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Grant Funding for Church Buildings

Grants are one of the key means of funding church building projects. They are generally awarded either for repair projects, or for alterations that will open up a church building for wider use. These grants can help you to generate income that cannot be raised locally and can act as a catalyst in engaging the congregation and local community with your building.

There are a large number of grants available for a wide range of church building projects. Depending on the size of the project, the grants available can generally range from £500 to £250,000. However, it is worth bearing in mind that many grant organisations receive more applications than they can fund, Applying for grants is a competitive process, so it is important to ensure that all applications are good quality. Different types of projects will require applications to different funders with differing priorities and criteria.

 

6 Key Application Tips

  • Speak to the local community about your project to gather wider support
  • Check the priorities of each grant funder and tailor your applications accordingly
  • Try to speak with the funder over the phone before writing your application
  • Demonstrate the need for your project and provide evidence for your claims
  • Ask somebody to check your draft application before submitting
  • Make sure to supply all of the additional documents requested

 

Grants Directories

The ‘Charitable Grants for Churches’ document below provides details of all of the organisations providing grant funds for repairs or alterations to church buildings, as well as funds towards the conservation of fixtures and fittings, and religious activities. Information is provided about the grants criteria for each organisation, as well as the amount of money they will generally award, and how to apply to them.

Download ‘Charitable Grants for Churches’ document here

 

A document providing a list of ‘Local Grants for Historic Churches’ has also been developed for the Diocese of Peterborough.

Download ‘Local Grants for Historic Churches’ document here 

 

Grants for Repair Projects

Repairs are a necessary but costly part of caring for your church building. Sometimes the cost of these repairs, such as if your roof needs to be replaced, can be much higher than the amount available in PCC funds and therefore grant funding will often be necessary. Many grant funders will give priority to the most urgent repair projects, which are generally identified as necessary within two years in your most recent Quinquennial Inspection report. It is also common for these grant funders to expect to see a commitment towards allowing the local community to access the building, such as leaving the church open at least 40 days per year.

Some of the key repair grant organisations to consider include the National Churches Trust, Northamptonshire Historic Churches Trust and Church Buildings Council.

 

Heritage Lottery Fund

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is the largest potential grant funder for repair and conservation projects within church buildings. They have a number of grant schemes that may be suitable for church building projects, listed below:

  • ‘Our Heritage’ - Grants of up to £100,000 for repair or conservation of specific historic items within the church, or for projects that will engage the community with the heritage of your church building.
  • ‘Heritage Grants’ – Grants of £100,000-£5million for large scale heritage projects, such as urgent structural repairs to historic church buildings.
  • ‘Resilient Heritage’ – Grants of £3,000-£250,000 to strengthen your organisation and build capacity. Could include funding for feasibility studies to consider new uses of church buildings, or to consider partnerships with other organisations for shared use of a church building. www.hlf.org.uk

 

Grants for Improved Facilities

Many churches are now developing projects to install new facilities such as toilets and serveries in their church buildings. As well as benefitting the congregation, these facilities can enable a church building to host a variety of events and activities. Although the HLF do not tend to provide grants for this type of scheme, many other grant funders support projects for new facilities that benefit the local community. Therefore, it is always important when writing applications for new facilities that you can demonstrate the need for the project as well as the wider benefits it will bring to the local community. Key funders for improved facilities include landfill operators such as WREN, Augean and Mick George. The Big Lottery Fund and the National Churches Trust’s Community Grants Scheme may also be worth considering while some local councils also provide small grants.

 

Further Information

Contact Ben Smith, Historic Churches Support Officer, for further advice and guidance if you are seeking grant funding for a building project at your church

ben.smith@peterborough-diocese.org.uk

01604 887046

 

Other sources of information regarding grant funding for church buildings are listed below:

ChurchCare website - http://www.churchcare.co.uk/churches/funding-and-grants

The Heritage Alliance - http://www.theheritagealliance.org.uk/fundingdirectory

Funds for Historic Buildings - http://www.ffhb.org.uk/