Potential Sources of Funding

Here is some information on some of the main grant-aiding bodies relevant to church repair and development projects. 

We regularly monitor information on funding sources, including regionally-specific sources and the best ways of accessing these.We have developed a database of over 80 sources of funding, cross-referenced to key types of repair need or development project. We are not able to put all of this online due to the size of the spreadsheet files, but this can be provided by email on request. Meanwhile, we hope the following information will help you get started. 

Several funds exist to help achieve specific outcomes – could your project deliver results that meet funders’ objectives?  You may find the notes on Project funding by Peter Biggers of Inspired North East a useful introduction. Then see also the links to handouts we have provided at the start of some of the paragraphs below:

Heritage Lottery Fund 

Heritage Lottery Fund handout - an introduction to various grant programmes. Most relevant to churches will be the HLF's Grants for Places of Worship:

Priority is given to urgent and high-level fabric repairs. However, additional work up to 15% of the overall project costs can be included, including activities that will help those within and beyond the congregation to participate and learn about the building, and/or it could contribute toward works that encourage the sustained use of the building, e.g. kitchens, toilets, heating and lighting systems. The scheme is open to all listed places of worship. There are usually four rounds each year for making applications. Go to HLF Grants for Places of Worship for details including downloadable Application Form and Application Guidance Notes. There are also some other HLF programmes that can support local community heritage projects.

National Churches Trust 

National Churches Trust handout - an introduction to their grant programmes.

The National Churches Trust has opened its grants programmes for 2016, and these are not limited to Listed church buildings. These include Repair Grants of £10,000+ towards the cost of urgent and essential structural repair projects. A small number of grants of £40,000+ are available. Projects must have an estimated cost of £100,000+ (including VAT and fees) to qualify. The Trust also offers Community Grants of £10,000+ for projects which enable increased community use. All types of community projects considered, but should include toilets or catering facilities. To qualify, projects must have an estimated cost of £25,000+ (including VAT and fees). 'Micro-grants' are also offered to help set up a Cinnamon Network Recognised Project. Click here for more details

Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme (VAT recovery)

If your church building is listed it will qualify for the Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme, which allows you to claim back VAT spent on repairs and alterations. The VAT will have to be paid and then reclaimed from the scheme.  This is open to all listed churches and cathedrals used for regular worship.  Many cost items are now eligible, such as toilets, kitchens, plumbing and security systems - please check the scheme website for full details, terms and conditions: Click here for current information on LPWGS.  

Northumbria Historic Churches Trust

The Trust exists to help with the repair of Northumbria's historic churches, offering grants for restoration, repair and improvement of churches, contents and churchyards which are necessary, appropriate and carried out to conservation standard. Must be listed or built before 1946, have some special architectural or historic features or if unlisted be in a conservation area. Application form and guidance is available online at northumbriahct.org.uk. It is advisable to contact the Trust secretary to discuss proposals before applying.

Big Lottery

Big Lottery handouts on 'Awards for All' and 'Reaching Communities' grant programmes. 

The Big Lottery can offer capital funding grants of between £100k and £500k to voluntary and community sector organisations under its Reaching Communities scheme, targeted  to certain priority areas - see the BIG eligibility checker.  The aim is to help transform existing buildings into community buildings which can offer a wide range of activities benefitting a broad group of citizens.  Projects must respond to need, involve people who will benefit and achieve one or more Big Lottery outcomes: improve people's chances in life, build stronger communities, improve rural and urban environments, healthier and more active communities. More information: Big Lottery - Reaching Communities.

Their smaller Awards for All scheme offers grants of between £300 and £10,000 for grassroots and community activity that aims to improve life for local people and neighbourhoods.

Partners in Community Action

An initiative of the Church of England Diocese of Newcastle: encouraging congregations to share ideas, resources and buildings and to engage with their local communities in new ways. Small grants may be available for suitable projects - this is usually one of the last stages in a process of prayer, reflection, study and engagement with members of the church and local community. Click here for further information.

Other useful links and resources:

  • The Heritage Alliance's Heritage Funding Directory is a free online guide to funding for the heritage sector, including churches: theheritagealliance.org.uk/fundingdirectory.
  • The Architectural Heritage Fund also has a directory of Funds for Historic Buildings here: ffhb.org.uk.
  • ChurchCare has pages offering advice to parishes on raising money towards repairs and developing their church building, and has useful links to a number of funding sources. It is worth exploring these pages in detail – there is a lot of helpful material here: churchcare.co.uk/...funding 
  • For small projects targeting community needs it may also be worth contacting the NE-based Community Foundation, which manages a range of local donor funds: communityfoundation.org.uk.
  • Useful reading: The UK Church Fundraising Handbook by Maggie Durran, Canterbury Press, Norwich. A down to earth ‘how-to’ manual and reference guide by a highly regarded practical expert in this field, well worth getting hold of and taking time to digest. Available via Church House Bookshop, Amazon and other retailers.

Sources of funding support can be unlocked given a convincing plan and a well thought out scheme. Inspired North East can help support you, give advice, make suggestions and put you in touch with other churches who have had success with particular funders. If, after looking into these resources, you need further advice on funding for a specific project in the Diocese of Newcastle you may contact Ian Bapty by email and we will do our best to help. (For projects in Durham Diocese please contact the Care of Churches Secretary in Durham)

Note: web links given above were correct at the time of writing, but are subject to change. If any don't work then we advise that you do an online search using the name of the funder and scheme of interest.