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Churches invited to register interest in new cash for security improvements

Bids for a share of the £1.6 million Places of Worship scheme - funding extra protection and security measures - will be accepted from July this year, the Home Office added.

Speaking on Good Friday, Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: "In the coming days and weeks, millions of people from different faiths will be marking religious festivals up and down the UK.

"At this time of reflection, devotion and celebration, it's vital everyone feels safe and protected in the places of worship they attend.

"That's why we've invested another £1.6 million into our Places of Worship Protective Security Scheme and are encouraging religious organisations to apply."

Funding for the scheme and improvements to the application process were announced in the wake of the mosque attacks in Christchurch which left 50 people dead.

Minister for Counter Extremism Baroness Williams said: "No one should be abused or attacked, because of their faith.

AP Photo/Mark Baker

"The Government is committed to not only pursuing perpetrators of these horrendous crimes but also protecting victims.

"The Hate Crime Action Plan, refreshed in 2018, commits to providing the Places of Worship scheme, as well as funding community-led projects to tackle hate crime and increase reporting of these crimes."

Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

The Places of Worship scheme has already distributed £1.5 million through 134 grants across all major religions, since it was launched in 2016.

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