Nearly half a million in grants brings Christmas cheer to dozens of churches

The Grade II*-listed St Michael, Sutton, which dates back to the 14th century, and has a Tudor porch, Jacobean pulpit. A £10,000 grant will be used to install a new kitchen and toilet.(Photo: National Churches Trust)

Grants totalling £473,000 for urgent building works have arrived just in time for Christmas for 47 churches across the UK.

The National Churches Trust (NCT), in partnership with the Great Universal Stores family charity, the Wolfson Foundation, is behind the Christmas funding package.

This is the third and final grants round from the NCT and Wolfson in 2021. During the year the two funders have given churches 273 grants totalling £3.67 million.

NCT Vice President, the broadcaster Huw Edwards, said the latest funding "is a much-needed lifeline for churches and chapels, many of which are struggling to raise money to keep their buildings in good repair".

"The grants will safeguard unique local heritage and provide a real boost to the people who look after and use churches and chapels for worship and for many important community activities," he said. 

St Andrew's Church in Rockbourne, Hampshire, a historic building Listed Grade 1 under heritage rules, has received nearly £20,000 including £7,500 from Wolson to rebuild its bell tower and repair its bells.

The church is 900 years old and has some Saxon features.

In Kent another Grade 1 Listed church, St Andrew's Wickhambreaux, has received £17,000 including £5000 from Wolfson for urgent repairs to its north aisle roof, parapet gutter and stonework.

St Andrew's dates from the 14th century when the Earls of Kent were Lords of the Manor.

In Scotland, Kinloss and Findhorn Parish Church has received £25,000 including £10,000 from Wolfson. This is to repair the wooden floor and electrics in the Victorian church building and to install an accessible toilet and modern kitchen.

St Clement's, Hastings in Sussex, a 15th Century church, has received £35,000 including £5,000 from Wolfson, for masonry repairs, while All Hallows, a Victorian church in Leeds, has received £20,000 for essential roof repairs.

The Grade 1-listed church St Simons's and St Jude's in Castlethorpe has received £10,000 to install a kitchen and toilets. The church is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and the nave, north arcade and north aisle all date from the late 12th century.

The Wolfson grants are given on the NCT's recommendation.

Paul Ramsbottom, Wolfson's Chief Executive,said: "As well as being the spiritual heart of their communities, churches remain a vital part of the UK's heritage and history.

"We know that it can be challenging for churches to access funding to keep these remarkable buildings in good repair, particularly in the wake of the pandemic."