Context 144 - May 2015

C O N T E X T 1 4 4 : M A Y 2 0 1 6 17 A survey of all listed places of worship in England estimated the total cost of repairs to be in the region of £925 million over five years. By 2013 the total amount of capital spending by Church of England parishes (including major repair works and building improvement projects) was around £157 million. Congregations and local communities can currently raise around half of this total. More than 1,100 historic places of worship are on the National Buildings at Risk Registers across the UK, with 928 in England alone, according to the 2015 Heritage at Risk Survey. In response to this continuing need, the chancellor of the exchequer asked the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) to operate a one-off grant-giving initia- tive for places of worship on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The Listed Places of Worship: Roof Repair Fund was announced in the 2014 autumn statement. The original announcement was for a dedicated £15 million fund from the treasury to award grants of between £10,000 and £100,000 to listed places of worship of all faiths and denominations across the UK in the 2014/15 financial year. This was to meet the costs of urgent repairs to roofs and rainwater disposal systems, helping to ensure that these historic buildings were weathertight, safe and open for use. There were two main reasons for concentrating on CHARLOTTE DODGEON The Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund Now in its second round of funding, the Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund has focused on making grants of £10,000–£100,000 for repairs to roofs and rainwater goods. roofs and rainwater goods. First, water ingress is often the main reason historic buildings are at risk. The National Fabric Survey of 2013 showed that problems with roofs were the most frequently occurring source of risk to historic fabric of a place of worship, with just over 20 per cent reporting having poor or very bad roofs.The second most frequently occurring source of risk to the historic fabric was gutters and downpipes. Second, securing roofs helps to maintain the building for future generations – if done properly, for up to 100 years.A secure roof ensures that these types of buildings continue to provide a suitable environment for worship as well as wider, community activities, including local social outreach and support services. A well-roofed building will not only ensure the longevity of the building but also maintain the effective integration of the place of worship with its local community. The programme criteria were kept simple. To be eligible, the place of worship needed to be listed, with work to the roofs and rainwater goods identified as being urgent within five years in an up-to-date condition survey or supplementary report. The building had to be used at least six times a year for public worship, or be vested in a charity with responsibility for redundant places of worship. Privately owned chapels or chapels in schools, hospitals, convents and monasteries were ineligible, as were cathedrals in England.The initial expectation was The People’s Church, Falkirk