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Listed churches restored through £1.8m government scheme

by Ruth Sax

A number of churches in Manchester and Suffolk have been restored thanks to a £1.8m government pilot scheme.

The Taylor Review pilot scheme, which was launched in September 2018, provides advice, guidance and financial support to listed places of worship of all faiths and denominations in Suffolk and Manchester in order to build a sustainable future for important historic buildings.

In total, 54 places of worship in Greater Manchester and Suffolk have received support and been offered advice, with work underway on a number of other projects as the pilot enters its final year. 

Heritage Minister Helen Whately said: "I am delighted that so many buildings in Suffolk and Greater Manchester have benefitted from this funding. "Our country has a rich and fascinating religious history and places of worship have been at the heart of communities for centuries. The Taylor Review pilot scheme is helping to protect and preserve these important places of worship and keep them central to our communities." 

Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England said: "We are delighted that the Taylor Review Pilot has successfully repaired and restored 54 listed faith buildings in its inaugural year. We look forward to continuing to work with local communities nationwide to help maintain some of our most important places of worship."

Of the 54 grants provided, Suffolk received 27 with the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Wortham, St Mary's Church, Rickinghall Inferior and five historic churches in the Southwold area benefiting from funding and support. 

Thanks to a grant from the Taylor pilot, Grade I listed St Mary's was able to repair missing roof tiles, replace leaking asbestos cement gutters and repair small cracks to stop rainwater further damaging the ancient building which dates to the 12th century. 

Greater Manchester received the other half of the grants with churches including the Monton Unitarian Church in Salford, St Paul's Church in Halliwell, Bolton and the Church of All Saints, Barton receiving financial support. 

The scheme also sees expert advisors work with those looking after listed places of worship on increasing community engagement with, and the maintenance and repair of the buildings. 

The Taylor Review focused on Church of England churches and work is underway on a number of other projects as the pilot enters its final year in 2020.

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