Lottery cash fills church repair funding gap

The Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage have announced more than £1.9m in grant support will go to 13 Grade 1 and 2*-listed places of worship across the North West.

The grants were awarded under the organisations' joint Repair Grants for Places of Worship scheme.

Following cuts to EH's budget, the Heritage Lottery Fund provided an extra £9m to maintain the £25m value of the total grants budget for 2010/11; further funds will be offered to Grade 2 places of worship in March. HLF has also confirmed that it will continue its increased level of support in future years. This means that despite English Heritage having to withdraw most of its contribution for new awards from now on, the scheme can continue in its current form. There will be no reduction in expert advice English Heritage staff and local support officers give to congregations all over the North West.

Places of worship getting grants for urgent repairs this year include St Chad's Church in Farndon, near Chester, where the base of the tower dates back to the 1340s.

St Chad's houses the white stone effigy of 14th century knight Sir Patrick Barton. During the Civil War in the 17th Century soldiers were billeted inside and fighting reached the churchyard causing such damage that in 1648 the church had to be completely rebuilt except for the tower. The church has been awarded grand funding to repair the tower roof and the painted Civil War window depicting Royalists and pikemen from the time. The grant of £35,000 will significantly help St Chad's with the repairs.

The full list of grants in this round are as follows:

  • All Saints' Church, Trafford, £197,000
  • Christ Church, Bury, £123,000
  • Church of All saints, Bury, £183,000
  • Church of St Chad, Chester, £35,000
  • Church of St Mary and St Bartholomew, Bury, £183,000
  • Church of St Mary and St Bega, Copeland, £19,000
  • Church of St Oswald, Warrington, £366,000
  • Parish Church of St Mary, Stockport, £194,000
  • St Ann's Church, Manchester, £186,000
  • St Bridget's Old Church, Carlisle, £103,000
  • St Helen's Church, Chester, £48,000
  • St Mary Magdalene, Clitheroe, £142,000
  • St Philip with Stephen, Salford, £130,000

Henry Owen-John, regional director of English Heritage North West, said: "Thanks to the generosity of the Heritage Lottery Fund, and ultimately therefore of Lottery players, our historic places of worship in direct need still have the vital safety net of the Repair Grants scheme. Without it, many brave but struggling congregations would be faced with watching their beloved churches and chapels falling into ruin. Instead, the combination of Heritage Lottery Fund money and English Heritage advice is seeing these wonderful buildings revived and restored and becoming ever more central to their communities as places of prayer and celebration and as a hub for local services."

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