New sys­tem to help churches im­prove

The Church of England - - NEWS -

CHURCHES WILL now be able to ap­ply for grant money from the Her­itage Lot­tery Fund (HLF) to con­struct toi­lets, kitchens and other im­prove­ment projects to al­low his­toric build­ings to be more “user friendly” to the com­mu­nity.

On 24 De­cem­ber 2012, the HLF said it would in­vest £30mil­lion in 2013 “to help breathe new life” into Bri­tain’s his­toric churches. The money will go in to places of wor­ship across the UK.

The HLF said it was end­ing its Re­pair Grants for Places of Wor­ship scheme, re­plac­ing it with a Grants for Places of Wor­ship pro­gramme. While pri­or­ity would still be given for struc­tural re­pairs, the new pro­gramme wel­comes ap­pli­ca­tions that “will im­prove the func­tion­al­ity of listed places of wor­ship mak­ing them fit for the fu­ture.

“Works could in­clude the pro­vi­sion of toi­lets and kitchens, im­prove­ments to heat­ing or elec­tri­cal sys­tems and mea­sures to im­prove en­ergy ef­fi­ciency that will en­able th­ese spe­cial build­ings to be used as com­mu­nity spa­ces.”

Listed places of wor­ship in the UK of all de­nom­i­na­tions and faiths are el­i­gi­ble for grants from the HLF to sup­port ur­gent re­pairs to the fab­ric of the build­ing with a fo­cus on projects cost­ing less than £250,000. There is a twostage ap­pli­ca­tion process with devel­op­ment fund­ing avail­able at Stage One to help work up pro­pos­als. Un­der the new pro­gramme, ap­pli­ca­tions can now be submitted for new cap­i­tal works but th­ese should cost no more than around 15 per cent of the to­tal over­all bud­get.

Es­tab­lished in 1994, the HLF grant in aid pro­gramme has in­vested more than £400mil­lion in over 3,700 places of wor­ship across Bri­tain and North­ern Ire­land.

Crispin Tr uman, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of the Churches Con­ser­va­tion Tr ust, wel­comed the new guide­lines. “I’m de­lighted that this vi­tal pro­gramme for his­toric places of wor­ship in ur­gent need of re­pair and im­prove­ment has been re­launched by the Her­itage Lot­tery Fund. The new scheme re­sponds clearly to the needs of 21st-cen­tury com­mu­ni­ties and puts im­por­tant em­pha­sis on ex­tended use and sus­tain­abil­ity.”

The Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of the HLF, Ca­role Souter, said the HLF knew that churches “need money for vi­tal re­pairs, but we also know that much can be achieved with rel­a­tively mod­est in­vest­ment to help th­ese much-loved build­ings reach out to new gen­er­a­tions and be­come truly flex­i­ble places for com­mu­ni­ties to use in a wider va­ri­ety of ways. Our new places of wor­ship pro­gramme will help peo­ple to en­joy and re­vi­talise th­ese build­ings, en­abling them to be­come the bustling hubs they de­serve to be for the fu­ture.”

Ap­pli­ca­tions for as­sis­tance will be as­sessed four times a year, the HLF said, with the first ap­pli­ca­tion for as­sis­tance set for 28 Fe­bru­ary 2013 for Eng­land.

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