Three parish churches in the Diocese of Truro have received nearly £50,000 in grants from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England.

St Petroc’s Church, Bodmin, has been granted £25,000, St Teath Church £12,900, and St Dominick, Saltash has been awarded £10,800.

The awards have been made under the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage, a scheme designed to support heritage organisations that were financially viable prior to Covid-19 but which are now at risk. The grants are designed to help churches ensure their viability, covering costs incurred by Covid-19, allowing for business planning and job retention.

Truro Cathedral has also been awarded a significant grant from the fund.

Screens instead of paper

St Dominick, which received £10,800, will use some of the money to help make up money lost from cancelled fundraising events and collections that have shrunk since the pandemic struck. They are also planning to buy some large, movable screens to put around the church so that orders of service can be projected. This will avoid having to hand out paper versions, especially for larger services such as funerals.

Churchwardens at St Dominick, Clare Lee and Lloyd Davies, said: “We are thrilled to receive this funding and this enables us to maintain the building and to improve existing facilities for the benefit of the village community as a whole.’

Organ is one of a kind

St Teath PCC hopes to use some of the money to go towards upgrading the lighting in the church, and also towards servicing the organ – which is one of a kind as it has been barely altered since it was installed in 1890.

They also hope to use some of the money towards cleaning costs. The church can only open for short periods at the moment, leaving gaps of 72 hours to that it can be regarded as ‘covid-secure’. Most the parishioners and volunteers who would usually clean are of an age where they are at a heightened risk of serious illness.

Churchwarden Yvonne Tew said: “We are very grateful to be included in these grants. It would be wonderful if we could have the church open every day again, and for parishioners and visitors alike to be able to visit safely.”

Concerts and cafe

St Petroc’s, in the centre of Bodmin, has received money that will help it in several of its endeavours – not least a programme of socially-distanced concerts that it hopes will now soon be off the ground.

The church has a whole raft of social outreach projects. Over the summer the church has been putting together ‘fun bags’ for families in the community. They contain some essentials and food items, as well as games, to help try to brighten people’s days.

Getting active

Among many other things, the church has also started a socially distanced Wednesday morning café drop-in for senior citizens. It has also worked with Active Cornwall putting together a programme of organised walks along The Bodmin Way. They now plan to expand this into running and cycling.

Team Rector Paul Holley said: “We are grateful for this grant, which we will put to good use in the wider Bodmin community.

“We are lucky in that we have plenty of space in the church, so we are able to open as a café and invite the older members of the community in safely. Staying at home and becoming isolated comes with its own risks, so we believe this can provide an important and useful service to people.”

Truro Cathedral

Truro Cathedral also received a grant of £146,900. Its income from collections, and from visitors to the cathedral, its restaurant and gift shop, have been badly hit by the pandemic. For more information on its grant, see the cathedral’s website here.

10 million people a year

Becky Clark, the Church of England’s Director of Cathedrals and Church Buildings, said: “The Church of England is enormously grateful for the investment the government, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England is making into our cathedrals and churches. The 16,000 church buildings we care for are witnesses to all parts of the history of England and usually tell those stories to more than 10 million a people a year who come through our doors.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on communities all across the country, affecting both lives and livelihoods. The grants announced today as part of the Culture Recovery Fund will go directly into those communities, allowing iconic buildings to remain open, protecting jobs and giving breathing space to plan for longer-term recovery.

‘Places of refuge, rest and strength’

“There is a great deal of uncertainty ahead, but this funding will help churches and cathedrals to be places of refuge, rest and strength for all.
“In a time where so much is at risk, culture, arts and heritage are vital reminders that we all need inspiration and creativity in our lives; today’s announcement shows that the government understands this, and we are delighted that the part our churches and cathedrals play in that by providing a source of beauty and spiritual support has been recognised.”