Since Northamptonshire Historic Churches Trust was founded in 1955 we have made nearly 1,500 grants for repairs and improvements to many churches and chapels of all Christian denominations throughout Northamptonshire. Each year, the Trust helps between 20 and 40 places of worship of all denominations and ages of over 50 years old. The Trust awarded £40,500 in grants in 2021, £61,500 in 2022 and £66,595 in 2023. The Grants Committee is also able to advise places of worship on other sources of grant aid.
Funding for our grants comes from the Trust's share of funds raised through the annual Ride & Stride sponsored event and church tours and from generous donations and grants to the Trust. The Trust’s funds are managed so that they are available for grants in future years.
We welcome grant applications from all Christian places of worship of any denomination in the historic county of Northamptonshire (now comprising of the Unitary Authorities of North Northamptonshire and West Northamptonshire) and in regular use as a place of worship.
Grants are awarded for a wide range of repairs and conservation projects to keep the fabric of a place of worship in good condition. The list below sets out what we fund and what we don’t fund.
We make grants to places of worship that are not already Church Members of the Friends of the Trust, but we invite them to consider becoming a member.
Grants are also paid to parishes that are not already members of the Trust, but we would ask them to consider joining.
What We Fund and What We Don’t Fund.
- Roof repairs, including repairs to slates and tiles.
- Installation of alarms roofs (see ‘Roof Alarms’ below).
- Repair and restructuring of rainwater goods and drainage systems.
- Window repairs including glazing and tracery.
- Renewal of interior plaster decoration when it is part of internal wall repairs and replastering.
- Repairs to floors and pew platforms.
- Repairs to fixtures and fittings including pews and monuments.
- Organ infrastructures but not the instrument itself.
- Repairs and refurbishment of bell frames, but not bells.
- Conservation of wall paintings and stonework.
- Renewal of electrical switchgear.
- Rewiring and lighting replacements.
- Replacement of heating systems.
- Repairs in churchyards so long as the churchyard is still under the responsibility of the place of worship and open for burials.
- Projects which will improve the use of the place of worship by the community including disabled accesses, toilets, and serveries.
- Repair of window glass if it is of historical importance.
We don't fund:
- Surveys, reports, professional fees and VAT*.
- Minor work which should be carried out as part of routine maintenance such as clearing of gutters, and redecoration.
- New building works however, these may be funded at the Trustees’ discretion.
(*In the case of a listed place of worship we expect that all or most of the VAT paid will be recovered under the Listed Places of Worship (LPW) Grant Scheme. Details of the scheme are at the end of this note.)
The list covers the most common problems but is not exhaustive and other items of exceptional historic value may also be eligible, so please get in touch if you have repairs that are not listed.
Extremely urgent ‘stitch in time’ grants to pay for small but critical repairs identified in a Quinquennial Report, or similar survey report, are also available.
There is no minimum or maximum size of the project which may be considered for grant.
A project may consist of two or more separate phases, and each phase may be considered for an offer of a grant.
We are unlikely to make an offer on a new phase if there is an outstanding offer on a phase which is neither complete nor near to completion.
We cannot help with any costs which were or should have been covered by insurance.
We do not award grants retrospectively.
The Application Process
We try to make our application process as quick and simple as possible.
Please start by downloading a Grant Application Form from this website. Have a look at the questions so you know what information you will need to collect before completing it.
If you need help, please contact the Grants Secretary as this can save you time and effort. We are only a phone call away and are very happy to talk on the phone or arrange a visit if that is more helpful. Above all, please do not feel intimidated by the form. It can be completed and returned as an attachment to an email, or sent by post, it can be either typed, or handwritten.
When returning the completed application form, you will also need to send a copy of your place of worship’s latest set of accounts, quotations for the work (if you have them) and, for more complex repairs, a specification or letter from your church architect. Please send a supporting letter with any additional background information you may want to provide. Photographs of the area under consideration are very helpful.
