Seven of Cornwall’s churches have received almost half a million pounds of funding aimed at helping them to undertake urgent repairs to their roofs. DSC00077

Boconnoc Parish Church near Lostwithiel, St Breaca Church in Breage, St Piran’s Church in Tintagel, St Dominca Church in St Dominic, St Gulval Church in Gulval, St Carantoc in Crantock and St German’s Priory near Saltash have been successful in the first round of funding receiving £492,700, from £37,000 to £100,000 each towards the urgent repair of roofs, gutters and drains.

The seven churches are part of 372 churches across England set to receive the grants in the first round of awards from the Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund announced by the Chancellor George Osborne this week. The money is part of a £30 million funding package with a second round of funding worth £25 million set to open for 2015-16.

Archdeacon Bill Stuart-White said: “This is really good news for the successful churches. Having the funding to address the issues of leaking roofs will free the congregations to concentrate more fully on their primary calling to worship and mission.

We know that many of those who worked hard on their applications for this round of funding will be disappointed, but we are very hopeful that the extension to the Scheme announced recently will enable many more Cornish Churches to benefit.”

Around 12,000 of the Church of England’s 16,000 parish churches are listed and 806 of these were included on the 2014 Heritage at Risk Register prepared by English Heritage. This highlighted the impact of leaks from roofs as the principal cause of decay in historic churches.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has said the funding will “create local skilled jobs, improve community facilities and protect heritage.”

The Fund, administered by the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) on behalf of the

Department for Culture, Media and Sport, was heavily oversubscribed when applications closed on January 31. The decision to increase the scheme to a total of £55 million, to be awarded over two rounds, was a response to the demand.

The Rt Hon Canon Sir Tony Baldry MP, Chair of the Church Building Council, said: “For many people the presence of a church in their community is symbolic of the nation and a source of support and comfort even for those who are not regular church-goers. We are constantly seeing what more we can do to make church buildings more serviceable to the wider community so that they can be used as much as possible, and not simply for Sunday worship. The grants will enable the recipients to continue this aim, with a safe, watertight building.”