Funding for Church Projects

Whether you are considering fundraising for repairs, a re-ordering scheme, community project or a missional project of some sort, this section is intended to help signpost you to the right kind of information to suit your project.

This is not an exhaustive list of funders but is an excellent starting point for your funding search by providing links to directories that are regularly updated and information on local sources of funding. Remember all funders will expect you to contribute towards the cost of your project so make sure you have good local fundraising activities as well.

Click on the headings below to expand:

National Funding
National List of Charitable Grants for Churches - www.parishresources.org.uk/resources-for-treasurers/funding/

The Church Buildings Council produce a comprehensive directory of external funders who will give funding for churches which can be found at the link above. It is updated every few months. Grants available are grouped into sections according to activity or funder as follows:

  • Conservation, Preservation, Heritage & Restoration
  • Bells, Organs, Windows & Other Specific Funding
  • Community Projects / Improved Facilities
  • Environmental & Sustainability Projects
  • Christian / Religious Activities
  • Landfill Communities Fund
  • Lottery Funding Available. The National Lottery Heritage Fund regularly run webinars to support people in applying for lottery funding. You can find the details here.
  • Sources of Information

Benefact Trust - https://benefacttrust.co.uk/which-grant-is-for-me/

Formerly All Churches Trust, funding is now available under the following grants programmes:

  1. Community Impact Grants - A programme of funding aimed at supporting projects that directly address the social challenges faced by some of the most vulnerable communities in our society.
  2. Building Improvement Grants - For the essential repair and improvement of churches and Christian buildings.
  3. Heritage Skills for Christian Buildings Grants - Focused on the preservation of essential heritage skills and careers through apprenticeships, scholarships, and training courses.
  4. Methodist Grants - For building projects that support Methodist churches in their mission and ministry, with a particular focus on church growth, community engagement and accessibility.
  5. Crisis Response Grants - Grants to charity partners who are responding to specific emergency situations at home and abroad (Grants are not open to applications).
  6. Roof Alarm Grants - To protect churches from metal theft.

National Churches Trust - https://www.nationalchurchestrust.org/get-support/grants

The National Churches Trust (NCT) offers three types of grant. These are:

Small Grants

These were formerly called Foundation grants for maintenance. This programme offers small grants of between £500 and £5,000 (with capacity to award up to £10,000 where the case for investment and need are demonstrated to be very high, and funds are available to award) towards urgent maintenance works and small repairs identified as high priority within a recent Quinquennial Inspection, Building Survey or Condition Report. Also, small investigative works and surveys. Project costs should be up to £20,000 incl. VAT and awards will never exceed 50% of the costs. Decsions are made on a rolling basis. Providing all supporting documents have been submitted, applications will be assessed bi-monthly until October 2024. 

Next deadline for Small Grant applications:

30 June 2024 (midnight)

Medium Grants

These were formerly called Gateway grants. This programme offers medium sized grants of between £3,000 and £10,000 towards urgent and essential maintenance and repair projects costing between £20,000 and £80,000 (incl VAT and fees).  Also project development and investigative work up to RIBA planning stage 1, to support churches preparing for a major project, and in developing their project to the point at which they can approach a major grant funder. Grants will never exceed 50% of the net project costs (for this phase). 

Grant application dates for Medium grants: 

13 August 2024

Large grants

These were formerly called Cornerstone grants. This programme offers their largest grants of up to £50,000 towards the cost of major urgent structural repair projects costed at more than £80,000 including VAT. Note that grants of £40,000 to £50,000 are extremely limited and reserved for cases which demonstrate a very high case for investment. They will also consider projects that introduce kitchens and accessible toilets to enable increased community use, costed at more than £30,000 including VAT. Grants will never exceed 50% of the project cost.

Grant application dates for Large grants:

Next Stage 1 deadline: 2 July 2024 (midnight) 
Next Stage 2 deadline: you will be notified of this if you pass Stage 1 

Minor Repairs and Improvements Grants Fund (MR&IGF)
Worcester Diocese has been awarded £135,000 by the Church Commissioners, under the national Buildings for Mission project, to give as grants towards small-scale repairs and improvements to churches in the diocese before the end of 2025. The primary focus will be essential fabric repair projects. 

Grants of up to £10,000 can be made towards projects with costs of up to £10,000 (or £12,000 if the VAT is not eligible under the Listed Places of Worship (LPW) grant scheme) at a rate between 50% and 90% (or more in exceptional circumstances) of the project costs, depending on the deprivation profile of the parish.

