June 30, 2010

One in nine historic churches in poor condition

by Sara Levy

One in nine churches on the listed buildings register are in poor or very bad condition, an England-wide survey has found.

Research by English Heritage found 11% of historic church buildings are in desperate need of repair or maintenance.

These churches need an estimated £925 million repair work over the next five years, English Heritage said.

However, the survey also found 89% of church buildings in good or fair condition, mainly thanks to the hard work of congregations.

Simon Thurley, English Heritage chief executive, said it is a difficult time for churches to raise funds for repair work.

“The current climate of increased unemployment, low interest rates and reduced returns on invested capital make fundraising a greater challenge than ever,” he said.

“Alongside this, some congregations are finding the responsibility harder to bear unless their whole community comes together to support its most historic and iconic building.

“I urge everyone who cares about their local church, chapel, synagogue or other place of worship to lend a hand.

“Don’t be put off by what might seem like an impossible challenge – the key is to do small things really well.

“Clearing gutters could save the need for a whole new roof or renewing damp walls at a cost of thousands of pounds.”

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