Places of worship get £1.8m for repairs

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image captionPlaces of worship will receive funding for minor repairs

Listed places of worship are to get a share of £1.8m for minor repairs under a government pilot scheme.

The funding will support worshippers of all faiths to take better care of their historical religious buildings.

Expert advisers will work with listed sites in Manchester and Suffolk to increase community engagement and provide maintenance plans.

Projects will begin in autumn and eligible buildings will be able to access £500,000.

Heritage minister Michael Ellis said: "Britain has an incredible array of historic buildings important to all faiths which tell the story of our shared history and our communities.

"However, the costs of caring for and protecting many listed places of worship can be prohibitive and lead many to fall into disrepair."

He said the scheme would "unlock the community potential of these buildings and provide practical guidance".

'Enrich lives'

The move comes after the Taylor Review, published in December, called for greater community use of Church of England buildings to help congregations pay for their upkeep.

The projects, which will involve all faiths, will aim to address routine repairs immediately in the long-term hope of preventing the development of more costly problems.

Deborah Lamb, deputy chief executive of Historic England, said: "Buildings that are well looked after help to enrich the lives of people across England.

"They are special spaces to visit and can be enjoyed by anyone, whether for worship or not."

Bishop of Worcester, the Right Reverend Dr John Inge, said: "Church buildings have always been a crucial part of the community life of this nation and the majority of them provide one or more forms of social outreach or community facilities.

"In working with the government on reviewing their long-term sustainability, it has been gratifying to hear many stories of churches that understand their Christian mission in terms of service to the community."

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