Grants cannot be used purely as match funding for a bigger project. Applications must relate to standalone projects of repair or improvement (although a project may consist of several elements), with the works commissioned and invoiced in their own right. We recognise that projects may form part of a bigger programme of work but, for the MR&IGF’s purposes, applications must cover a standalone element with a maximum total project cost of £10,000/£12,000.

Help with applications

We encourage you to get in touch with us early to discuss your thoughts. For guidance and assistance in formulating your application, you can contact the Church Buildings team via churches@cofe-worcester.org.uk or call 01905 732809. If not already directly engaged on the project, you should also notify your inspecting architect or surveyor of work to be carried out.

Eligible works and costs

Eligible repair works and costs include:

  • Repair of building fabric (external): roof coverings, roof structure, walls, parapets, pinnacles and other architectural features, towers, spires, windows, doors, rainwater disposal system including below-ground drainage.
  • Repair of building fabric (internal): ceilings, floors, doors, walls and wall linings (plaster/panelling but not wall paintings, mosaics etc.).
  • Repair of building service installation where essential for health and safety and/or continuity of worship and mission use.
  • Emergency repairs or holding works, e.g. propping, covering, protection etc.
  • Professional fees to design, specify, inspect and certify the repair work.
  • Ecologist's fees to prepare a bat management plan.
  • VAT (for unlisted churches and work to listed churches, which falls outside the eligibility of the Listed Places of Worship grant scheme). It will be assumed that PCCs will apply to the LPW grant scheme wherever possible.
  • To be eligible, any such work must be recommended in the most recent QI report (or a subsequent professional report or condition survey etc). Work classified as urgent (either category 1 - Urgent, requiring immediate attention; 2 - Requires attention within 12 months; or 3 - Requires attention within the next 12-24 months) should take priority but any work required within the quinquennium is eligible. Works of differing urgency within that definition may be undertaken for the sake of efficiency and economy, especially where 'stitch in time' repairs can save money in the long term.

Eligible minor improvements works and costs include:

  • Additions, alterations or adaptations specifically to overcome building design defects or obsolescence (e.g. undersized hoppers or drainpipes) or to improve access for maintenance.
  • Additions, alterations or adaptations where essential to improve physical access, e.g. handrails, ramps etc.
  • Additions, alterations or adaptations to building services installations where essential to sustain worship and mission use, such as improvements to heating, lighting, wiring, kitchens, WCs. Where necessary, this might include the installation or upgrading of pipework or cabling to the perimeter of the churchyard or curtilage.
  • New installations or improvements to existing installations for digital connectivity, whether through a wired connection or 4G/5G mobile Wi-Fi, where essential to sustain worship and mission use.
  • Bat mitigation measures, including relevant ecologist's fees and production of a bat management plan, where the impact of bats is a barrier to worship and mission use. A one-off deep  clean can be an eligible cost as part of a mitigation plan.
  • Professional fees to design, specify, inspect and certify the improvement work.
  • Ecologist's fees to prepare a bat management plan to allow works other than bat mitigation measures.
  • VAT (for unlisted churches and work to listed churches, which falls outside the eligibility of the Listed Places of Worship grant scheme). It will be assumed that PCCs will apply to the LPW grant scheme wherever possible.

How to apply for a grant

The fund will be open for applications on a three-monthly basis, starting on 1st March 2024. 

To apply, please download and complete the application form. If you wish to apply for a grant towards repairs and minor improvements, separate applications must be made. Completed applications should be emailed to churches@cofe-worcester.org.uk  

Please read the ‘Guidance and Eligibility’ document carefully before submitting an application. 

The necessary Faculty or other relevant consents will need to be in place prior to works commencing but need not delay making an application to the Fund.

Application windows

1 March – 31 May 2024
1 June – 31 August 2024
1 September – 30 November 2024
1 December – 28 February 2025
1 March – 31 May 2025

Applications will be considered by a panel including DBF staff and Archdeacons; advice may be sought from the Diocesan Advisory Committee. 

We will aim to reach a decision on applications received by the end of each application period within 4 weeks of the end of the period. Applicants will be notified whether or not their application has been successful.

Other funding for church building projects

Applying for this grant does not preclude you from applying to other Diocesan grants (e.g. Kingdom People/Healthier Churches Fund). For details of other potential sources of funding for church building projects please take a look at the Funding page on our website. 

