Churches around the county receive funding from £60,000 grant pot

Yorkshire Historic Churches Trust has two grant awards a year to help maintain churches across the county.Yorkshire Historic Churches Trust has two grant awards a year to help maintain churches across the county.
Yorkshire Historic Churches Trust has two grant awards a year to help maintain churches across the county.
Fifteen churches around the county have benefitted from a Yorkshire heritage charity’s £60,000 grant pot.

Funds from the Yorkshire Historic Churches Trust will help maintain the fabric of the buildings, which range from the quirky 15th century Chapel of Our Lady on the Bridge, in Rotherham, to the Grade II* listed Church of All Saints, in Ripley, Harrogate.

Grants from the Yorkshire Historic Churches Trust are distributed twice a year, in April and October.

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Since the charity was established in 1988, it has funded almost £3m worth of grants to more than 800 churches.

Peter Johnston, Trustee and Chair of the Grants Committee, said they were delighted to have been able to approve the grants following a virtual meeting of the trustees.

“We get great pleasure from being able to support these churches,” he said.

The aim of trust is to help preserve, repair and maintain churches within Yorkshire and Mr Johnston said this numbered around 2,500 with a wide variety of buildings.

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He said many of these churches were increasingly becoming an important hub for the communities around them supporting pop-up Post Offices and holding community events.

He said: “Congregations are generally not on the rise and in villages we find the churches are used and cared for by people who are not necessarily using them for worship but see it as a focal point of the community.

Mr Johnston added: “In my view they are very important buildings for communities not just religious houses.”

The buildings also hold a lot of history with generations having marked key moments of their lives in village churches, and many having been buried in the surrounding graveyards. There are also a number of churches built by wealthy landowners.

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Sometimes their size can cause problems, with Mr Johnston saying he knew of one which faced bills of around £200,000 to repair the roof.

“We try to make it happen for the churches which need help,” he said.

Under normal circumstances churches submit their applications for funding, outlining what work they need to do and the Grants Committee, which is made up of people experienced in the fields of architecture, restoration and the church, visit each of the sites.

As well as getting an overview of the building, Mr Johnston said it also gave them the opportunity to offer any help and guidance they can.

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He said: “There are other trusts and charities which offer grants for different things such as putting a kitchen and we can point people in the right direction for funding which may help them.” Visits had to be curtailed for this round of grants due to lockdown restrictions.

The trust also liaises with other organisations including The National Churches Trust to provide help and guidance.

Funding for the grants, which is more than £100,000 a year, comes from money raised by the trust through investments and Mr Johnston said they are supported by the Terry and Liz Bramall Foundation which donates £60,000 to be distributed as part of the grant aid.

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