Assistance with church buildings will now be available to parishes with the arrival of two new support workers.

Ben Wood and Faye Edwardes have joined the diocese with the aim of helping parishes to care for their buildings and develop their usage as part of their deanery plan aims.

Both Ben and Faye started work this month with Faye taking the role of Church Buildings Support Officer and Ben taking the role of the Cut Carbon Support Officer for Churches. Both roles will be working closely with the DAC and will support churches to ensure that they consider faculty requirements from the outset with regard to any proposed works, upgrades or repairs.

Funding for the roles have come from national grants.

Faye is one of 30 Church Buildings Support Officers across the country who will assist parishes by providing specialist advice on the management, conservation, repair, and development of church buildings, including community use alongside worship. part of her work will also include advising on creative uses of spaces; visitor experience; community usage; outreach and revenue generation. She will also be on hand to support deanery and parish teams to access funding to repair and develop their buildings, including support to complete applications and working in partnership with the Generous Giving Team.

Faye’s previous experience is in the property sector, and she has also managed many renovation and restoration projects, with an emphasis on historic and heritage buildings. The environment and sustainability have always been at the forefront of her priorities having worked for the British Standards Institution for many years heading up the sustainability team. Faye was responsible for ground-breaking sustainability standardisation including carbon-foot printing both in the UK, and internationally.

Faye said: “I am a strong believer in community to support worship and mission and I am very much looking forward to being out and about across the diocese meeting clergy, PCCs and congregations. I love Cornwall, church, people and buildings so I am really excited about meeting the people who are at the heart of these beautiful buildings, and working with them to ensure that they remain with us for the future generations to worship in and enjoy.”

Joining Faye is Ben who has started work as the new Cut Carbon Support Officer for Churches.

Ben’s work will enable parishes to make their churches more comfortable, healthy, and welcoming environments while also reducing their energy bills. Ben said: “I’m going to be the ‘go to’ person for support in understanding your church’s carbon output, then collaboratively create solutions with you to reduce this in order for us to achieve our Net Zero 2030 strategy. You’ll also experience direct beneficial and tangible results from these measures.”

Ben is keen to work with local people as he notes that ‘when it comes to your churches, you’re the experts’. Ben added: “You understand and love these places deeply, you appreciate the issues your congregation faces and you know far better than I their comfort, financial and environmental needs.

“The challenge is the complexity of it all: there are so many carbon cutting solutions and possibilities; which one is suitable? Can your church receive funding assistance? If so, which grant is appropriate & how do you apply for it? This is where I can help you.

“Together we can review your church’s bespoke requirements and needs. I can help you navigate paths to achieve the most positive results for your place of worship. I can help you decide the correct technical solutions, provide fundraising support, and assist you to manage the project from conception to completion.”

Kate Cortez, Head of Operations for the diocese, said: “Through the deanery planning process and in our ongoing conversations with people in parishes, we have heard how the much-loved churches in our dioceses also cause anxiety. The time taken up in caring for them and in finding the funding to do so is significant.

“We are delighted that our successful funding applications mean we can offer parishes and deaneries support with their buildings. These two roles and the small grants are a step we really hope will help.”

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