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National Churches Trust

National Churches TrustThe National Churches Trust supports and promotes church buildings of historic, architectural and community value. It is the only independent, UK-wide charity supporting churches, chapels and meeting houses of all denominations.

The Trust, founded in 2007, is the successor to the Historic Churches Preservation Trust (HCPT), created in 1953 to help repair the neglect and damage caused by the depression and World War II, and also administers the Incorporated Church Building Society (ICBS), established in 1818 to help build Anglican churches.

The aims of the Trust are broadly defined: 

  • To help maintain the UK’s heritage of church buildings and to enhance their ability to serve local communities;
  • To promote the benefit to communities of church buildings and to inspire everyone to value and enjoy them.

The Trust achieves this through a variety of activities, but principally by direct financial assistance for churches via grants for repairs and for the installation of community facilities. In recent years, through these grant programmes, the Trust has been able to support important projects across the UK and across denominations, many of which have brought benefits to local people by enabling these buildings to have a sustainable future.

The Trust also provides support, advice and information for those interested in and caring for church buildings, available via a National Support Officer and through its website at http://www.nationalchurchestrust.org/.

In 2013, the Trust marked its 60th anniversary with a range of activities including inviting 60 well-know personalities to nominate their favourite churches (www.favouritechurches.org.uk), a competition to find the best church built in the last 60 years, and a celebratory service at Westminster Abbey attended by friends and supporters.

In 2011, the Trust published the results of its groundbreaking National Survey, which looked at how the UK’s church buildings are maintained, funded, managed and used by their communities, and which was based on the responses from representatives of thousands of places of worship across the country.

The Trust also seeks to promote churches as places to visit and has  published, in partnership with the Automobile Association, a guidebook, Exploring Britain’s Churches and Chapels.

The Trust also works closely with the national network of County Churches Trusts in England and the Scotland’s Churches Trust. Independent charities in their own right, they also support church buildings with grants and advice. The National Churches Trust works with the trusts on areas of common concern, and also distributes part of its repair grants programme through some of them. The Trust also works closely at a national level with religious denominations and other heritage bodies in order to achieve a common approach to government and opinion formers on matters important to the future of church buildings.

The Trust does not rely on government of church authorities for income and given the demand, can only support a minority of the many worthy projects that come to it for assistance. If you would like to assist the Trust, you can do some in a number of ways including becoming a Friend or making a donation by visiting its website at http://www.nationalchurchestrust.org/.

The Trust is a registered charity No. 1119845, can be emailed at info@nationalchurchestrust.org and can also be found on Facebook and on Twitter @NatChurchTrust.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has been Joint President of The National Churches Trust since 2007.