Worcester and West Midlands Funders
Below are funders that exclusively work in the West Midlands so are not included in the national guide.

Worcestershire & Dudley Historic Churches Trust -www.worcesteranddudleyhistoricchurches.org.uk

The Trust awards relatively small financial grants for the repair, preservation and refurbishment of Christian places of worship in Worcestershire and Dudley only. They consider applications for assistance with major items of maintenance and repair to the structure and fabric of places of worship of architectural significance (not necessarily old) of all Christian denominations. Their current priority in awarding grants is the repair or replacement of the external fabric of the building – walls, roof, windows and rainwater goods to ensure a building is watertight and so prevent further deterioration; they may also award a grant for safety reasons e.g. the repair or replacement of lightning conductors. At present their modest grants are usually for £500 only.

Droitwich Preservation Trust - No website, phone 01905 796677.

They give small grants to stimulate public interest in the preservation of architectural and other amenities of the county of Worcestershire.

Worcestershire Councillors' Divisional Fund - www.worcestershire.gov.uk

A Worcestershire Councillors' Divisional Fund (WCDF) has been created to enable local members to access money to help local initiatives and support 'good works' which play an important role in promoting the economic, social and environmental well-being of communities within Worcestershire. Each of the 57 members of the Council have an allocation of £10,000 (per financial year), to spend on locally-determined initiatives within their Divisions. They have reasonable discretion as to how to spend their allocation, as long as they are lawful for the Council, rational and are properly recorded. The WCDF is aimed at one-off items of expenditure or supporting community activity, local and national charities or voluntary organisations within the local Division. Formal applications for bids to the WCDF can only be submitted by the local County Councillor, however individuals or organisations can contact their local Councillor and seek support from the Fund. If you do want to contact your Councillor for support, it would be helpful if you could provide them information on how support from the WCDF would promote or improve the economic, social or environmental well-being of the local area, or those people within it.

Worcester City Council small community grants - www.worcester.gov.uk/community-centres/worcester-small-community-grants

To support the delivery of the City Plan, Worcester City Council has set aside a Worcester Community Grant pot to support organisations delivering services on the front line of their communities. Funding is available to community groups, charities and voluntary sector organisations to support new community projects in Worcester.

Grants are available to a maximum threshold of £5000. It is strongly recommended that grants should be applied for at least two months before the event as the grants panel meets at the beginning of the month. Full criteria and application form is on the website.

The Big Local DY10 HBG - www.biglocaldy10.com/grants/

Their small grants programme has reopened and is now taking general applications for community projects from individuals and voluntary organisations working within the area. Projects MUST be within the Big Local DY10 HBG area and for the benefit of residents of that area which is the Horsefair and parts of Broadwaters and Greenhill. The beneficiaries of any project must be the residents of the Big Local DY10 area. Individuals who are under 16 years old and live, work, study or volunteer in the area can apply for up to £100. Individuals 16+ can apply for up to £1,000. Not-for-profit organisations working in the area may apply for up to £2,000. They are working to get grant decisions made as quickly as possible. All applications will receive a response within eight days.

Worcestershire Community Foundation - https://www.worcscf.org.uk/our-grants/current-grants/

The Community Foundation run a number of focussed grants in partnership with others; see the website for details of what they are currently funding.

Laslett's Hinton Charity Grants - www.lasletts.org.uk/grants.html

Every 3 months the Trustees of Laslett's Hinton Charity meet to discuss the many grant applications they receive. They will consider making modest grants to local organisations and charities who fulfil the following criteria:

- Churches assisting in the repair and restoration of churches and chapels connected with the established Church of England.

- Organisations who assist poor, aged or infirm people as the Trustees think fit. Grants of up to £5,000 are usually given.

Severn Trent Community Fund - www.stwater.co.uk/about-us/severn-trent-community-fund/

The fund is overseen by the Community Fund Panel, who review applications on a quarterly basis. Themes are:

People: Projects that help people to lead a healthier life and gain new skills.

Places: Projects that help to create better places to live in and use.

Environment: Projects that will help look after our natural environment, give people greater access to that environment or help look after water. They are unable to support political or religious causes, however they will consider religious organisations if projects are for wider community benefit and not faith-based.