If your place of worship is in the Church of England, please confirm that you have, or will be, applying for a faculty or Archdeacon’s approval for the work. Similarly, for places of worship of other denominations please confirm that you have, or will be, seeking approval for the work from the appropriate governing body, if this is required.
The members of the Grants Committee usually wish to visit your place of worship prior to their consideration of your application. The Grants Secretary will arrange a mutually convenient date and time for this visit with your nominated representative. Exceptionally, the Grants Committee may make a recommendation to the Trustees without the need for a site visit.
The Grants Committee meets to make its grant recommendations twice a year in the week before the Trustee Board meeting at which the application is considered. We ask that grant applications be returned to the Grants Secretary as far in advance of those meetings as possible, and at least one month before the Board meeting. Failure to meet the deadlines below may result in the application being deferred to the next Board meeting.
|Trustee Board Meetings
|4th March 2024
|16th April 2024
|7th October 2024
|12th November 2024
All applications will be acknowledged.
How We Assess Your Application
If the building and works are eligible for a grant, the Board assesses the need for help in the context of the place of worship's resources, both actual and potential (including any grants already awarded), and its historical and architectural significance.
Grant Offers and Payment
If the Trustees award a grant, you will receive an offer in writing, it will be subject to conditions set out in the offer letter. The grant is valid for 3 years, therefore you should consider the timing of your application. The offer automatically lapses If the grant is not claimed within 3 years and a new application must be made. If there is likely to be a long delay before taking up the grant the Grants Secretary must be informed of this.
Payment of the grant is made once the Grants Secretary has received evidence (receipted bills or architect’s certificates) confirming that work to the value of the grant has been completed, and (if required) after an inspection of the work by a member of the Grants Committee.
All payments are made by cheque made payable to the place of worship’s official bank account. We do not make payment to personal bank accounts.
The work should be carried out in a way which minimises change to the building, does not unnecessarily disturb or replace historic fabric, and uses traditional materials and methods which are appropriate to the building. In exceptional cases we may accept as eligible the use of modern materials where these can be justified.
If you start the work before you apply for a grant (unless the work is to remedy a situation that endangers lives or makes an unsafe building safe) we will assume that you can afford the project without our help, and your application will be rejected. If the work must start after you have applied for a grant but before you have received an offer from us, you must contact the Grants Secretary to make the case for the application to be still considered.
If you receive a grant we ask that you display a written acknowledgment of it in the place of worship for at least 2 years; and allow the Trust to refer to the award in its Annual Report and its website, and other publicity materials, and reproduce photographs of the work either before, during or upon completion. The submission of such photographs implies permission from the photographer and any people who appear in the picture for this to be done.
Metal theft from places of worship is, regrettably, all too common. As well as damaging our beautiful and historic buildings, it causes expense, distress, and frustration. Replacement and subsequent insurance can be costly. A roof alarm goes a long way towards deterring the thieves.
Our funding from AllChurches Trust for grants towards the cost of installing a roof alarm has now ended, however, the Trust will make a grant of £500 from its own funds towards those costs. The application should made using the Trust’s Grant Application Form.
For churches within the Church of England, a faculty is not required for the installation of a roof alarm. This only requires notice to the Archdeacon of the intention to install one and his written approval of its installation.
Where to Send Your Application
Applications for funding from the Trust should be made to Michael Moore, NHCT Grants Secretary, 1 Horrocks Way, Kettering NN15 5DH (Tel: 01536 483505 email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
The Listed Places of Worship VAT Refund Grant Scheme
The Listed Places of Worship (LPW) Grant Scheme (which is run by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)) gives grants to recover the VAT charged on repairs to listed buildings used as places of worship. The scheme covers repairs to the fabric of the building (along with associated professional fees) plus repairs to turret clocks, pews, bells and pipe organs. The scheme only accepts applications where the minimum value of the eligible work carried out in any one claim to the scheme is £1,000 (excluding VAT). The Government has confirmed that funding is available under the Scheme until 31st March 2025.
The website details are: https://www.lpwscheme.org.uk.