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08 October 2014

Toilets top the church repair charts

Toilets top the church repair charts

Funding for toilets and roof repairs top requests made to the National Churches Trust (NCT) grant programmes, figures show.

As it publishes its annual review for 2013-2014, the UK's church repair and support charity reveals what the money, which has helped 139 places of worship, was used for. 

Claire Walker, chief executive of the National Churches Trust, said: "In 2013 toilets topped the list of requests made to our Community Grant programme. That's because toilets can help churches, chapels and meeting houses survive. 

"They allow churches to become more welcoming to worshippers, especially those with young children, and to people attending weddings or christenings. They are also essential for churches wanting to increase use by the wider local community, for example, by hosting playgroups, local clubs or charities and events such as concerts.

"Churches are at the heart of their communities and bring people together in a way that makes life better. So it is crucial to keep them repaired. They are some of the nation's most cherished buildings, and it is vital that they survive for future generations."

The chief executive added: "We were delighted to have maintained our level of direct financial support to places of worship in 2013, awarding or recommending grants totalling £1,557,000 to 139 places of worship. Our funding has helped ensure that more of the UK's churches, chapels and meeting houses remain open for worship and of benefit to the wider local community."

However, the amount of funding required by churches, chapels and meeting houses in the United Kingdom for repairs and installing modern facilities such as toilets and catering facilities and improving access is huge. The Church of England's 12,500 listed churches alone face an estimated repair bill of £60 million.

"Sadly we are not able to provide financial assistance to all those places of worship deserving it. Our work is not funded by government or church authorities, and as ever we are grateful for the generosity of our donors, including trusts and foundations, legators and our friends. Over the coming year, we look forward to more people helping us continue our work supporting the UK's churches, chapels and meeting houses."

The NCT, founded in 2007, is the only national, independent charity dedicated to promoting and supporting church buildings of historic, architectural and community value across the UK.

The NCT is the successor to the Historic Churches Preservation Trust, created in 1953. Its patron is the Queen.