchurchestrust.org

The Treasure Ireland Project in Northern Ireland was given permission to start in May which will include a grants programme for churches in Northern Ireland. Further details will be announced here. We are currently recruiting for an officer. 

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. 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 in the usual way at the current time but as restrictions ease we 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 are sent a feedback form via email approximately one year after estimated project completion (this is usually with the assistance of volunteers so dates are not precise). 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. 

 

Churches in England will be allowed to reopen for private prayer from the 13th June, whilst they remain closed in Scotland and Wales. Information on looking after and inspecting your church building whilst it is closed can be found below

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

     

For many projects work stalled for a while, but has now recommenced. The following advice was available for works that stalled

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:

  • The Church of England - Covid-19 resources section now includes advice on reaccessing sites, cleaning and includes a risk assessment template.
  • See England's latest government advice here
  • The Methodist  Church has this advice 
  • The Baptist Union has this advice 
  • The Roman Catholic Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales has advice here
  • The Quakers have advice here
  • The Church of Ireland has this advice on returning to church 
  • The Methodist Church in Ireland has this reopening church advice here
  • The Presbyterian Church in Ireland has the following resource
  • The Irish Catholic Bishops Conference has this advice on reopening
  • The Church of Wales’ latest advice is here 
  • The Church of Scotland’s latest advice is here 
  • Scotland’s Bishops Conference Covid resources are here 

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

We anticipate that our grants for maintenance and small repairs will take on new importance as churches reopen. 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 costing up to £100,000– next deadline 10 September

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 ,  here and here

  • Historic England has launched a £3million Heritage at Risk Fund with grants of up to £25,000 for buildings listed Grade I and II* – expressions of interest must be submitted by 28 June.  

  • The NLHF has stalled its usual programmes and launched emergency funds with awards ranging from £3000 up to £250,000.

  • The NLCF is prioritising 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 impacts of the outbreak and can cover core running costs to help beneficiaries and communities. The next deadline for applications is 28 July.

  • 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.

  • Find your local community foundation to see how they might be able to support – funds related to supporting the community

  • The Heritage Alliance is co-ordinating a Covid-19 funding hub relevant to the whole of the heritage sector, in addition to its usual Heritage Funding Directory

  • Historic England also has a list of heritage funders online here.

  • Other links on GrantsOnline