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New resources for parishes to help with church buildings

First published on: 21st February 2024

The Diocese of Leeds is pleased to have extra resources to help churches with their buildings, thanks to a successful funding application with the Church of England.

Because of some £9 million allocated by the Church Commissioners as part of a national Buildings for Mission Fund, the diocese is able to offer new help to our parishes, with our expanded Diocesan Church Buildings Grant Scheme.

The Grant Scheme aims to support parishes with maintaining and improving their church buildings as vital centres of worship, community, and mission.

Initially a five year scheme offering some £80,000 a year to churches, this year we have been given some £272,000 to expand the amount available to our parishes.

These grants are for churches across the diocese to do minor repairs; projects which will improve the functionality of our buildings for missional purposes; and projects that reduce the environmental impact of our buildings, as we aim to meet the Church of England’s 2030 carbon net-zero target.

More about the Grant Scheme can be read here.

In addition, because of funding from the Church Commissioners, we are able to employ a new Church Buildings Support Officer, Alena-Rose Douglas.

Across the country 30 Church Buildings Support Officers are to be employed, with job descriptions and priorities varying from diocese to diocese.

In our diocese the role is focused on providing bespoke, tailored, ongoing support for selected parish churches, following the priorities of our Barnabas: Encouraging Confidence initiative  .

It is intended that the parishes Alena-Rose works with should be able to take what they learn and offer support and advice to other parishes, to share the learning from projects in a practical way.

Alena-Rose said: “It has been really helpful to have guidance from the Archdeacons and the Barnabas team in starting my conversations with selected parishes.

“Since joining the diocese in December, I have visited parishes in four of the five episcopal areas, with a parish in the Wakefield area on my list to see in February.”

Alena-Rose will also be collating the learning more formally, in case studies and guidance notes, which will be accessible to everyone in the diocese.

Alena-Rose said: “A project that I’m particularly excited to be involved with is a pilot scheme for a maintenance collective.

“The aim is to work together across a geographic area (in this case a deanery) to make the regular care and maintenance of church buildings easier, trying to make best use of the resources we have, both in terms of money and people.

“I’m very keen to support training for our volunteers, alongside getting them access to the professional advice that they need.

“The support and enthusiasm from the volunteers involved in this project is fantastic, even though it is still in very early stages of planning.

“I am very optimistic for its future!”

These time-limited additional support measures supplement the ongoing work of our DAC, who remain available to advise and help all parishes around church building projects.

Please click here or here to find out more about what help the diocese can offer parishes with your buildings.

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