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Benefact Trust pledges £1.5m in green grants to churches

Benefact Trust has pledged £1.5m towards a major Church of England climate project, which will support 60 churches to achieve net zero (or close to) by the end of 2025.

These churches will act as a blueprint to inspire other churches to adopt good net zero practices. The project forms part of a wider target for the entire Church of England network to be net zero carbon by 2030.

The Church of England’s 2021 Carbon Emissions Report revealed that church buildings emitted around 411,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases. The ambition is that by 2030, churches across the country will be bright and welcoming, consuming much less energy and emitting significantly less carbon. 

The money from Benefact Trust will help fund Demonstrator Churches Project which is one of a series of Church of England projects aimed at supporting dioceses, parishes and, other buildings in their care to achieve net zero. 

Through the project, churches nominated by their Diocesan Advisory Committees (DACs) can apply for two grants from the Church of England’s Net Zero Carbon Programme:

• A Stage 1 Preparatory Grant to help develop a net zero project, plus hands-on fundraising support from expert charity consultants.

 OR

• A Stage 2 Capital Grant for up to 25% of the cost of a well-developed project, where necessary permissions are secured, and the church has raised 50% of the funding. 

The churches will be required to meet certain criteria and will be selected from dioceses across the breadth of England.

The network of Demonstrator Churches will share learnings and best practices to support dioceses and parishes more widely to achieve the national ambition of reaching net zero. All Church of England churches will have access to experience, case studies and champions that are local and relevant to their own circumstances.

The Trust have awarded £750,000 of funding to support the 2024 cohort of churches. Another £750,000 has been pledged for 2025.

Helen Gray, Benefact Trust Director, said: “Last year, we developed our grants programmes so that we could help organisations to make a greater impact in society. In 2024, we’ve focused our funding even further, with strategic grants that tackle key issues. This grant is our first strategic grant that focuses on climate. It’s a privilege to partner with the Church of England, which has bold and impactful plans, as we make significant steps in our commitment to tackling climate change.”

Julian Atkins, Net Zero Programme Director for The Church of England, said: “This is great news and we’re delighted to partner with Benefact Trust to deliver the Demonstrator Churches Project across the country. Through our national Net Zero Carbon Programme we are providing financial support to dioceses and parishes to help them in making progress with their net zero plans. The funding that Benefact Trust is providing will help us deliver a wide range of net zero projects and help us move closer towards our goal. We look forward to a fruitful partnership together and sharing the stories of the churches taking part as the year progresses to ensure we can share learnings and encourage other churches across the country to kickstart their own local net zero projects.” 

Find out more about the Church of England’s Routemap to Net Zero. You also learn more about Benefact Trust’s open grants programmes, here.

Find out more here: Net Zero by 2030: funding to support the Church of England’s climate target | Benefact Trust