Historic churches in danger as heritage funding cutbacks hit

A severe shortage of funding is endangering keeping the UK's historic churches in good repair.

The National Churches Trust says the total number of applications it received for its grant programmes increased by 24% in 2018 from the previous year, with 593 applications made and that over the last two years applications have increased by 56%.

It cited less money from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, changes to the Trust's grant programmes and greater awareness how the Trust can help as well.

Luke March, Chairman of the National Churches Trust said: "At a time when so many public buildings are closing and high streets are losing their shops, church buildings are places where people can meet, collaborate and build community, as well as continue to worship. That is why it is so important to keep them open and in good repair."



"The funding of urgent repairs of church buildings remains a source of great concern. Following the decision by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to end its ring-fenced Grants to Places of Worship scheme, and the ending of the Government supported Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund, the Trust has seen a very large increase in demand for its grants."

"Although congregations and charitable trusts continue to provide substantial financial support to churches, there continues to be a need for funding from national heritage bodies."

"Direct state support continues through the refunding of VAT on repairs, administered by the Listed Places of Worship Grants Scheme. But this is only guaranteed until 2020."

"The Trust will continue to make the case for church buildings as the Government embarks on a new spending review in 2019."

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