Save our churches

A MAJOR new campaign to persuade more of us to value our parish churches has been launched by English Heritage.Inspired highlights the threat faced by churches across the country and shows what can be done to preserve them for future generations.

A MAJOR new campaign to persuade more of us to value our parish churches has been launched by English Heritage.

Inspired highlights the threat faced by churches across the country and shows what can be done to preserve them for future generations.

In Suffolk a new scheme run by the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich aims to identify and repair small problems at parish churches to ensure that they do not become large problems in the future.

A team of contractors spent the winter visiting small churches, identifying problems and carrying out remedial work where necessary.

James Halsall, from the diocese, said: “This is a three-year trial scheme, and we have just finished the first of those years.

“It is funded two thirds by English Heritage and one third by the parishes involved. The contractors will go and look at churches and tell the parishes what needs to be done.

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“It is up to the parishes whether that work goes ahead, although obviously with the help they are getting most will go ahead with minor repair work - it can be as simple as clearing the guttering which can prevent more serious problems building up in the future.”

The national cost of repairing Britain's historic churches has been estimated at £925 million over the next five years - nearly three times the amount that is available from government grants and lottery funding.

The three dioceses of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, Norwich, and Ely have 20 per cent of the churches in need in England - the highest share of any region in the country.

English Heritage's regional director, Greg Luton, said: “You may not be a regular worshipper but imagine your village or town without its places of worship.

“With pubs and post offices disappearing and social problems growing, these buildings often provide the only remaining physical, cultural and spiritual focus for a community.”

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