THERE is a wonderful flurry - and it is not snow, but
the opportunity to make an application to a generous but
short-lived government fund for roofs and rainwater
THE sum of £15 million is available for grants of between
£10,000 and £100,000, but the challenge is that all applications
have to be in by noon on 30 January 2015. This offer may not be
repeated, as the fund is disposing of the underspend on the Listed
Places of Worship Grant Scheme, which repays VAT on church building
The guidelines and application form - the online application
form comes out on 22 December, but is available to look at now -
are available at www.lpowroof.org.uk. The form is very reminiscent
of the Joint Repair Scheme form, and is well formulated. Some of
the criteria that that scheme asked for before applying are built
into the post-grant-offer time. Here are a few key points that may
First, the church must be listed.
Although the application time is extremely short, the time
available for delivering the project once a grant is awarded is not
If you have tender documents that price your roof- and/or
rainwater-goods project, or can get a good budget within the
timescale by employing a quantity surveyor for a day, this is the
basic. Your architect will have to detail the works to RIBA work
stage 3; this is to ensure that you have asked for enough money to
complete the work. If you do not get a grant, you will have to find
some money yourselves to pay the architect for this preparatory
work; so check the amount that will be incurred.
Your most recent quinquennial inspection report should identify
the urgency of the works (the most urgent projects will get
priority), and, if it is not clear, or is out of date, get a letter
from your inspecting architect stating the urgency. You will also
require a letter from your archdeacon, or equivalent, supporting
There is a "development stage" after the grant is awarded, so
that essential surveys, the specification of works, and a faculty
can be prepared (there is a note on bats). The scheme is being
managed by the National Heritage Memorial Fund, which also manages
the Heritage Lottery Fund Grants to Listed Places of Worship.
The application asks for photos of your church, inside and out,
and it would be advantageous to include some of the repair work.
Ensure that you use one of these bright clear winter days to get
some high-quality photos - and you could include one or two of
people using the church.
Projects are assessed on four grounds: the urgency of the
identified repair need; the need for public money (if you have
enough in your building fund already, don't apply); that the
project is well planned (ensure you run through this with your
architect); and the financial realism of the project.
It will help your bid if you can contribute some funds
yourselves, but don't be unrealistic about raising other funds, as
the scheme can pay out up to 100 per cent of what is needed, minus
any reclaimable VAT. Similar issues seem to be arising in the
Heritage Lottery Fund Scheme, as churches ask for an
unrealistically low figure and struggle to raise their share.
Start now, read the guidelines and the form, meet your
architect, and get going on the RIBA stage 3 work and the realistic
budget. You have time to do everything really well in order to get
ahead in what will be a scramble of a competition.
By the way, this is a great opportunity for churches that do not
accept lottery funds to have a sizeable grant that is not usually
available to them.
Issues and questions to