The Diocese of Southwark will receive a grant of £217,000 for its work to improve church buildings for mission and ministry across South London and East Surrey. The grant will be awarded over two years as part of a national Church of England initiative which will see £9 million shared with dioceses for repairs and specialist advice to parishes.
The diocese will use this funding for two key areas of work. Firstly, £73,000 will be put towards creating a new full time role that will offer parishes advice on making repairs and improvements to church buildings – including fundraising support. This Church Buildings Fundraising Support Officer (a role that will be funded until 2025, with 40% of the costs covered by Diocesan funding) will also offer guidance on the sustainability of church buildings.
Secondly, throughout 2024 and 2025, parishes will be able to apply to the diocese for grants towards the costs of minor repairs and improvements for church buildings. Funds awarded will typically be between £5,000 and £10,000 per parish and will be drawn from a total of £144,000.
“Parish churches can be places of great blessing and joy and opportunity,” said the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark. “We’re delighted at this opportunity to offer a greater level of support to our parishes as they seek to serve their communities.”
“This is fantastic news for our parishes,” added Diocesan Secretary Nicola Thomas. “We know that our church buildings are crucial for our mission and ministry – but the challenge of keeping and maintaining them can be enormous. This funding will go some way towards helping parishes experience our buildings more like the blessings they are.”
The grants for this work come from the £11 million Buildings for Mission scheme, funded by the Church Commissioners and administered by the Archbishops’ Council over the period 2023 to 2025.
Emily Gee, Director for Cathedrals and Church Buildings for the Church of England, said:
Buildings for Mission will help to fund the repair and improvement of church buildings through the dioceses, as well as to boost professional advice and grant money for rural and urban church buildings most in need.
Churches are wonderfully supported, year in year out, by volunteers who give their time and financial support so generously. This funding will help foster robust and flourishing congregations and release resources, energy and potential for mission and outreach.
Written by: Anna Drew