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Restoration Grants: Churches

Volume 690: debated on Thursday 4 March 2021

To ask the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, how much the Church of England administered in grants to churches for the purpose of restoration in the last financial year. (912854)

The Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England has administered £10 million of the Government’s culture recovery funding to 68 churches and cathedrals and about £250,000 in conservation grants. The £300 million additional funding announced yesterday is very welcome, as is the fact that the levelling-up fund specifically includes churches and cathedrals. The national Church does not routinely fund capital works, but it does liaise closely with a wide network of funders who provide support for parish churches and cathedrals.

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his answer. St Michael’s church in Fulwell was closed and in a semi-derelict state when a new church was planted there in 2014. Since then, the committed team have been holding Sunday services and serving their community with no formal heating or lighting. In order to restore this listed building to achieve their vision of being community centred, they have raised over £1.5 million, but they need a further £230,000 to make the church functional. What support might the Church Commissioners be able to offer to help plug that gap for St Michael’s?

I am delighted to learn about the growing congregation and all the good work happening at St Michael’s Fulwell. The commissioners provide strategic development funding to the Church nationally in order to support major change projects that will make a significant difference to mission and financial strength across dioceses. In addition to the culture recovery fund, the National Lottery Heritage Fund has recently launched a new set of funding priorities to support covid-19 recovery and is open to applications now.