We have received our updated Quinquennial report, and it is clearly
time to address some serious repairs to our church. It is listed, but only
Grade-II. Can you advise us on how to get going?
BEGIN by identifying from the report a big area of work that could be
identified as a single project. Employ a quantity surveyor to give you an
indicative budget for this piece of work. He or she will need to work on this
with your architect. (Do not be tempted to ask your architect for the budget.)
Ask your architect to give a one-page summary of the work to accompany the
The Joint Repair Scheme of English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery fund is
the biggest source of outside funding for church repairs. Significant
additional funding comes from trusts such as Historic Churches Preservation
Trust, and the Garfield Weston Foundation. Then there are county trusts and
landfill-tax grants in some places.
With the report, the description of the selected project, and the indicative
budget, you are now ready to apply to the Joint Scheme. The forms and
guidelines are available through the English Heritage website. Grade-I and -II*
churches should apply by the end of June; Grade-II churches by the end of
The odds are very good that most churches that apply will get a significant
(i.e. more than 50 per cent) contribution towards the cost of the work. The
response will take about six months from those dates. Other outside
fund-raising should wait till after English Heritage responds, as its
involvement increases the chance other trusts will contribute.
Don't waste the intervening six months. Use the summer for local fundraising
with social and cultural events. These will raise the profile of the church and
its needs. Use the time also to research local and national trusts that may
contribute. Most are now accessible on the internet. Researchers for repairs to
listed buildings can use either the www. churchcare.co.uk website or www.
ffhb.org.uk; the latter is the web address for Funds for Historic Buildings. Or
you could use my book, The UK Church Fundraising Handbook.
When you hear that you have been awarded a Joint Scheme grant, meet the
architect and surveyor, as well as the Vicar and churchwardens, and go through
the conditions of the grant in line-by-line detail, ensuring everyone knows
what they are doing and by when. (Each year several churches lose their grants
by not complying with these conditions.)
The architect will push forward the design work, gain a faculty, and prepare
to go to tender, consulting English Heritage. The PCC will have to approve
various principles and understand its part in the work.
Last, but not least, you will have at this point just one year to raise all
the remaining money for the project in order to take up the Joint Scheme offer
within the contractual conditions. Being systematic and meeting regularly to
check progress will help.