Time to Fix the Roof

by Gerry Lynch last modified 08 Jul, 2016 10:16 AM

12 churches to get fabric grants from government scheme for listed places of worship

Time to Fix the Roof

St Laurence's in Downton is one of the churches set to benefit.

12 parishes in the Diocese are among nearly 300 across the Church of England to receive grants for urgent repairs to their church roofs in the second round of awards from the government Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund.

Awards between £10,000 and £100,000 have been offered towards the urgent repair of roofs, gutters and drains, failure of which is the principal cause of decay in historic churches. In total, 401 listed places of worship of different churches and faiths will benefit from awards from the £25 million funding package given by the Treasury. This follows the 501 awards announced in the first round in Spring 2015.

The Revd Dr Graham Southgate, Team Rector of the Nadder Valley Benefice, has two churches benefiting from the fund – St Mary’s in Dinton, which will receive £24,100, and All Saints’ in Sutton Mandeville, which is set to get £35,700.

“In practical terms, it means we can get on and do repairs which are vital for the good of the fabric of the churches”, says Graham, “We have leaking roofs and the damage is getting worse and worse. We would have struggled to raise this sort of money from internal sources even with the wonderful support we always get from the wider village communities.

“Our church buildings are at the centre of their communities, more now than for centuries as, especially in smaller villages, pubs, schools, shops and post offices have often closed.”

St George’s Church in Poole’s Oakdale district is another church to benefit, this time to the tune of £23,000.

Churchwarden Andrew Lewis, who helped steer the application for St George’s, said, “We’ve had a history of the vestry area roof, which is a flat roof, leaking and causing damage. In addition, when the church was built in the 1960s, building standards were much lower than they are now, especially relating to insulation and heat loss. The grant gives us the opportunity to prevent damage from water ingress, and in cutting heating costs will help the environment.

“In addition to a thriving congregation, our two halls are widely used by the Oakdale community, which brings people into contact with the church on a daily basis. Even local people who aren’t churchgoers really value St George’s and its presence - we discovered this recently when we had some metal theft.

“We have also benefitted from grants from the Erskine-Mouton Trust and the Talbot Village Trust.”

Sir Tony Baldry, Chair of the Church Buildings Council, said, “It is fantastic that almost 300 more church buildings will receive significant help with roof repairs from government and we are hugely grateful to the Chancellor. We now need to ensure a sustainable way of funding church buildings in the future and this is a question to which I hope the government’s English Churches and Cathedrals Sustainability Review will find viable and deliverable answers.”

The Fund, administered by the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, was announced by George Osborne in the 2014 Autumn Statement and subsequently extended for a second round due to heavy oversubscription. Overall, the Treasury has allocated £55 million to the scheme.

The 12 churches in the Diocese to benefit (rural deanery in brackets) are as follows:

St Peter and St Paul, Heytesbury (Heytesbury): £100,000
St. Peter's, Stourton nr. Stourhead (Heytsebury): £74,500
All Saints', All Cannings (Devizes): £72,600
All Saints, Enford (Stonehenge): £59,200
St Laurence’s, Downton (Alderbury): £56,900
St Mary's, Corscombe (Sherborne): £51,400
All Saints, Sutton Mandeville (Chalke): £35,700
St. Mary's, Dinton (Chalke): £24,100
Saint Michael and All Angels, Melksham (Bradford on Avon): £23,600
All Saints,Great Chalfield (Bradford on Avon): £23,600
St George's, Oakdale (Poole and North Bournemouth): £23,000
St James, Milton Abbas (Milton and Blandford): £20,100

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