TWO Government-funded programmes for listed places of worship, totalling almost £3 million, have been launched in response to the Taylor Review: Sustainability of English churches and cathedrals (News, 21 December 2017).
An £1.8 million pilot scheme run by Historic England will fund substantial repairs, modernisation, and community engagement for four listed Church of England churches in Greater Manchester, over 18 months. The scheme was launched by the Bishop of Manchester, Dr David Walker, at St Ann’s, earlier this month.
“We are delighted that Manchester has been chosen for this pilot to help fund urgent repairs in some of our listed buildings,” he said, “and hope that the lessons learnt from the pilot will help enable our churches to go on serving their communities for generations to come.”
The four buildings are St Clement’s, Ordsall, a grade II listed building in Salford; St Thomas’s, Halliwell, in Bolton; St Chad’s, Rochdale, a grade I listed parish church; and St Mary’s, Prestwich.
Grant funding of £1 million is also being made available through a one-off initiative from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Places of Worship: Inspiring ideas, to projects that seek to secure the future of historic places of worship in new ways.
The scheme opened last month in partnership with the Pilgrim Trust, the Plunkett Foundation, and the National Churches Trust. Grants of between £10,000 and £250,000 will be awarded to projects that have adapted to a “challenging and changeable” environment, the Heritage Lottery Fund says. The cash is to be released to single-stage projects through its existing Resilient Heritage programme.
Applicants might represent new fund-raising, trading, or other income-generating projects at historic places of worship, as well as projects concerning building management, recruiting and training staff and volunteers, growing congregations, and developing interfaith partnerships.
Single or partnered places of worship are eligible.
The scheme was introduced at the National Churches Trust Conference, in June.
One pilot project, Inspired North East, is using its National Lottery grant of £220,000 to help congregations to turn crumbling places of worship into buildings fit to be used and enjoyed by the wider community, visitors, and tourists. This includes heritage conservation and improvements to facilities and access.
The chief executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund, Ros Kerslake, said: “Building financial resilience is vital to the future of all heritage organisations. Places of worship have a particular set of challenges, but inspiring others will give congregations the tools needed to build a sustainable future.”
Interested groups should complete and submit an expression-of-interest form by 14 October. A limited number of projects will then be invited to complete a full application.