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National Churches Trust dishes out £1.4 million for urgent repairs

08 December 2023

Bryan Martin

St Mary’s, Blakesley, has a decaying flue that could collapse at any moment

St Mary’s, Blakesley, has a decaying flue that could collapse at any moment

FORTY churches across the UK have been awarded grants amounting to £1.4 million, the National Churches Trust (NCT) announced this week.

The charity, which supports churches, chapels, and meeting houses of all denominations, provides grants for repair, maintenance, and modernisation.

Several recipients are Anglican churches. St Cuthbert’s, Darlington, has received £30,000 for urgent roof repairs, to help to remove the church from Historic England’s At Risk Register. Once the repairs have been made, the parish will be able to move forward with its plans to reorder the church.

Paul Gilmore, a PCC member, described the award as “wonderful news”, that would make it possible to expand its activities. “These grants will ensure the safety of the church and begin to make our ambitions possible,” he said.

In Lincolnshire, St Peter’s, Claypole, has been awarded £20,000 towards a permanent roof, to replace the PVC covering that was installed as a temporary measure after an attempted lead-theft caused damage in 2019.

Also awarded money, £10,000, for the installation of a permanent roof after lead-theft, is St Margaret’s, Hornby, in Lancashire. Its Vicar, the Revd Lucie Lunn, said: “Our outreach, worship, and funds have been clouded by the concern for the roof for several years. To know that we are able now to plan for the school’s Christmas service and other events for our community to come back into the building is an immeasurable gift.”

Other churches in need of roof repairs are St Mary-at-Finchley, in north London, and St Nicholas of Myra, Worth Matravers, in Dorset, which is temporarily closed because its roof is in danger of imminent collapse. Both receive £20,000.

St John the Baptist, Greatham, in County Durham, is to receive £14,000 to help it to overcome water damage caused by a failed drainage system. St Mary’s, Blakesley, in Northamptonshire, has been awarded £14,000 for urgent repairs to its disintegrating tower. St Bartholomew’s, Sutton-cum-Lound, in Nottinghamshire, will receive £15,000 to install a kitchen and lavatories.

The grants are the latest tranche awarded by the NCT to 180 churches this year. They are enhanced by contributions from partners including the Wolfson Foundation, the Headley Trust, and the Pilgrim Trust.

The chief executive of the NCT, Claire Walker, said: “From installing kitchens and accessible toilets to making their buildings windproof and watertight, our grants help to keep churches in good condition and serving local people.

“Whether seeking quiet reflection, access to community services or a place to worship, the National Churches Trust helps hundreds of churches each year and with the support of local people, keeps them thriving today and tomorrow.”

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