The Church of England has awarded £9 million to dioceses for repairs and specialist advice to parishes, it was announced today.
A total of £2.8 million has been allocated for 30 Church Buildings Support Officers across the country to give specialist advice on the management, conservation, repair and development of church buildings, including community use alongside worship.
A further £6.2 million has been allocated across 41 dioceses for making grants of up to £12,000 for repairs to churches. The grants will focus on small-scale but urgent works and ‘stitch in time’ projects that could save larger sums in the long term. The fund will also be able to help cover the cost of essential improvements for the mission and ministry of a church.
The grants come from the £11 million Buildings for Mission, funded by the Church Commissioners and administered by the Archbishops’ Council over the period 2023 to 2025.
Emily Gee, Director for Cathedrals and Church Buildings for the Church of England, said: “Buildings for Mission will help to fund the repair and improvement of church buildings through the dioceses, as well as to boost professional advice and grant money for rural and urban church buildings most in need.
“Churches are wonderfully supported, year in year out, by volunteers who give their time and financial support so generously. This funding will help foster robust and flourishing congregations and release resources, energy and potential for mission and outreach.”
The Bishop of Ramsbury, Andrew Rumsey, joint lead bishop for Church Buildings, said: “Our churches and cathedrals are invaluable signs of our Christian presence and heritage. It is essential that we protect and sustain them as centres for worship and community service.
“This programme aims to reduce the burden of buildings management on parishes and dioceses – through better support arrangements and technical systems, as well as providing funding for minor repairs and project development.
“With more church buildings officers in dioceses, I believe we can help parishes to apply for external funding, plan buildings projects and see more churches flourish as houses of hope and holiness.”
Grants for church buildings support officers have been awarded to 30 dioceses:: Blackburn, Bristol and Salisbury (joint application for two shared posts) Canterbury, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Chichester, Coventry and Worcester (shared post), Derby, Durham, Ely, Exeter (two posts) Gloucester, Hereford, Liverpool, Leeds, Lichfield, Newcastle, Norwich, Portsmouth, Rochester, Sodor and Man, Southwark, Southwell and Nottingham, St Albans, St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, Truro and Winchester, York.
The Diocesan Giving and Income Generation Officer Philip Longworth said that “the Diocese of Sodor and Man is delighted to have been successful in our application for this grant which will enable us to offer practical support to parishes on the Island regarding their buildings and project management. Whilst the amount of funding is limited our aim is to strive to use this resource in a focused way to deliver the greatest possible impact.”