A list of potential sources of funding for the repairs and improvements of church buildings is shown below. The list is not comprehensive and will be added to or amended based on feedback from churches. A number of local trusts have not been included as they are only prepared to fund projects in their local areas. Most of the organisations mentioned will not consider assisting projects which are already underway so it is important to make early contact with each organisation to check their individual requirements.
Congregations should consult with their dioceses prior to undertaking any major works. In addition to providing advice on any local sources of funding (diocesan grants / local trusts etc) dioceses will be able to advise on any permissions etc required for the works.
Grants and loans may be made available from Provincial Funds to help in carrying out approved repairs and improvements to church buildings (churches, church halls, rectories etc.) Routine maintenance is the responsibility of the congregation. Congregations seeking grants or loans should read the guidance and complete the application form prior to sending it to the appropriate Diocesan Committee. (The guidance notes and application form are available here.) The Diocese must approve the application before it is submitted to the General Synod Office. Application for Provincial grants will not be considered where the works costs less than £1,500.
There are two sources of provincial funding available to assist with building works.
Building Grants Fund
Whilst there are no fixed limits to the size of grant available they rarely exceed £30,000. The number and size of grants is also subject to the availability of funds. The total available to distribute each year is in the region of £200,000. Grants will not normally exceed 50% of the total cost.
Building Loans Fund
The Building Loans Fund exists to advance loans to Charges to assist in the financing of building projects. Loans are normally made for a maximum of 5 years. (In exceptional circumstances this can be increased to 10 years.) Interest is charged (currently 3% per annum) and loans are normally repaid in equal instalments over the period of the loan. Loans can also be made available over shorter periods to assist with cash flow requirements during a building project.
Some of dioceses have funds available to assist with building repairs and development. Contact with the Dean or Diocesan Treasurer is recommended to ascertain what may be available and how to apply.
Local Authorities do not currently contribute towards the costs incurred on the repair or maintenance to church buildings.
Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme
The Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme makes grants towards the VAT incurred in making repairs to listed buildings mainly used for public worship throughout the UK. Application forms and guidance notes are available from Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme website: www.lpwscheme.org.uk
Big Lottery Fund
The Fund operates a number of funding programmes. The focus tends to be used on assisting projects which will make a difference in a community. Website: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk
Heritage Lottery Fund
The Heritage Lottery Fund no longer operates a separate Grants for Places of Worship (GPOW) scheme. Grants for places of worship are now awarded through the existing general schemes:
Our Heritage (grants £10,000 – £100,000) is a simple, faster (applications assessed within eight weeks), one stage application process and is ideal for smaller projects looking to undertake more straight-forward repairs.
Heritage Grants (grants £100,000 – £5million) is a two stage application process but gives applicants the opportunity to secure funding for more ambitious projects and allows them to undertake a development phase to help shape their proposals.
Funding is provided in conjunction with Historic Environment Scotland. There is no requirement for a building to be listed to be eligible for grant funding.
Historic Environment Scotland
Historic Environment Scotland is interested in funding projects focused on any aspect of Scotland’s historic environment. The types of projects and activities eligible will vary and are likely to be time-limited with a defined start and end date. Some examples of typical project and activities include, but are not limited to:
- Repair and consolidation works
- Interim works (max.£50,000 grant)
- Skills and training
- Outreach and learning
- Maintenance and management plans.
Benefact Trust Ltd
Benefact Trust (formerly Allchurches Trust) operates a number of different grant schemes including Building Improvement Grants and Roof Alarm grants. Information about all its grants can be found on its website: www.benefacttrust.co.uk/which-grant-is-for-me/
The Dalrymple Donaldson Trust
The Trust’s purpose is to use the annual income of the Fund to make grants to assist in the judicious restoration and repair of buildings of historical or antiquarian interest. The application form should be sent to the Secretary by the end of October of the year preceding the start of building work. It will be copied and circulated to the Trustees for their information in advance of the December grant allocation meeting. More information including an application form is available at:
Garfield Weston Foundation
Applicants must be registered charities promoting education, medicine and religion. Apply to The Administrator, Garfield Weston Foundation, Weston Centre, Bowater House, 10 Grosvenor Street, London, W1K 4QY; telephone 020 7589 6363.
