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Scottish Churches Eligible for New Cherish Programme

Wednesday March 8 2023

Places of worship in Scotland, Wales and the north west of England  will benefit from a £1.9m National Lottery Heritage Fund grant, awarded to the National Churches Trust (NCT) to keep historic churches and chapels thriving today, and tomorrow.

The three-year Cherish programme will provide churches and chapels with practical solutions to improve how their buildings are cared for and secured for the future. Financial support will be provided together with initiatives to strengthen heritage management skills and training for people who look after places of worship, investing overall in local areas’ heritage, capability and resources.

NCT say the funding will target the most critical areas improving economic and community resources, providing important benefits to places of worship and communities. This will include grants of up to £10,000 for maintenance, repairs and project development, but also expert advice and crisis support.

Training will also be offered in maintenance, tourism and writing funding bids, while a digital toolkit of building care will be developed. Three full-time support officers will be employed to build relationships and respond to local issues.

The fund follows a pilot project in Northern Ireland called ‘Treasure Ireland’, which helped over 300 places of worship.

Claire Walker, Chief Executive of the National Churches Trust, said: “Churches and chapels are some of our most historic and beautiful buildings. At the centre of local communities, they also provide a home for countless community support such as playgroups, drop-in-centres and warm spaces, as well as serving their core purpose as places of worship.

“A huge thank-you to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for investing £1.9 million in Cherish, a three-year project which will see the National Churches Trust supporting places of worship in Scotland, Wales and the North West of England.”

“As well as providing much needed immediate help and practical support, this partnership will allow us to develop new ways of supporting churches and chapels so that they can remain open and available, in use and valued by all."

Grants, of between £500 and £10,000, will be available from May 2023 through the NCT’s online grants portal.

Life and Work is the magazine of the Church of Scotland. Buy a single copy or subscribe, in print or digital, here.


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