Church of England staff have been meeting with officials from the Treasury, the Department for Culture Media and Sport, the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Office of the Third Sector and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Both the Government and the Church of England recognise that enabling churches to become community resources is one of the best ways of safeguarding those buildings while helping meet the needs of their local communities. However, the full potential of churches as community resources and as part of schemes for social regeneration is undeveloped and unrealised.
By way of a statement, the main focus of these meetings has been, first, to examine the barriers currently faced by churches—of all denominations and faiths—who want to open up their buildings for the use of the wider communities; second, to look at how these barriers can be overcome; and, third, to identify national, regional and local sources of public funding programmes. A paper is being drawn up for a further meeting of Ministers and the Bishop of London in the near future.