River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Whittington Church

March 2003

An update on funds for restoration work

I reported last month that Whittington church had been voted a grant of £8000.00 from the Historical Churches Preservation Trust towards our repairs.

As the work of this Trust is not very well known, I thought that a short explanation of its work would be appropriate.

The Historic Preservation Trust, a registered charity, was set up in 1953 to assist in the repair of churches and chapels of all denominations in England and Wales, and it does this by awarding grants and interest-free loans to parishes that apply to it for help. In recent years, the Trust has been receiving nearly 2,000 applications each year from hard-pressed parishes, and has made awards of about £1,400,000 to approximately 400 churches each year.

The Trust is rare in that it is a Grant-making charity that is itself very dependant on donations. Hence if it is to provide a reasonable level of assistance to applicant churches, it needs to raise a considerable amount of money each year from voluntary donations. The Trustees are keen to help parishes as much as possible, and are only limited by the availability of funds. To put the situation in perspective, recent average repair bills faced by parishes were about £55,000, but the average award of the Trust was only £2500. The Trust would dearly wish to do more to help but cannot do so without more funds.

Fund-raising by the Trust is far from easy - particularly as most people are not aware that the responsibility for maintaining a church rests squarely on the Parish - and some Parishes, often with beautiful yet irreplaceable Medieval churches, have very few people living in them.

If you are interested in the work of the Trust and would like to help in its unending task, why not contact the Director, HCPT, FREEPOST, Fulham Palace, London SW6 6BR (020 7736 3054), and become a 'Friend' of the Trust, and thus play your part in helping save our wonderful heritage of parish churches.

Jenny Elsey

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