The Erskine Muton Trust Fund

The Erskine Muton Trust Fund is part of a wonderful legacy left by Mrs Nadia Muton who, with her late husband, Erskine Muton, retired to west Dorset and bequeathed the great majority of her estate to form the Erskine Muton Trust Fund.

Mrs Muton was born in Russia. Together with her family, she escaped before the 1918-19 Revolution by walking to China! Nadia later spoke of seeing many churches being destroyed and she resolved to leave money for the upkeep of churches. The Erskine Muton Trust Fund therefore formed in 2009.

The Erskine Muton Trust Fund managing trustees (HSBC Trust Company Ltd) asked the Diocese to administer the application process and make recommendations. A Review Committee was established and formed from: the Bishop of Sherborne, the Archdeacons of Sherborne and Dorset, the Diocesan Secretary, the Chair of the DAC and Trust and Property Registration Officer. This committee meets three times a year.

Please contact the Trust and Property Registration Officer (Elizabeth Wallis) if you have any questions.

Click to download the application form

The closing date for the next round of grant applications is 1 March 2024 .

Information for Applicants

The Application Form for the Erskine Muton Trust Fund together with some background information can be accessed here.

The Trustees’ priority will be funding repairs, maintenance and development of church buildings open for regular public worship and located within the county boundary of Dorset.

The Trustees make grants three times a year. Normally grants are in the range £1,000 - £10,000 and only cover a proportion of the total cost of the works. They are paid subject to Faculty or other necessary statutory approval having been obtained.

Applicants should have started the online Faculty System (which covers List A, List B and Faculty applications) for the work or project before submitting an application to the Erskine Muton Trust Fund. This can be accessed here. If you have any queries about this online Faculty System, please contact the Church Buildings/DAC.

The closing date for applications of distributions of grants will be 1 March 2024.

Criteria for allocation of grants

1. The Trust Officer will check each application before including the grant request for the next meeting of the Review Group.

2. Grants will only be available to churches located in Dorset which are open for regular public worship - a Parish Church, Parish Centre of Worship, Chapel of Ease or licensed building.

3. Applicants should have started the online Faculty System (which covers List A, List B and Faculty applications) for the work before submitting an application.

4. Applications will be considered at meetings of the Review Group (3 times a year) to ensure equitable distribution of the funds available. Applications will not be considered “out of committee”.

5. Priority will be given to church building projects that derive from clear mission plans. It is accepted that a significant number of applications will be towards the cost of church building repairs.

6. Grants for churchyards, paths, walls etc will only be given in exceptional circumstances.

7. Retrospective applications for work already started will be considered in exceptional circumstances where the need for major emergency repairs has arisen “between meetings”. Otherwise, retrospective applications will not be considered.

8. Applications to fund replacement lead roofing will be considered if the work is the result of a second or subsequent theft. Preference will be given to those cases where a deterrent security system is being fitted.

9. Grants will cover a maximum of 50% of the total cost of the project concerned.

10. Applicants may only apply for a “top up” grant for the same project where exceptional circumstances allow - such unexpected and significant rise in costs between application and starting the work, or the discovery of the need for additional works as the project progresses.

11. Funds will not be allocated to projects that could reasonably be funded from PCC reserves or fabric funds.

12. There is an expectation that parishes will have budgeted for routine repairs and maintenance identified at Quinquennial Inspections.

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