The Leeds Diocesan Stewardship and Income Generation Team run frequent training events on obtaining and applying for funding. If you are signed up to the Diocese’s Digital Learning Platform you can book for upcoming events in your area. Otherwise please refer to the Stewardship pages of the website. It’s also worth looking at Parish Resources (a Church of England initiative) and the Heritage Funding Directory.
Major building projects
Here are some specific funding sources that may be worth checking out. The Stewardship pages on our website include some other possible grant funders but these are most suitable for building projects:
National Churches Trust have various funding streams, which were re-launched in 2019. Cornerstone grants are towards projects with estimated costs of at least £100,000 including improving community facilities such as kitchens, toilets and improving access. Gateway grants support project development costs
National Lottery Heritage Fund (formerly known as HLF). For projects that improve your building’s facilities for the benefit of the wider community (not just for worship). Listed buildings only. From 2020 they no longer offer grants towards feasibility studies, but do now accept applications at any time (rather than to fixed deadlines as previously), please allow 8 weeks for a response.
Places of Worship: Inspiring Ideas (another NLHF initiative) for projects looking to explore innovative ideas and test new approaches to managing, caring for, and funding historic places of worship.
Other types of project
Here are a few possible founding sources (besides the ones listed above):
FCC Community Action Fund (formerly known as WREN- Waste Recycling Environmental) - grants up to £100,000 to provide, maintain or improve a public park or other public amenity.
Calor Rural Communities Fund - grants of up to £5,000 for projects that will provide an on-going service for local communities (e.g. community centres, village halls and sporting venues).
Tesco Bags of Help Grants Programme. Money raised from the 5p bag charge in Tesco stores to support community participation in the development and use of open spaces (includes churchyards). Grants up to £5000. The Co-Op Local Community Fund operates a similar system whereby individual Co-Op members can nominate a local charity to receive a share of dividends. In both cases the project has to be nominated first.
Allchurches Trust offer grants for security measures such as roof alarms (usually a maximum of £1000).
Repair and maintenance works
Please be aware that while there are several sources of funding for building developments with benefits to the wider community, it is not easy to get grants and other funding purely for repairs to church buildings to keep the fabric in good condition. The places you might try are -
ChurchCare offer grants for the costs of initial investigations (conservation reports, environmental / building performance surveys, technical analyses) to determine appropriate conservation works for items of historic, artistic or archaeological significance in churches.
National Churches Trust offer grants towards repair projects that will help places of worship become wind and watertight. There are various funding streams depending on the size of the project. As of 2020, Foundation Grants are available towards urgent maintenance and repair issues up to £10k, Gateway grants for medium sized projects (£10k-£100k), and Cornerstone grants towards urgent and essential structural repair projects with estimated costs of at least £100k.
Yorkshire Historic Churches Trust are a ‘funder of last resort’ – they expect you to have most of the funding already secured from PCC reserves, local fundraising or other grants, but may be able to offer a top-up grant. Despite the name, they will also fund unlisted buildings.
There are several local and regional trusts that may also offer small amounts.
For further advice on funding please also see the Church of England website.