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Local churches benefit from repair grants

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The Taylor Review pilot (TRP) scheme, which was launched in 2018, has helped provide advice, guidance and financial support as institutions prepare for the future.

A total of 27 places of worship in Suffolk have been recipients of the government grant so far and were given an opportunity to work with experts on maintenance and repair plans and increasing community engagement.

A £1.8 million pilot scheme to help support listed places of worship has provided grants towards repairs at 54 historic buildings in its first year.

The TRP scheme, which was launched in September 2018, provides advice, guidance and financial support to listed places of worship of all faiths and denominations in Suffolk and Manchester in order to build a sustainable future for these important historic buildings.

In 2019, the church of St. Andrew in Mutford, within the Diocese of Norwich was invited to participate in the TRP initiative. Churchwarden, Tim Twineham, explains:

“We were given professional advice to review our fabric needs and advised how we could engage with the local community.

“We were invited to workshops that were helpful and practical, and we were able to meet with people in other churches with similar challenges.

“The TRP offered like-for-like maintenance grants of up to £10,000 and we chose to tackle areas where flints were ailing and on broken guttering and downpipes. We were successful in securing a grant of £7,000 which allowed us to make the walls free from water ingress. 

“This has now given us a breathing space to raise the funds necessary for other less serious repairs. A real benefit from TRP has been a more rigorous schedule of regular maintenance which is easy to manage.

“The Community Engagement workshop spawned a popular ‘walk and talk’ event where both the history of the church was explained within the context of the surrounding landscape and this included a walk-through an ancient woodland.”

The interim report of the Taylor Review Pilot was published last week. This sets out evidence from the first seven months of the scheme and can be viewed here. The final report is expected to be published in summer 2020.