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Church Bells

Volume 563: debated on Thursday 16 May 2013

Church bells are an important part of our national character and heritage, and the Church of England has some limited grant aid available for work to bells and bell frames that are of historic interest. This is distributed by the Church Buildings Council, which also provides advice to help churches approach other funders, including the Heritage Lottery Fund.

In April I joined the Colne ringers for a practice night in the bell tower of St Bartholomew’s church in Colne. The main reason for my visit was to help publicise the ringers’ work and encourage other people to join to help ring the church’s eight bells. However, while I was there it was clear that the installation is showing signs of its age, with much of it dating back to the early 1800s. The ringers hope they can refurbish the bells for their 200th birthday in 2014. Is there any help that the Church Commissioners can provide?

In addition to the possible grant aid for the bells at St Bartholomew’s church in Colne from the Church Buildings Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund, which I have already mentioned, bell frames are eligible for support under the listed places of worship grant scheme to reclaim the cost of VAT on them. Useful advice and assistance are also available from county and diocesan ringing associations.