The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England have awarded grants amounting to £10.7m for churches who are struggling as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Church of England says that the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage will provide 16 cathedrals and 50 parish churches with grants to cover lost income.
The C of E also revealed that it had been successful in its application to the Historic England-administered 'Grants for Programmes of Major Works', which also serves as part of the overall Culture Recovery Fund. The fund gives money to organisations responsible for a nationally-significant portfolio of highly listed historic buildings and is allocated by the Council to cathedrals and major churches for works that are vital to keep the buildings safe and open to the public.
Becky Clark, the Church of England's Director of Cathedrals and Church buildings said:
“The Church of England is enormously grateful for the investment the government, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England is making into our cathedrals and churches. The 16,000 church buildings we care for are witnesses to all parts of the history of England and usually tell those stories to more than 10 million a people a year who come through our doors.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on communities all across the country, affecting both lives and livelihoods. The grants announced today as part of the Culture Recovery Fund will go directly into those communities, allowing iconic buildings to remain open, protecting jobs and giving breathing space to plan for longer-term recovery.
“There is a great deal of uncertainty ahead, but this funding will help churches and cathedrals to be places of refuge, rest and strength for all.
“In a time where so much is at risk, culture, arts and heritage are vital reminders that we all need inspiration and creativity in our lives; today’s announcement shows that the government understands this, and we are delighted that the part our churches and cathedrals play in that by providing a source of beauty and spiritual support has been recognised.”
Fifteen churches from across the Diocese of London are amongst the 445 heritage organisations set to receive funding, with a total grant of £2m being awarded to the likes of St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square and St James’ Piccadilly, enabling them to retain jobs, maintain their sustainability in the midst of the pandemic and preserve their heritage.