The diocesan Church Buildings Team has succeeded in winning two grants under the Church of England’s Buildings for Mission project, made possible with Church Commissioners’ funding.

Firstly, £207,000 will provide small grants to parishes for urgent minor works, which must be identified in the most recent and up to date quinquennial inspection report for such things as repair or replacement rainwater goods and drainage, lead repairs, slipped slates etc.

There will be an eligibility guide on the diocesan website listing what works are eligible but the total works must be below £10,000 (or £12,000 for unlisted buildings as they can’t reclaim the VAT), and it can’t be part of a larger project (i.e. it can’t be used for match funding). The grant can also be used for improvements such as permanent disability access, upgrading toilets, upgrading kitchens etc.

The grants will be administered by Church Buildings Adviser, Keith Halliday, and assessed by a grants committee. The level of grant given will be determined by the national deprivation index; those in the most deprived areas will get up to 90% and those in the least down to 10%. Four grant deadlines will be published by 14th February on the diocesan website and all monies must be spent by December 2025.

Although £207,000 sounds like a lot of money, if every church in the diocese applied it would work out to £354 each, so not all applications will succeed - but there is other good news for those that don’t.

As seen in The Journal recently, Yorkshire Historic Churches Trust is also asking parishes to apply for funding as they have had some generous legacies in the last year. The eligibility criteria are similar and both could be used together (as long as the project is below £10k under this funding).

The second diocesan application to the national church was to pay for for a Funding and Community Engagement Officer, and Viv Cooling has now started work. Those who may not fit the grant criteria or who need help with funding can contact her at viv.cooling@yorkdiocese.org – although Viv will need some time to settle in and work her way through the various funders, and to build working relationships. The ‘community engagement’ is to help parishes who have or are about to apply for Lottery funding, where Viv will help to meet the outcomes they require.

Funding bodies dislike external parties completing applications on behalf of others, so Viv will therefore be advising, facilitating and building capacity with those parishes that need help – but not actually completing funding applications for them.

Another fund that will be available soon is a ‘small wins’ grant for local churches working towards the Church of England’s national target of Carbon Net Zero by 2030. This again will be part of the same funding and will be for little things like changing to LED bulbs, insulation etc. To be eligible for this your parish must have completed the Energy Footprint Tool at www.churchofengland.org/about/policy-and-thinking/our-views/environment-and-climate-change/about-our-environment/energy-footprint-tool as part of your most recent annual parish returns. Please complete this at your earliest convenience as there may be other grants available in the future where this information will be needed. It will also give the diocese a clear indication of where and who has the highest carbon footprint and therefore needs the most resources.

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