£2m funding boost for historic churches and meeting houses in England

(Photo: Phil Beard)

Over a dozen historic churches and meeting houses are to benefit from a £2m government grant to fund urgent repairs.

The cash injection comes from the Heritage Stimulus Fund, part of the government's Culture Recovery Fund, and will be split between 15 churches and meeting houses. 

The grants will be distributed to the places of worship by the National Churches Trust.

The trust's CEO, Claire Walker, said: "Historic local places of worship are a vital part of our national heritage, but sadly, a shortage of available funding means that many are in a very poor state of repair.

"The £2 million investment in our grants scheme by the Cultural Recovery Fund is incredibly good news. The funding is a vote of confidence in the future of historic church buildings and a recognition of their importance to society."

Eight of the recipients are currently on Historic England's 'Heritage at Risk' register but it is hoped they can soon be taken off once repairs have been carried out to secure them for future generations.

They include the Minster Church of St Thomas' in Newport, on the Isle of Wight. The Grade I church will receive the largest of the grants at £584,189 to fund urgent roof and stonework repairs.

Three churches receiving grants are in urgent need of repair due to damage caused by lead theft, a problem across UK churches.

Others will be helped to repair water damage, stained glass windows and ageing stonework.

"Over the last few months we have worked closely with experts at Historic England to identify 15 church buildings most at risk that need urgent help," added Walker.

"We will now help to ensure these repair projects can be carried out speedily to prevent any further damage to precious heritage."