Research has shown that the need for church buildings remains just as prevalent following the pandemic as it did before the coronavirus began.
A study from The National Churches Trust, as part of a debate about the future of UK places of worship, found that 80 per cent of people asked believed that the building played a crucial role.
The consultation polled 1,250 people from across the UK.
Of the reasons given, the need for in-person meeting and community was the most common.
However, churches continue to close at an alarming rate – usually because of falling congregation numbers and a lack of available finances.
Claire Walker, Chief Executive of the National Churches Trust said: “Our consultation shows that people really value church buildings. That’s because they are the ultimate all-purpose building, available for everyone to use. Churches are places for worship and reflection, vitally needed community centres, and are packed with history and heritage.”
“I’d like to thank everybody who took part in our ‘The Future of the UK’s Church Buildings’ consultation. We will use the findings and the ideas generated to continue to discuss with Government and our partners in the church and heritage sectors how best to keep as many churches as possible open and being used to benefit local communities.”
“With over 900 churches on Historic England’s ‘Heritage at Risk Register’, and with many more in poor condition in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, more funding for the repair and maintenance of church buildings is urgently needed. The Church of England alone estimates that it will need to find £1 billion to pay for the upkeep of its churches over the next five years.“
“The future of the UK’s churches is in our hands. We need to ensure that they are valued and saved for everyday use, now and in the future, before it’s too late.”