REQUESTS for grants to install lavatories and repair roofs top
the list of applications approved by the National Churches Trust,
its annual review for 2013-2014 reports.
And, while they might seem the most mundane, they are vital in
ensuring that churches continue their good work, the Trust's chief
executive, Claire Walker, said.
"Toilets can help churches, chapels, and meeting houses
survive," she said. "Toilets allow churches to become more
welcoming to worshippers, especially those with young children, and
to people attending weddings or christenings. They are also
essential for churches wanting to increase use by the wider local
community: for example, by hosting playgroups, local clubs, or
charities, and events such as concerts."
The 139 grants, totalling £1,557,000, awarded or recommended by
the Trust during 2013, included cash for 81 lavatories and 162 roof
"Churches, chapels, and meeting houses are full of history, but
the people looking after them know that buildings can't be stuck in
the past," Ms Walker said. "Many of these buildings have adapted
and changed over the decades and centuries. Installing modern
facilities, such as toilets and kitchens, and improving access are
essential to increasing their use and safeguarding their
"Churches are at the heart of their communities, and bring
people together in a way that makes life better. So it is crucial
to keep churches repaired. If a church roof leaks, then the
building gets damaged, and you get a bigger problem. That's why, in
2013, we continued to help churches become wind- and watertight,
with roof repairs topping the list of requests made to our Repair
and Cornerstone Grant programmes. These programmes funded urgent
work at some of the UK's most beautiful and historically
"The amount of funding required by churches, chapels, and
meeting houses in the United Kingdom for repairs and installing
modern facilities such as toilets and catering facilities, and
improving access, is huge."
This summer, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Sir Tony
Baldry, told MPs that the Church of England's 12,500 listed
churches alone faced an estimated repair bill of £60 million.