We love our church. But the demands for funds for
repairs and for making some improvements to the building are beyond
our means, as there are very few of us in a small village. We have
applied to the "Roof and rainwater goods" repair scheme just
offered by the Government, and that has encouraged us to think that
there may be help somewhere out there for work to provide a welcome
area with a small servery and a lavatory at the back of the church;
this would make so much difference to people who want to use the
church. Where do we go next?
THE one-off "Roof and rainwater goods" grant scheme has
encouraged many churches to apply; sadly, not all of them will be
successful. But do not lose heart. These kinds of building works
are covered by the Heritage Lottery Fund's Grants for Places of
Worship Scheme, and the form is not too different from the work you
have already done for your first application.
If you receive a letter turning you down on the "Roof and
rainwater goods" scheme, fill in the enquiry form on the Heritage
Lottery Fund's website, and plough on.
Capitalise, also, on the energy that you have built up to start
looking at the church's facilities, and where you might get help.
The Landfill Communities Fund (LCF) grants do help churches with
quite significant funds (usually not enough to complete larger
churches' projects, but often adequate for small buildings). This
fund seems to be changing, however, and has less money available
for the future.
As landfill operators are turning to the new-generation
incinerators, they require far less landfill capacity; so the
landfill tax allowance that has funded the Community Grant Schemes
is reduced. Check by visiting the Entrust website
(www.entrust.org.uk), and look for potential funds in your area by
entering the church's postcode. Follow the trail, and most of the
companies that operate LCF have staff who will help with the
directions and answer questions.
All these funding streams have their own particular internal
logic, which is not always intelligible to the inexperienced.
The National Churches Trust is now the portal through which to
gain access to WREN (Waste Recycling Environmental Limited)
Landfill Community Fund grants for church repair. There is a WREN
scheme that will support community-facilities works in churches; so
check which stream you need. For repairs, you make one application
on the National Churches Trust application form, and the people at
National Churches Trust will forward appropriate bids to WREN.
Presumably, they will check that the nature of the works covered
by your bid are eligible, and also that the church is
geographically near enough to an operational landfill site.
As you prepare a building project, do have in mind that you will
be able to claim most of the VAT from the Listed Places of Worship
Grant Scheme. Note that many churches have not, up until now,
claimed grant money to which they are entitled. Don't miss out.
And, when you plan the cashflow for your project, it is worth
knowing that the Scheme, which was once marvellous at turning round
applications swiftly, is taking months rather than days to
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