New grants scheme to improve our buildings is launched by diocese

New grants to boost mission in our communities by improving our church buildings have been announced by the diocese.

The five-year Church Buildings Grants scheme is backed by a number of restricted funds, which are available exclusively for this purpose.

The scheme will provide £80,000 of grants per year and its aim is to support churches with maintaining and improving their properties as vital centres of worship, community and mission.

Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines said: “Our communities' churches and buildings really matter. These new grants will offer support as we emerge from the pandemic and beyond.”

Cutting the environmental impact of our buildings is also a key goal, as the diocese aims to meet the Church of England’s 2030 carbon net-zero target.

The diocese’s Environment Officer Jemima Parker commented: “Parishes are being proactive in taking climate action such as replacing oil boilers with under-pew electric heating, gas with air sources heat pumps, or installing LED lighting. This grant funding is very welcome to assist with some of the cost of these decarbonising projects.”

The scheme will also cover all items of maintenance and structural improvement, including heating and lighting systems, particularly if proposed works have been specified in a Quinquennial inspection report.

The terms of the restricted funds mean that any grant cannot include work on organ or bells, furnishings or any work to churchyards or churchyard walls.

Grants awarded will be up to a maximum of £5,000 per parish (including multi-church parishes which may allocate between churches) and will be valid for 12 months from the date of the grant offer.

Stewardship and DAC Assistant Janet Edmond added: “Maintaining your church building regularly and keeping it in good repair will really help to reduce its environmental impact. These building grants will offer welcome financial support to PCCs, helping them to tackle  maintenance issues.“

There will be three funding rounds per year. Deadlines for each funding round are:

Friday, April 30 2021 for grants to be made in May

Wednesday, June 30 2021 for grants to be made in July

Sunday, October 31 2021 for grants to be made in November

Decisions will be made by a committee which will include a Bishop, an Archdeacon, an Incumbent, the Chief Financial Officer and a Stewardship Officer. Others will be invited to attend meetings if required.

Full information for applicants can be found here

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