National Churches Trust Annual Review shows increasing demand for funding

Published: Friday, October 25, 2013


The National Churches Trust has published its Annual Review for 2012-2013. Demand for church repair and modernisation grants has continued to grow, with repairs to roofs and stonework and the provision of toilets and kitchens the top types of project awarded funding by the Trust.

The Annual Review reports that in 2012 the National Churches Trust was involved in making or recommending 112 grant offers totalling £1,547,000. The number of grant applications received by the Trust continued to increase, with 680 completed grant applications received in 2012, compared to 618 in 2011.  National Churches Trust funding is available to churches open for worship and used by a denomination that is a member of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland.

The Annual Review gives details of other Trust work in 2012, including initiating discussion in Wales on the possible creation of a new form of support for Welsh places of worship, establishing a fundraising partnership with JustGiving to help churches set up online and text donations and the creation of a toolkit to help churches establish Friends Groups as ways of bringing in additional support, particularly from non church-goers.

2013 marks the 60th anniversary of the Trust’s foundation in 1953 as the Historic Churches Preservation Trust. Since 1953, the total of grants and loans allocated by the Trust is in excess of £37 million, which in current prices equates to over £85 million.

Grade I and unlisted buildings

In 2012, 33% of places of worship allocated funding by the National Churches Trust were Grade I listed buildings (Grade A listed in Scotland). The National Churches Trust is unusual amongst heritage grant givers in that it offers grants to unlisted buildings, and in 2012  7% of places of worship awarded or recommended for funding were unlisted.

For repair grants, work to roofs, stonework and rainwater goods were the top three types of project awarded funding . For community grants, toilets, kitchens and the provision of disabled facilities and access were the top three types of project awarded funding.

The National Churches Trust’s Annual Review also includes feature articles by journalist and political columnist Dr Simon Heffer on the need for more state intervention to ensure the good repair of churches and an examination by Paul Beckley and Nick Spencer from the Theos think tank of the way in which churches make a positive impact on local communities.  Christopher Jonas, a second career photographer whose earlier work was as a chartered surveyor, contributes an article about the community use of churches, illustrated by a series of his own impressionistic ‘slow shutter’ photographs.

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

“As we celebrate our 60th anniversary, we also look to the future. Our aim is to continue supporting churches, chapels and meeting houses for many decades to come, so that they remain at the heart of the communities for which they were built and can continue to play an integral part in all our lives.”

“In continuing times of economic uncertainty we are pleased that we have maintained the level of support we are able to provide by way of grants.”

“Places of worship are valued for many reasons. It was therefore gratifying that in June 2013 so many eminent, well known and respected figures from the worlds of politics, entertainment, journalism, academia as well as religious denominations took part in  our ‘The UK’s Favourite Churches ’ initiative.”

“The National Churches Trust, the only national, independent, non-profit organisation supporting church buildings across the UK, receives no financial support from government or church authorities. I would like to thank our donors, Friends and supporters for their continuing generous support which makes our work possible. “

“The last year has seen an increasing interest in helping us to support churches, chapels and meeting houses across the UK. Over the next year I hope that more people will choose to support the National Churches Trust, whether it is by becoming a Friend, making a donation, volunteering, attending an event, or simply by enjoying visiting churches.”