About the scheme

Why has public money been made available to repair places of worship?

There is at least one place of worship in almost every village, ward or neighbourhood throughout the country; and each year 85% of the population visits a place of worship. They are often the most distinctive building in an area, the focus for many civil and social activities as well as worship, and they provide a powerful visual connection with our past.

There are over 1,100 historic places of worship on national Buildings at Risk Registers across the UK. They need money for vital repairs. A survey of all listed places of worship in England estimated the total value of repairs to be in the region of £925m over five years. Congregations and the local communities can currently raise around half of this total, so additional investment is needed to secure the significant public benefits of historic places of worship for future generations.

Why is this fund only focusing on repairs to roofs and rainwater disposal systems?

Damage from rain water is often the main reason why historic places of worship are at risk.

Water can enter a building through broken or slipped slates or tiles; split lead coverings; or defective or blocked gutters, downpipes and drains. Rain water can quickly cause numerous problems and threaten plasterwork, wall paintings, and valuable fittings and furnishings. Damp places also provide an ideal environment for fungal growth and insect infestation, which pose a considerable risk to roof timbers and other woodwork. Masonry and brickwork will also quickly deteriorate if saturated.

Much of this decay can be slowed considerably or stopped altogether by simply preventing water coming in. Securing roofs helps to maintain the building for future generations – if done properly, for up to 100 years. A secure roof ensures that these types of buildings continue to provide a suitable environment for worship as well as wider, community activities including local social outreach and support services. A well-roofed building will not only ensure the longevity of the building but also maintain the effective integration of the place of worship with its local community. This fund will therefore deliver a lasting legacy.

How much money is available?

This second round of funding has an overall budget of £25million.

Who administers the programme?

It is administered by the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF). NHMF has considerable experience in setting up programmes in response to specific needs in order to distribute grants efficiently and effectively across the UK.

How much money can I apply for?

Grants are available for between £10,000 and £100,000. We know that some repair projects will cost more than £100,000 but we want to ensure we are able to help as many places of worship as possible. Evidence shows that modest repairs undertaken quickly will save large amounts of money in the medium to longer term.

For larger urgent repair projects where a grant in excess of £100,000 is sought, we recommend you contact your local Heritage Lottery Fund office to see whether you may be eligible to apply to one of its grant programmes.

Can I apply for a grant even if my repair project costs more than £100,000?

Yes, if you can demonstrate that you can raise the additional money to complete your project successfully. You cannot include money from the Lottery or other public funding sources, with the exception of funding from the Listed Places of Worship (VAT) Grant Scheme (see below). You will not need to have already secured your match-funding when you initially apply for a grant (refer to the application guidance for more information).

When will I know the outcome of my application?

Decisions on applications will be made at the NHMF Board meeting on 28 June 2016. We will notify applicants of our decision as soon as possible after that meeting.