The Gannochy Trust may consider applications for projects if there is a community benefit through the use of the church building as a community centre of village hall if there is not a similar facility nearby. Applications must be in writing and sent to the Gannochy Trust, Kincarrathie House Drive, Pitcullen Crescent, Perth, PH2 7HX, telephone 01738 620653. Website: www.gannochytrust.org.uk
The Glaziers’ Trust
The Trust targets its resources to save historically important stained glass in churches and other public locations. Grants are restricted to glass, leading, saddle bars, and fixing. The Trust’s main interest is in mediaeval glass but conservation of windows of high quality may be considered. The average grant is around £1,000. www.worshipfulglaziers.com
The William and Jane Morris Fund
The Fund offers grants of up to £5,000 towards work concerned with the conservation of decorative features such as, stained glass windows, sculpture, furniture, internal monuments and tombs, and wall paintings in churches, chapels and other places of worship built before 1896. www.sal.org.uk/grants/morris-fund-conservation-grants/
National Churches Trust
This Trust supports a wide variety of projects and will consider grant applications for repairs and major improvements to places of worship throughout the UK. The trust has announced a new funding scheme called the Cherish Programme. It is aimed at either urgent and essential maintenance and repair projects costing between £1,000 and £80,000 including VAT or costs towards project development – developing a church building project such as feasibility studies, options appraisals, investigative work and development work up to RIBA Planning Stage 1. Further details can be found at https://www.nationalchurchestrust.org/cherish-grants.
Scotland’s Churches Trust
This Trust assists congregations of any denomination in Scotland in the preservation and upkeep of church buildings which are in regular us for public worship, principally by raising funds for their repair and restoration and by acting as a source of technical advice and assistance on maintenance and repair. Apply to the Director, 15 North Bank Street, Edinburgh, EH1 2LP, telephone 0131 225 8644. Website www.scotlandschurchestrust.org.uk/
Scottish Redundant Churches Trust
The Trust supports churches threatened by closure due to the condition of the buildings. The Trust can be contacted at 15 North Bank Street, Edinburgh, EH1 2LP, telephone 0131 563 5135, Website: www.srct.org.uk/
Council for the Care of Churches
Small grants up to £1,000 can be given for repair of furnishings in A-listed buildings including bells, organs, metalwork, stained glass, woodwork, textiles, monuments, paintings, etc. Apply to The Council for the Care of Churches, Church House, Great Smith Street, Westminster, London, SW1P 3NZ.
The Corra Foundation for Scotland
The Foundation (formerly the Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland) seeks to help those in need, especially the disabled and disadvantaged, in order that they can play a fuller role in society. Grants will not therefore be given for repair or maintenance work but may be given where a building is being improved so as to be of benefit to the wider community – eg by the installation of an access lift for disabled persons. Application forms are available to download from the website: www.corra.scot
Miss M E Swinton Paterson’s Charitable Trust
The Trust can give modest grants to support smaller congregations in urban or rural areas who require to fund essential maintenance or improvement works at their buildings. Apply to Callum S Kennedy, WS, Messrs Lindsays WS, Caledonian Exchange, 19a Canning Street, Edinburgh, EH3 8HE; Tel: 0131 229 1212.
Church Buildings Renewal Trust
The Trust does not have grant funding to give, but supports churches threatened by closure and looking for alternative uses or extended flexible use of their buildings. Website: www.cbrt.org.uk
Landfill Tax Credit Scheme
A portion of the Landfill Tax levied by the Government on operators of landfill sites may be used to support the maintenance, repair or restoration of a building in use for religious worship so long as the building is open to the public, non-profit making and located within the vicinity of a landfill site. Website:
Green Energy Initiatives
Energy Saving Trust
The Trust does not offer funding but its website contains useful information and links to other organisations. www.energysavingtrust.org.uk
Climate Challenge Fund
Aimed at community groups, schools and charitable organisations, preferably in partnership with others, the Fund may provide financial assistance towards the feasibility and subsequent development and installation of projects that directly reduce carbon emissions. Website: ccf.keepscotlandbeautiful.org
In some areas grants may be given by local windfarms to churches. More information available from Foundation Scotland:
Information regarding the possibility of raising funds by “crowdfunding” is available from the Just Giving website: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding
The General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church does not accept responsibility for any loss or liability which may arise from reliance on information or expressions of opinion contained in this document.
General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church
Scottish Charity No SC015962