Funding repairs is 'top problem' facing church buildings
A new online poll from the National Churches' Trust has found that funding repairs is the biggest problem facing the UK's church buildings, alongside declining congregations and a shortage of volunteers
The National Churches' Trust is a charity which supports places of worship of historic, architectural and community value used by Christian denominations in the UK. It provides grants for urgent repairs each year.
In its poll people were asked to identify what they thought was the biggest problem facing the UK's church buildings.
The top problems were identified as:
Not enough money available for repairs – (identified as top problem by 32% of people)
Declining congregations – (identified as top problem by 26% of people)
Shortage of volunteers to help look after church buildings – (identified as top problem by 16% of people)
Lack of modern facilities – (identified as top problem by 14% of people)
Lead theft – (identified as top problem by 8% of people)
Claire Walker, Chief Executive of the National Churches Trust said, 'The result of our online poll is further evidence that it is becoming increasingly difficult to raise money to carry out repairs to church buildings.
'Over the last two years, there has been a 56 per cent increase in applications for our grants, with numbers rising from 381 in 2016 to 593 in 2018. One of the reasons for this increase is that less money is available from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the end of Government backed schemes such as the Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund.
'Declining congregations and the shortage of volunteers to look after church buildings are also identified as major problems in our online poll. We should all care about the heritage of churches and chapels. So regardless of whether or not you belong to a church, why not volunteer to help look after your local church or chapel?
'Our nation’s religious heritage belongs to all of us and is too precious to lose.'
251 people took part in the online poll, which ran from 21 February to 12 March 2019 on the National Churches Trust's website.