St. James with St. Thomas, Poolstock; St. Luke, Southport and St. Mary, Knowsley were the three churches successful in receiving grants in in the second round of awards from the Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund.
The awards have been offered towards the urgent repair of roofs, gutters and drains, failure of which is the principal cause of decay in historic churches. In total, 401 listed places of worship across the country will benefit from the £25 million funding package given by the Treasury. This follows the 501 awards announced in the first round in Spring 2015.
The three awards made to churches in the Diocese of Liverpool represent a success rate of 33% (three out of nine) compared with the overall average success rate of 25%. The total awarded to churches in our Diocese was £171,000.
Ian Simpson, Heritage Officer explained how the awards will be used at the churches:
“St. Mary’s, Knowsley, will be able to make permanent repairs following enormous damage suffered during a spate of lead thefts in 2013/4. St. James with St. Thomas will be using the money to re-roof the St. Thomas Chapel (named for the church of that name which closed in 1970 and featuring items saved after the closure) and thereby keep it watertight for future generations to enjoy. St. Luke’s will be repairing elements of the roof and rainwater goods at the west end of the building where severe water ingress is currently a problem – access is difficult here due to the height of the roof and gutters and the constraints of the site.”
Sir Tony Baldry, Chair of the Church Buildings Council, said: 'It is fantastic that almost 300 more church buildings will receive significant help with roof repairs from government and we are hugely grateful to the Chancellor. We now need to ensure a sustainable way of funding church buildings in the future and this is a question to which I hope the government's English Churches and Cathedrals Sustainability Review will find viable and deliverable answers.'
The Fund, administered by the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, was announced by George Osborne in the 2014 Autumn Statement and subsequently extended for a second round due to heavy oversubscription. Overall, the Treasury has allocated £55 million to the scheme.