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.

Building capacity for places of worship in Northern Ireland

In March 2018 the National Churches Trust and a group of faith and heritage organisations and professionals set up a framework to develop a future strategic action plan to build resilience for places of worship in Northern Ireland.

This short term project, funded by the Department for Communities, formed a steering group which met to plan a Places of Worship Forum, which will allow faith and heritage organisations to share information about funding and caring for historic church buildings.

A first meeting of the Places of Worship Forum took place in May 2018. 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.

Online survey

The National Churches Trust 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.

Series of recommendations

The research findings and a series of recommendations will be published and explored further by the Places of Worship Forum at their first meeting with a view to connecting local faith communities with the right tools, resources and funding to help them to look after their church buildings.

For more information, please contact Alison Pollard on alison.pollard@nationalchurchestrust.org or 020 7222 0605.

  • Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, Magheralin, County Down BT67 0QJ

  • Killelagh Parish Church, Swatragh, Londonderry, BT46 5AT