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Old churches should be used for more than worship, according to gov review

by Tola Mbakwe

That's according to a new Government review led by Bernard Taylor.

The Taylor Review on the Sustainability of English Churches and Cathedrals was commissioned to consider how church buildings could become more sustainable; ensuring that maintenance, repairs and major works could happen in a timely way and be funded.

Taylor told Premier churches may find it harder to fund improvements and repairs.

"The amount of money available to look after buildings is definitely going to be under pressure. Therefore we have to find a new paradigm in which to make sure these building survive and thrive.

"It seems to me having the community involved in the broadest form is by far the best."

The report encouraged churches to support the good care and timely maintenance of buildings. It also advised church to enhance and resource community use and care of church buildings.

Taylor told Premier it's something that churches already have to do and it doesn't mean the church will lose its original purpose.

"St Leonard's Church, Yarpole in Herefordshire has a playgroup in it which pays to be there and has a post office. So it's used by the community to do things beyond worshipping.

"Pre-Victorian times, churches were used by the community at large, both for worship but also for other local activities. I think it's merely going back there. The buildings will be good for that."

The review proposed that pilot studies should be undertaken during the next two to three years, to provide evidence of the effective working of the approach set out in the report.

It also recommended a network of advisors to help churches play a stronger role in their communities.

The National Churches Trust has welcomed the Taylor Review and deemed the recommendations "sensible and achievable".

Listen to Bernard Taylor speaking with Premier's Alex Williams here:

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