Wolfson Fabric Repair Grants
From 2020 grants made by the Wolfson Foundation to churches will be awarded by the National Churches Trust. Grants will be awarded towards essential fabric repairs at churches in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
These grants are usually up to £10,000 and are offered in partnership with the Wolfson Foundation. Historic places of worship can apply for a Wolfson grant via the National Churches Trust’s Gateway and Cornerstone grant programmes (depending on the size of the project). In 2020 there will be two deadline and decision dates.
The Wolfson Foundation grants can be allocated to fabric repairs at church buildings of all Christian denominations. They must be of heritage significance and listed Grade I or II* in England and Wales, Grade A or B+ listed in Northern Ireland, and Grade A or B listed in Scotland.
Repairs will usually be identified as Category A or B recommendations in the most recent Quinquennial Inspection report, or as urgent repairs in condition surveys. Typically projects include roof repairs, masonry repairs, rainwater disposal and drainage, and floorwork.
The National Churches Trust’s core programme criteria will apply, these include:
- Projects must be overseen by an architect with appropriate conservation accreditation
- 50% of the required funding needs to have been secured at point of application
- Permissions must be in place
What we do not fund
- Projects that have benefited from a ChurchCare/Wolfson Foundation fabric repairs grant within the previous five years
- Projects that have benefited from a Wolfson Foundation capital grant within the previous five years
- Wolfson funds do not fund the renewal of heating and lighting, or the installation of facilities, e.g. WCs (though these might still be eligible via our Cornerstone Grant Programme), access improvements etc.
- Any Category D (or lower) recommendation arising from a QI report
- VAT recovery
Our Assessment Criteria
The National Churches Trust’s scoring criteria apply, these can be found in the relevant guidance note. These take into account:
- Significance of the building
- Urgency of the proposed works
- Need for the works
- Appropriateness of the proposals
- Financial need of the parish - we use a parish’s financial situation and the UK Government’s Index of Multiple Deprivation as indicators to assist this process.
Decisions and Deadlines
In 2020 there will be two application rounds (from 2021 there will be three application rounds per year).
For projects costing up to £100,000: applicants will apply through the Gateway Grant Programme and the first deadline will be 10 September May 2020, and second deadline will be 10 September.
For projects costing over £100,000: applicants will apply through the Cornerstone Grant Programme and the first deadline will be 2 March 2020, and second deadline will be 6 July.
The first decisions for both will be made in July, with the second decisions made in November. Applications will be considered for funding both from Wolfson and the National Churches Trust.
Please see the Gateway and Cornerstone Grant programme pages for the guidance notes and specific details about eligibility, scoring criteria and conditions of a grant.
Conditions of Award
These terms and conditions are subject to change. The grant offer letter will contain the most up to date version. Please see the programme guidance note for the current list:
- You must not have started the works before the application deadline. You may have started the work at the time of award, but we cannot pay for work that has already been completed at this time
- We encourage the production of a maintenance plan (templates can be found here)
- All grantees will be asked to register for free with ExploreChurches and MaintenanceBooker.
How to Apply
Apply online via the Gateway Grant Programme for projects costing between £10,000 and £100,000
Apply online via the Cornerstone Grant Programme for projects costing over £100,000
Questions can be viewed in advance. Do please read the guidance notes.
You will be prompted to upload the following information:
- Architect's specification/schedule of works
- Latest quinquennial inspection report
- Statement of your church’s most recent annual audited accounts
- A copy of permissions
- Images of the exterior and interior of your church
- A plan and/or elevation of your church clearly showing the location of the proposed works, if applicable
- A grant offer letter from the Heritage Lottery Fund of other major funder, if applicable
What is the Wolfson Fabric Repair Grants Programme?
The Wolfson Foundation Fabric Repairs Grants Programme has been administered by the Cathedral & Church Buildings Division (ChurchCare) of the Church of England since 2000. For details of their previous awards, see their annual report
From 2020 administration of the Wolfson Foundation funds for fabric repairs has moved to the National Churches Trust.
Why is this happening?
We know how challenging applying for grants can be for parishes, with applications having to be made to many funding bodies. We have worked with the Wolfson Foundation and ChurchCare on this change to deliver a simplified funding application process for fabric repairs. This move cuts down on the number of applications parishes need to make, to access two funding pots. The Church of England supports these changes.
Who do I apply to for a grant?
Applications are made via our Gateway or Cornerstone grant application forms depending on the size of the repair project.
I have a ChurchCare Wolfson grant. What happens to this grant?
All grants currently awarded are unaffected by these changes in administration. ChurchCare continues to be the main point of contact for the grants already awarded, or currently pending. Please continue to contact the Conservation Grants Administrator at the Cathedral & Church Buildings Division of the Church of England (also known as ChurchCare) with any enquiries and for claims. All grants awarded will be paid by them, subject to the terms & conditions in the award letter.
I have an application pending with ChurchCare for a Wolfson grant, can I still apply?
ChurchCare’s final deadline was on 27 January 2020. If you have an application currently pending with ChurchCare for Wolfson funds you can still apply to the National Churches Trust. If you are successful, you will only be considered for National Churches Trust funds as you cannot be awarded two Wolfson grants. However, if you are unsuccessful for a ChurchCare grant, you will be considered for both the National Churches Trust and Wolfson Foundation grants.
I already have a ChurchCare fabric repairs grant, can I apply for an NCT fabric repairs grant?
If you have been awarded a ChurchCare fabric repairs grant or a Wolfson Foundation capital grant within the last 5 years, you will not be eligible for another grant from the Wolfson Foundation. However, you can still apply for National Churches Trust funding.
Will there be a reduction in funding available?
No. The Wolfson Foundation is continuing to provide £400,000 per year towards the fabric repair of historic church buildings. In 2020, £200,000 will be administered by each organisation.
The Church of England’s conservation grants programmes administered by the Cathedral & Church Buildings Division (ChurchCare) will continue with its focus on conservation of historic interiors.