Helping churches and chapels in Wales
The National Churches Trust has been supporting churches and chapels in Wales for many years. Since 2007, we have helped many places of worship in Wales with funding for urgent repairs. You can see the places of worship we have helped on our interactive map.
A selection are available to view in the slide show at the bottom of this page.
Our Work in Wales
Since 2016 the National Churches Trust, sometimes in partnership with other funders, has awarded almost £500,000 in grants to churches and chapels in Wales.
Our Experiencing Sacred Wales project aims to attract UK and international visitors to experience the wonderful sacred heritage of Wales, particularly those along and close to The Wales Way.
The National Churches Trust’s MaintenanceBooker service was launched in Wales in 2018 - it was one of the first areas in the UK to benefit from this service. This was thanks to the support of the Church in Wales and other local partners.
The National Churches Trust works as part of the Wales Places of Worship Forum and Welsh Heritage Group to share information, legislation and opportunities for Wales’s wide range of chapels and churches. Many chapels have closed over recent years and sustainable ways forward for local communities are being sought. Funding, maintenance and tourism are key topics.
Cymru Sanctaidd - Sacred Wales
In July 2017 Huw Edwards, broadcaster and journalist and Vice President of the National Churches Trust launched the 'Sacred Wales – Cymru Sanctaidd' competition, calling on the public to vote for the Welsh church or chapel they liked the most.
Tabernacle Chapel was revealed as the winner with 7,081 people voting for it as their favourite.
As part of the Sacred Wales campaign, we carried out an online survey on behalf of all the organisations working towards a more sustainable future for faith heritage in Wales. We aimed to identify the greatest needs of chapels and churches. The findings have informed the conversations of bodies and organisations working to help chapels and churches into the future.
* 50% of respondents were not attracting new volunteers.
* 60% had a project for which they are seeking funding. 65% of these were for fabric repairs and a further 38% for maintenance. 46% of projects included the introduction of new facilities.
* 41% of respondents were seeking funding for projects costing under £50,000 and 20% for projects under £100,000.
* 28% had no experience at all of making funding applications and 54% had a little experience. In terms of running a building project, 31% said neither they nor anyone in their team had any experience of this.
* 44% of respondents do not have an annual maintenance plan.
* To the open-ended question of what is the greatest challenge for their place of worship, the most common response at 32% was declining congregation numbers and attracting new members. 23% identified lack of funds and 20% maintenance and repairs as the greatest challenges.
* 32% identified attracting new users or volunteers as key to their place of worship remaining open and active within the community. A further 19% identified improved facilities, reordering or access as the most important means.
* For 31% of respondents, it was the feeling of being part of a community that was the most rewarding aspect of volunteering at their place of worship.
Find the full report here.
As part of the campaign we worked in partnership with Heritage Lottery Fund Wales to hold a one day training event on Heritage Lottery funding and National Churches Trust grants.
This event and a reception to launch the public vote to find Wales’s favourite chapel or church were held at the Cornerstone Centre, formerly a Presbyterian Chapel now part of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cardiff and a conference, arts and community hub.