Biffa Awards (Landfill grants) - www.biffa-award.org/community-buildings/

Biffa works in many parts of the Diocese but you need to use their postcode checker to see if you are eligible to apply. They have four streams of funding of which community buildings is the most relevant. Projects under the Community Buildings theme include those which improve buildings at the heart of their communities – such as village halls, community centres and church halls. They can include building refurbishments and internal works to kitchens, toilets, roofs, flooring, window, doors and heating systems. Applications from churches must be able to demonstrate a wider community use, consultation and benefit – such as youth groups, special interest groups, exercise groups etc. 

William Adlington Cadbury Charitable Trust - www.wa-cadbury.org.uk

Amongst many other things, the William Adlington Cadbury Charitable Trust funds the conservation of the environment, including the preservation of listed buildings and monuments, in Birmingham and the West Midlands.

Rowlands Trust - Website / Email

Small grants for a number of projects that may benefit churches including:

- People and areas disadvantaged by education, health, finance and disability

- Elderly and young people

- Music and the arts

- The environment

- Restoration and re-ordering of church buildings which lead to an increase in community use

The Charity is limited to working in the West and South Midlands including Hereford, Worcester, North Gloucestershire, South Shropshire and Birmingham.

Other Resources
Crossing the Threshold Toolkit - www.hereford.anglican.org/Crossingthethresholdtoolkit/

Advice and guidance on all aspects of undertaking church projects including fundraising. This all-new toolkit is a free resource available to anyone to download. It breaks down projects into three key stages:

- Preparing the Ground
- Looking at Your Options
- Delivering Your Project

With numerous case studies, top tips and end-of-chapter checklists, as well as advice from experts in their fields, and with input and expertise from a range of national church organisations, this practical document draws upon the lessons learned from recent church projects of all denominations across the UK.

Mission & Mortar Toolkit - www.hereford.anglican.org/missionandmortar/

Are you looking for ways of increasing the use of your church buildings, to respond to changing times and in response to new forms of mission? Every church and parish is unique, and if you have aspirations to better use your church building for mission in your community, there's probably already resources out there to help you but finding them isn’t easy – and nor is knowing where to start. The Mission and Mortar toolkit will point you in the right direction.

Maintenance Matters Toolkit - www.spab.org.uk/campaigning/maintenance-matters

The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings has run two projects that champion volunteer-led maintenance in places of worship: Faith in Maintenance and the Maintenance Co-operatives Project. Volunteers looking for information on how to care for their community's faith building can use their Maintenance Checklist for Places of Worship, a joint project between the SPAB, the National Churches Trust and Historic England. The checklist is divided into five categories to facilitate maintenance checks: roofs, rainwater goods, exteriors, interiors and building services. There are video guides that will guide volunteers through their maintenance checks.

Historic Religious Buildings Alliance - www.hrballiance.org.uk/resources/help-advice/

HRBA brings together those working for a secure future for historic religious buildings. Their e-newsletter is free and is sent out once a month and is packed with important and useful information to keep you informed about the future of historic religious buildings, government policies and funding opportunities. They also have a page with a comprehensive list of resources.

Loans from Worcester Diocesan Sites and Buildings Fund

1. The Fund is the responsibility of the Diocesan Trustees and the administration is undertaken by the Diocesan Secretary. Loan applications will be considered from PCCs to provide cashflow where the PCC cannot fund work from reserves while:

- Fundraising is completed, particularly on urgent repairs and/or

- Grant payments are received to help meet the cost of repairs and alterations to the fabric of their churches.

2. Repairs are defined as the major items of maintenance of the structure of the fabric of the building. The term includes heating, lighting and decoration. It also includes works of repair necessary for the preservation of historic bell frames, the repair or replacement of bells, the maintenance or replacement of pipe or electronic organs provided that they are fixtures rather than loose furniture.

3. Loans will be made over a maximum period of five years. The rate of interest will be subject to review from time to time. Further information can be found here: Loans from Worcester Diocesan Sites and Buildings Fund / Diocesan Sites and Buildings Fund Application Form

Page last updated: Wednesday 15th May 2024 2:50 PM

Upcoming events and training this month

Wed
19
Jun
7:00pm - 8:30pm -
Thu
20
Jun
11:00am - 12:30pm -

Contact the Team

The Diocesan Church Buildings Team seeks to support parishes in caring for buildings and can offer advice and assistance on a wide range of topics. They also operate the systems of permission to make changes to churches, known as Faculty Jurisdiction.

If you can’t find the guidance that you are looking for on the site then do contact the team by email or phone 01905 732809.

Powered by Church Edit