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National Churches Trust awards £421k in grants to churches for repair work and updating

09 January 2023


St Mary the Virgin, Whissonsett, Norfolk

St Mary the Virgin, Whissonsett, Norfolk

URGENT repairs to keep church buildings watertight, deal with drainage, and add new lavatories are to be paid for from £421,000 of funding awarded by the National Churches Trust (NCT).

Forty-nine churches, chapels, and meeting houses in the UK will share the grant money, which was announced just before Christmas. Three of the recipients are on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk register.

Among the beneficiaries is St Mark’s, Shelton, in Stoke on Trent, which is known as the “Potter’s Cathedral.” The church is one of a series of “Commissioners” churches, built in the 19th century in the expanding pottery towns. It contains three large terracotta reliefs created by the English ceramic artist George Tinworth, and a number of Victorian Minton tiles, which were produced within a mile of the church.

The tower of St Mark’s now needs urgent repair work, as the public have had to be kept away owing to falling pieces of masonry. St Mark’s has been awarded £30,000 towards the repair works.

At St Berteline and St Christopher’s, Runcorn, in Cheshire, a £25,000 grant will pay for community facilities, including accessible lavatories, and a larger kitchen so that it can better serve its community. St Bert’s, as it is known, is located in an area of high social deprivation.

NATIONAL CHURCHES TRUSTAll Saints’, East Pennard, Somerset

In Cumbria, a Quaker meeting house in the village of Crawshawbooth is to receive £10,000 towards accessible lavatories and a kitchen. St Mary’s Meeting Room, in Cobham, Surrey, has been given £15,000 towards accessible facilities. The church is a rare surviving example of a “tin tabernacle”: a church produced in kit form from corrugated iron and shipped ready for assembly.

In Norfolk, £25,000 has been awarded to St Andrew’s, Hingham, to create community facilities and turn the large medieval church into a Christian centre and community hub.

In Somerset, a National Churches Trust Cornerstone Grant of £5276 will help to pay for urgent repairs to the roof of St Peter and St Paul’s, Wincanton. The church also receives a £10,000 Wolfson Fabric Repair Grant from the Wolfson Foundation, on the recommendation of the NCT.

In Hastings, His Place Community Church, which is on the Heritage at Risk register, is being awarded £27,200 to pay for urgent repairs to the tower.

The BBC News presenter Huw Edwards, who is vice-president of the NCT, said: “The grants awarded will help fund urgent repairs and installing modern community facilities. This will safeguard unique local heritage and keep churches open and in use for the benefit of local people.

“The National Churches Trust helps hundreds of historic churches each year, and with the support of local people keeps them thriving today, and tomorrow.”

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