Grants up to £25,000 for projects which introduce facilities to enable increased community use of places of worship in the UK, Isle of Man and Channel Islands are available with the next application deadlines of March 5, 2018 and July 2, 2018.

When social care services in an area either are reducing or simply don’t exist due to a lack of funding or policy decisions, it’s often churches that fill the void. The National Churches Trust offers a number of grant schemes.

The National Churches Trust’s Community Grants programme aims to enable increased community use of places of worship. This includes capital works such as additions and extensions, and the introduction of facilities, such as accessible toilets and catering facilities.

To be eligible, the building must:

• Be a Christian place of worship (but not a Cathedral) in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands;
• Be owned by the applicant or the applicant must have the right to carry out the work; and
• Have been originally built as a place of worship and is open for regular public worship.

PLEASE NOTE: the principle denomination that worships in the building must be a member of (or belong to an umbrella body that is a member of) Churches Together in Britain and Ireland.

Grants of between £5,000 and £25,000 are available for projects that have an estimated cost of at least £25,000, including VAT and fees. The Trust prefers to see at least 50% of match funding in place, either through applications to other grant providers or local fundraising.

The Trust will consider both listed and unlisted churches, chapels and meeting houses of any age, as long as they are open for public worship. In the case of buildings that have been closed to the public, there must be plans to reopen the building for public worship and a congregation waiting to use the building.

Applicants must:

• Have all necessary permissions, such as planning permission, approved and in place;
• Should have consulted with the community of benefit.
• Be able to start their project within two years of the grant being approved; and
• Ensure their project is overseen by an architect or a chartered surveyor who is AABC, RIBA, ARB or RICS accredited.

Funding is not available for:

• Buildings that have been converted into places of worship, such as shops, offices or houses;
• Chapels within hospitals, hospices, schools or prisons or other such institutions;
• Retrospective costs (i.e. projects that have started before the application was submitted);
• Construction of new places of worship;
• Works to cathedral buildings;
• Works to buildings that were not originally constructed as a place of worship;
• Works to an existing building that is separate from the existing place of worship (even if it is on the same site, a church hall, or owned by the church);
• Construction of new structures separate from the place of worship (even if it is on the same site, a church hall, or owned by the church) – there may be exceptions for highly listed buildings;
• Stained glass restoration (consideration may be given to urgent repairs to window structure);
• Heating, lighting or electrical work;
• General reordering;
• Solar panels;
• Clocks, organs, wall paintings, bells, monuments, fittings and fixtures;
• Works to boundary walls, paths, churchyards or car parks; or
• Surveys.

The next application deadlines are Monday 5 March 2018; and Monday 2 July 2018.

Application forms are available to complete online at the Trust’s website. Applicants are advised to take into account that decisions can take up to five months or longer.

Contact details for the National Churches Trust are:
The National Churches Trust, 7 Tufton Street, London, SW1P 3QB
T 020 7222 0605