Helping churches and chapels in Northern Ireland
The National Churches Trust has been supporting churches and chapels in Northern Ireland for many years. Since 2007, we have helped many places of worship in Northern Ireland with funding for urgent repairs. You can see the places of worship we have helped on our interactive map.
Promoting maintenance - Ulster Historic Churches Trust Maintenance PIlot
From 2017 onwards we have been working in partnership with the Ulster Historic Churches Trust and the Pilgrim Trust on a Maintenance Pilot. The pilot has explored the use of drones for high level inspections. It also helps with planning and delivery of works and each building taking part is supported by small maintenance grants. So far the pilot has assisted 16 churches. Now in its third year, thanks to funding from the Pilgrim Trust, the Ulster Historic Churches Trust is working with the following churches:
- West Church, 3rd Ballymena Presbyterian Church, Ballymena;
- Craigs Parish Church;
- St James, Dunaghy;
- Killagan Parish Church;
- The Mall Presbyterian Church, Armagh;
- St Malachy's Church, Armagh;
- Conlig Presbyterian Church;
- St Patrick's, Newtownards
Building capacity for places of worship in Northern Ireland
In March 2018, as a short term project funded by the Department for Communities, the National Churches Trust worked with faith and heritage organisations and professionals to start to set up a framework for a future strategic action plan to build resilience for places of worship in Northern Ireland. We created a new Places of Worship Forum, which will allow faith and heritage organisations to share information about funding and caring for historic church buildings. Organisations that have contributed include the Ulster Historic Churches Trust, the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society, the Diocese of Down and Connor, the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Architectural Heritage Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
In 2019 we are delighted to be working with the Department for Communities again on the next phase. If you want to become involved these are the next events:
- Planning and Funding Regular Maintenance and Minor Repairs - 7 October 2019 at Mount Merrion Parish Church. See here for further details and to book your FREE place
- Northern Ireland Places of Worship Forum - 8 October 2019 at Mount Merrion Parish Church. See here for further details and to book your FREE place
As part of the 2018 project we conducted research into the challenges faced by places of worship in Northern Ireland. An online survey for volunteers and staff at individual places of worship across Christian traditions identified key common concerns and needs.
Two focus group sessions were held at May Street Presbyterian Church, which has successfully applied for public and National Churches Trust funding. Each was attended by ten church representatives from a range of traditions and urban and rural areas of Northern Ireland. The focus groups provided an opportunity for in-depth research, and were also training opportunities that combined learning from professional conservation accredited professionals, and learning from peers who had been in similar situations.
Chris McCollum of award winning Chris McCollum Chartered Building Surveyors Ltd provided expert advice and guidance on managing successful capital building projects and maintaining historic buildings.
Arthur Acheson of the May Street Presbyterian Church explained how they achieved their recent successful roof and rainwater goods project which had threatened closure for their Grade A listed Belfast city centre church. Read a case study.