The Cherish programme is administered by the National Churches Trust with £1.9 million in funding provided by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to cover a three-year period.

The funding is for listed and unlisted Christian places of worship, of any denomination, to help with the costs of urgent and essential maintenance and repair projects as well as the costs of developing a church building project.

Grants of between £500 and £10,000 are available for projects costing between £1,000 and £80,000 (including VAT). Projects must not have started before the online application is submitted but must be achievable within one year maximum of the grant decision being made. Match funding of at least 50% of the funding for the project is required and must be secured before submitting an application.

The funding is to be used for church maintenance, urgent repair work or project development.

To be eligible, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Congregations can be of any Christian denomination and the building can be listed or unlisted.
  • The building must be a Christian place of worship (but not a cathedral) located within North-West England (Cumbria, Lancashire or Greater Manchester only), Wales, or Scotland.
  • The building must originally have been constructed as a place of worship and must be at least 30 years old.
  • The proposed works must be to the main church building or an extension of it.
  • Applicants must be the owners or have the right to carry out the work. If the church is not part of a main denomination, or registered with Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, it must be a registered charity.
  • Buildings must be open for regular public worship for a minimum of six services per year. Buildings that have been closed to the public must have plans to reopen for regular worship and public access and a congregation waiting to use the building on completion of the works.
  • Buildings must be open to the public for at least 100 days per year in addition to worship times, or meet this requirement within a year of project completion. Priority will be given to those with regular opening hours.
  • Repair projects must be led, overseen and supervised by a suitably qualified professional.

Commenting on the scheme, Claire Walker, Chief Executive of the National Churches Trust, said:

“Churches and chapels are some of our most historic and beautiful buildings. At the centre of local communities, they also provide a home for countless community support such as playgroups, drop-in-centres and warm spaces, as well as serving their core purpose as places of worship.

“As well as providing much needed immediate help and practical support, this partnership will allow us to develop new ways of supporting churches and chapels so that they can remain open and available, in use and valued by all.”

The next deadline for applications is 11 December 2023 (midnight).

https://www.nationalchurchestrust.org/cherish-grants

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