The project, which will run over three years, includes a new grants fund which will offer between £500 - £10,000 for repairs and maintenance to help keep churches in good condition and so prevent expensive repairs.
Maintenance and interpretation
‘Treasure Ireland' will also offer training and mentoring to help people who look after places of worship. This will include developing skills on writing funding bids, maintenance and interpretation and tourism.
The project also aims to increase the number of people visiting churches in Northern Ireland for days out or as part of a holiday. At least 100 churches will be added to the National Churches Trust’s ExploreChurches website providing visitors with a one stop digital gateway into discovering the architecture and history of Northern Ireland’s religious heritage.
National Lottery Heritage Fund
‘Treasure Ireland’ is funded jointly by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Pilgrim Trust, the Department for Communities and the National Churches Trust.
Michael Murray, Deputy Chief Executive of the National Churches Trust said:
“ The National Churches Trust is the UK’s church support charity. It is great news that the National Heritage Lottery Fund and the Pilgrim Trust have given their backing and financial support to ‘Treasure Ireland’ .
"This project aims to change the dynamic of church heritage in Northern Ireland so that more churches and chapels can be kept in good condition and their architecture and history appreciated by more people. A big thank you to all our partners in Northern Ireland who have taken part in meetings of the NI Places of Worship Forum and who have helped to make ‘Treasure Ireland’ possible."
The Treasure Ireland project is due to go live later in 2020 when further details will be available. It will be managed by Nigel Mills, Senior Church Support Officer at the National Churches Trust.